Micos Display
Initial situation and project task

Eickhoff Bergbautechnik GmbH, headquartered in Bochum, Germany, is one of the leading producers of machinery and equipment for the mining industry. At Eickhoff, the so called Micos system is used for controlling their mining machinery. This system consists of a wired remote control, an LC display including a complex display controller and the actual Micos control unit.

The remote control serially transmits any command to the display controller at a baud rate of 9600, the controller on his part serially transfers all commands to the Micos control unit at the same baud rate. Due to this concept, the display controller is the most essential part of the Micos system and Eickhoff was urgently looking for a suitable replacement of the display and its controller, after this hardware had been terminated by its former distributor without substitution.

The replacing hardware was expected to be an LC display, as well, offering the previous resolution of 240 x 128 pixels. It should be fully able to handle all the tasks of serial communication with the remote control and the Micos control unit and should be very similar to the formerly used display as far as dimensions and design are concerned.

For this reason, NOFFZ was entrusted with the tasks of finding a suitable replacement for the display, developing a new display control unit, establishing serial communication with the two other components of the Micos system and finally producing the whole Micos display.

Implementation and challenge
Hardware Austausch NOFFZ Technologies

After extensive investigation, a convenient display could be found, offering exactly the same resolution and nearly the same outer dimensions as the previous one.

For controlling this display, an ARM7 controller by ATMEL was chosen, which allows for serial communication with the remote control and the Micos control unit at 9600 baud. By means of this controller, all of the serial commands previously used for modifying the notifications on the display and issuing alerts and messages could be implemented. All control commands could be properly transferred to the Micos control unit, as well, so that all control and notification functions are exactly the same as with the previous version of the display. The controller also detects which keys of the remote control have been pressed and forwards this information to the Micos system.

The display unit comprises an integrated character generator allowing for the use of Turkish, Polish and Czech characters. It also includes 8 LEDs for status monitoring, which can be triggered by the display control individually, depending on the very situation.

During the development and the subsequent production of the hardware, it had to be considered, that the Micos system is developed and produced for the use with mining machinery, being operated in a rough working environment. Therefore specific demands by Eickhoff towards temperature and vibration resistance had to be met. Adequate tests, proving the applicability for the mining industry, have been conducted with the final product.

Conclusion

The previous display system could be replaced successfully with a new display and control unit, offering exactly the same functionality as the terminated system. Because the new system takes over all the tasks of its predecessor without restrictions, it could be integrated into the system of the mining machinery without any further changes to the machine.

At NOFFZ, the display is equipped with all its control electronics, all components are glued for vibration protection. Afterwards, functional testing is conducted with the Micos system.

Temperature und vibration testing has been conducted successfully, proving the applicability of the Micos display for harsh mining environments. Eickhoff’s mining machines can be equipped and delivered with new the display system as before without any further modifications.