PanelPilotACE Displays: Custom Automotive Instrumentation

Specialist Instruments

SGD-43A Panel Displays

Established in 2004, Specialist Instruments Ltd., is a Salisbury-based business involved in the design and manufacture of control systems for specialist pumps and compressors. Working in a variety of industrial sectors, the company works on multiple custom projects, but one industry that continues to experience dramatic growth is agriculture.

Glynne explains, “The government have actively incentivised farmers to involve themselves in the production of agricultural based renewable energy. And it makes complete sense. Waste - be it manure or crop-based - is loaded into an anaerobic digestor. Fermentation produces sell-able methane gas while the by-product of this fermentation is nitrogen-rich field fertiliser that farmers can then spread back on their fields. It’s sustainable recycling - creating a solid bioorganic product that is both pollution controlled and profitable. For a lot of farmers that’s a great combination.”

Specialist Instruments’ contribution to this process can be seen in the cab of a large muck spreading tractor. Glynne explains again. “We’ve designed and manufactured an onboard instrument that measures the quantitative amount of litres of fertiliser spread per square meter. This is important as a means of paying the sub-contractor doing the spreading, ensuring excess fertiliser hasn’t been dumped in one spot and providing an easy way of effectively monitoring, recording, Specialist Instruments SGD-43A Panel Displays and delivering data. A slurry tank pumping through a dribble bar with an attached flow meter sensor sends data to our panel situated in the tractor cab informing the driver of quantities spread.”

Glynne, the founder of Specialist Instruments, had used a display before in this application but realised he needed something with a little more functionality. Searching through the website of his regular component distributor, he came upon Lascar’s customisable but code-free PanelPilotACE display and realised this product ticked a lot of their design boxes. Glynne spent half a day programming the new display using the product’s free drag and drop design software and the following 2 weeks testing. “I can code but it’s a time consuming process. Using the design software supplied with the display, what would have taken weeks took me half a day. That’s more time to test, more time to run a business.”

For the time being, Glynne has integrated the display into one agricultural application but certainly sees the opportunity to use the product elsewhere. “With a little guidance from video tutorials, this product was very quickly able to integrate into our cab control panel. The combination of capacitive touchscreen with multiple analog and digital inputs and outputs make it a great contender for multiple applications. Factor in such a rapid turnaround on programming and I see a lot of opportunity for PanelPilotACE across many more projects.”


“A different and simplified approach, with a programming interface that is straightforward” Glynne Rees Founder at Specialist Instruments Ltd. 

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