Varco International produces equipment and automation systems for the oil and gas drilling industry. Varco's next-generation oil rig controller, its e-Drill product, promises equipment that has a far higher level of automation and functionality (through sophisticated robotic algorithms); is simpler to set up and maintain (through thin-client, web browser-based "screens"); and leverages the Internet to allow remote diagnostics, monitoring and control of these systems.
"Varco was able to meet very aggressive time-to-market deadlines using Hard Hat Linux. MontaVista's superb technical support helped our engineers overcome technical and reliability challenges," said George Boyadjieff, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Varco International.
Varco evaluated various embedded operating systems for the e-Drill development and set up two pilot projects, each using a leading embedded operating system. At the end of the test period, Hard Hat Linux had met all the requirements, which included real-time performance and the ability to function without a display or keyboard.
In less than one month, MontaVista Software integrated and ran Hard Hat Linux, IBM's VAME (Visual Age Micro Edition), and support device drivers on selected target hardware. Varco was able to run equipment after only six months of development, testing and application programming.
The first systems using MontaVista's Hard Hat Linux are operational today in the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, and many additional systems have already been shipped and will be commissioned later this year. Reliability is critical in these applications, with operator liability often exceeding a quarter of a million dollars a day for any equipment downtime.
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