Carpenter Group Water Treatment Solution
The Carpenter Group is a California-based company with the express mission of making everyday household chores easier and more enjoyable. The company’s products, such as Envirocycle and water treatment solutions, are designed to integrate our homes into the ecosystem and maintain the natural state of the environment.
During the development of their autonomous water treatment solution, The Carpenter Group reached out to Existek seeking an outsourcing company capable of developing the hardware and embedded software for the system’s control module. This was a mission-critical task, taking into consideration the importance of rational use of water resources in areas like California.
.NET, C++, Atmel ATmega CPU
3 developers, 1 year
The customer required the control module to automatically and autonomously manage the entire water treatment system, including components for water pumping, filtering and recycling. The main purpose of the water system was to provide buyers with stable and comfortable pressure, clean water and effective consumption rates of environmental resources. Existek’s role was to develop the hardware and embedded software enabling all the components to work together automatically and allow users to manage the system according to their preferences, if needed. Functionality that allows the user to adjust any setting of the water treatment solution manually or remotely via a web interface was presented as one of the main competitive advantages of the product.
The following are some of the challenges we had to address in building the product according to The Carpenter Group’s vision:
- The diversity of the hardware, from various vendors, that needed to be managed by the control unit, including water pumps, filters, power supply and a huge number of sensors.
- The device, and the control panel on the device, were difficult to access physically in order to adjust settings, view information about the water quality or update the firmware. We had to come up with a way for the user to carry out all the above-mentioned actions remotely without having to access the device directly for every small action.
As a company experienced in prototyping hardware and the development of embedded software, Existek knew that the best way to succeed in such a project is to set up an all-embracing knowledge transfer process. Especially so considering the huge amount of hardware that has to be managed by our control module. We achieved this by organizing onsite training for the outsourced embedded software developers with the customer’s in-house system engineers, and by shipping the engineering samples of each hardware subsystem to the R&D office.
Development of the functionality needed to allow the users to control and monitor the water treatment solution was another important specification the customer wanted us to include in the final product. To make this possible, we added the SIM card module to the board of the control module where it receives commands wirelessly. We developed a web interface where buyers are able to see the status of the system, monitor the quality of the water and adjust settings if needed.
The following are the actions and developments we carried out in order to build the water treatment system control module according to the customer’s expectations:
- We developed the custom connector which was designed specifically to connect all the devices and sensors of the water treatment solution with our custom-built control module.
- We managed to establish extensive knowledge transfer between our hardware engineers, embedded software developers and the customer’s in-house staff, including onsite work and training, aimed at learning the hardware specifications.
- Existek designed the board where we placed all the microchips, firmware, connectors and user-interface elements, such as buttons and display. The board has the SIM card module attached so the device is able to receive instructions via the LTE/4G/3G wireless interface and has FOTA (firmware over the air) functionality.
The ability to remotely monitor and control the water supply has become one of the product’s main competitive advantages in the eyes of the buyers, alongside high reliability and low power consumption. The system is completely managed by the control module designed by Existek and is fully compatible with the working cycle Existek developed for that subsystem. This working cycle provides end users with highly efficient natural resource utilization and the highest quality of water.
The final product was easy to install and set up and is completely automatic. Also, with our web interface and wireless connectivity in the control module, users were able to remotely monitor the water quality, system performance and start/stop some procedures, as well as change the modes of the water supply work. The same can be done onsite using the control panel attached to the device.
Existek successfully completed The Carpenter Group’s autonomous water treatment solution project within the planned timeline and budget. Following release on to the market the product is now installed in many households across California.