Michael J. Bauer
Current occupation: Sessional (casual) Teacher/Instructor
Swinburne University of Technology
Axxin Pty Ltd: March 2012 – June 2015
The company: www.axxin.com
Technologies: August 2007 – June 2010
The company: In 2010, Varian Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of scientific analytical instruments, was acquired by Agilent Technologies, a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard's Test and Measurement Division. A large part of the R&D and manufacturing, formerly done by Varian Australia, is still done in Melbourne where the company was founded as Techtron Pty Ltd.
The position: As a "Senior Electronics Engineer" with Varian Australia, I was involved in a project to upgrade a UV-Vis spectrophotometer marketed as "Cary 60". The role included a complete re-design of the instrument electronics, development of automated test firmware and manufacturing test procedures for the instrument controller circuit board.
NeoProducts Pty Ltd: May 2000 – Nov. 2000, and May 2004 – April 2005
NeoProducts is a successful player in the
world market for "information kiosks",
custom engineered in its Melbourne office and factory.
My first task with NeoProducts was to help Neo's development group to "fast-track" the design of a sub-assembly required for a large-scale production run of kiosks commissioned by the UK Employment Service network. The sub-assembly was termed "kiosk equipment monitor" (KEM) -- a micro-controller based module intended to monitor and log operation of the PC and peripherals embedded in the kiosk. The unit also controlled AC power to the kiosk's computer and peripherals, allowing scheduled power-up and power-down of the kiosk, programmed via the kiosk PC's LAN.
A second task, some years later, was to upgrade the KEM design. to provide new features, e.g. USB connectivity to the host PC. The second generation KEM, "Guardian II", used the Atmel AT89C5131 USB micro-controller. This was my first foray into the realm of 8051-core MCU devices... and the last! (The most horrendous MCU core architecture ever to be conceived?)
Specialising in electronics for the entertainment
industry, Bytecraft Automation designed,
manufactured and exported "high tech"
electronic equipment for use in theatres; e.g. lighting
equipment and stage machinery automation systems. Bytecraft
Automation (which was a "spin-off" from
the Bytecraft Systems and Entertainment group)
is now defunct, but in 2004 a new independent company State
Automation Pty Ltd took over much of the legacy
As "Project Engineer" (Projects and Systems Dept, 1992 – 1999) ...
The position of "Project Engineer" involved the planning, systems design, custom engineering, supervision of installation, and on-site testing and commissioning of stage machinery automation systems, e.g. the "State" and "Status" Motion Control Systems developed by Bytecraft. Major projects designed and completed under my supervision:
I was involved in the specification, systems design and on-site engineering of many other prominent theatre automation installations around the world, including:
As "Electronics Design Engineer" (R&D Dept, 1994 – 1997) ...
The position involved conceptual design, product specification, and supervision of a small team of design engineers, including direct "hands on" activities in hardware design and firmware development. In this role, I helped to bring several new products to the market, most notably...
As "Product Engineer" (R&D Dept, 2001 – 2004) ...
Back with Bytecraft in a consulting role, I worked with Bytecraft management and a team of engineers designing a new-generation stage machinery control system. A major design objective of the new system was to comply with IEC 61508, an international standard for safety-critical computer-based control systems. An essential focus of the job was to understand and put into practice design methods and techniques recommended by the standard to achieve a very high level of reliability, and hence safety integrity.
Industrial Control Technology Pty Ltd: 1988 – 1990
The company: ICT is a small company specialising in plant automation, control systems design and (at the time) custom electronics development.
As "Senior Design Engineer", my most memorable role at ICT was to undertake the complete hardware design and operating system software development for an industrial "weigh-feeder" controller ("MasterWeigh II") for ICT's client Web-Tech, of Queensland. MasterWeigh II used a Motorola 68000 processor and a Maxim 7135 dual-slope A/D converter (for high accuracy load-cell signal measurements). The custom RTOS firmware was developed in C and 68K assembler. Several design innovations were incorporated into the product, resulting in a world-class instrument.
My job at NIE involved electronics design and firmware development for a digital AC kilowatt-hour meter, intended for the measurement of domestic electricity consumption. The product reached a level of performance exceeding that of conventional electro-mechanical devices, with new capabilities including load control and a communications link for data transfer and/or automatic remote billing. These days, it is called a "smart meter".
The meter design has since been refined for commercial manufacture, originally marketed under the name "EMS-2000". The metering arm of Nilsen's business grew so big that a separate company (NIE) was formed. Other electrical companies (e.g. Email, GE, Zellweger) jumped on the bandwagon. In 2004, the giant electrical manufacturer Email (Westinghouse) bought NIE and closed it down. The current generation of "smart" meters use an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) to monitor electrical energy flow.
Prior to 1982... I worked at Deakin University as a tutor in the Division of Computing and Mathematics. Much time was occupied gaining and imparting knowledge in the emerging field of computer science; also designing and building computer interfaces and micro-processor based equipment for Deakin's computing laboratory. It was during this phase of my career that I designed the "Dream 6800" hobby computer, published as a DIY project in Electronics Australia (1979).
Publications & Patents:
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