Howson, Sean (2020) The development of a platform intended to integrate industrial networking protocol into range of ultrasonic flowmeters. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The following thesis reports work conducted throughout a 2-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership
(KTP) between the University of Huddersfield and Mainstream Measurements Ltd, during which work
was conducted exploring the variety of options available for improving product communications and
connectivity, but the overall aim of the project and reason for the employment of a KTP associate was
to allow the company to implement a non-proprietary, globally accepted communications protocol.

The decision to build a Modbus orientated product was made in the weeks preceding the employment
KTP associate. Hence this report is not intended to cover all the possible approaches to fulfilling this
overall aim (improvement of communications) and does not focus around the decision-making
process. But does, however, justify the decision by way of literature review. Exploring a multitude of
wired and wireless methodologies and topologies for improving communications. Many of which can
already be purchased as existing third-party solutions. Different approaches include solutions
designed solely for data transport while others focus around ownership and management of customer
data (where by the solution is service driven, not product driven), hence, considerations are also taken
from a commercial perspective as to how feasible these different solutions would be for a small

As per the KTP work plan, following the literature review, a practical implementation was carried out.
This was achieved though the development of a prototype product. The product was then tested in
multiple real-world environments and at the conclusion of the KTP project, the product was released
for sale to the customers of the KTP partner company. The final product fulfilled a majority of the
objectives set forth, facilitating the use of an additional communications protocol. Realistically the
major advantage brought to the company by this project comes not in the form of direct profit from
sales, but in the form of an investment in staff and knowledge. The development department now
holds knowledge surrounding the Modbus protocol, the operation of a more modern form of
processor and has gained valuable insight into the markets they are trying to break into. A great deal
of experience was also gained by the department as working procedures and development processes
were put in place throughout the project. The department has been somewhat embryonic throughout
the project and following the completion of this project is now in a position to conduct future
development with a greater degree of confidence, concision and overall driv

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