MasTec Ltd History
Introduced National Instruments, LabVIEW and LabWindows into NZ.
After working in Europe and successfully opening the National Instruments Offices in the UK and Italy, Rob Maskell the founder of MasTec Ltd returned to NZ in 1989, having been away for about 20 years.
He was given distribution of NI’s product line to start MasTec Ltd, first working out of Manukau City.
MasTec had a staff of 15 people and had several divisions running.
One of the divisions was selling Sharp scanning products and software for MACs for colour publishing. Another was actually doing DTP and Colour Productions.
Another division was RadTek that manufactured a range of embedded SBC.
Another division was SWS or Small World Systems doing project integration with GPIB and DAQ running with LabVIEW software. SWS also did projects using Radtek’s SBC.
In 1991 MasTec was given distribution of Z World’s PLC and Z80 embedded SBC programmed with Dynamic C. Z World went on to become Rabbit Semiconductor building high performance Z180 derivative silicon until sold to Digi International Inc. MasTec is still selling Rabbit products.
MasTec was given distribution of Tripplite’s UPSs. This was the beginning of MasTec’s Power division.
Moxa gave distribution to MasTec.
By 1995 MasTec was the distributor for Computer Boards, Adlink, Advantech plus Diamond SBC and Ampro PC-104 SBCs.
MasTec became the PK Distributor with the famous Black Out Buster UPS series. PK also released the first hot swap redundant UPS in 1997.
Was a big year, MasTec became the OPTO 22, GWInstek, Omega, Dataforth distributor.
MasTec purchased Smart Works Systems Ltd extending its reach into Integration, Embedding, Gauging, Transducers, Quality Assurance and Process Control.
Smart Works brought Micronor, Jumo, Pulsotronic, Eltrotec, DSE, Lion Precision, Motrona, Meter Drive Unimeasure distribution with it and more.
1999 – 2000
MasTec was the first company in NZ to offer GSM M2M or early IIOT products and the first to offer GSM M2M software integration services.
For the first time the OEM and ODM sales group in MasTec out sold the Daily Spot Buy sales group. This milestone transformed MasTec into a logisitics supply operation company, managing supply of products to many OEM manufacturing customers.
MasTec purchased the company Ultimate Power Systems extending its reach into more AC and DC Power Systems further.
Setup SWS Software & Integration Services were expanded. A staff of 5 programmers developed in LabVIEW, LabWindows CVI, C, C++ and Visual Basic.
2010 – PRESENT
MasTec has expanded to distribute technology products with over 150
manufacturers. The big players for MasTec were Digi distributor – selling all their products. Rigol became a big focus for programmable bench test Instruments. Regatron and Itech became the focus of a whole new business section with very high powered AC and DC Test equipment.
LabJack became an important TCP modbus DAQ product supplier for SWS to build Industrial test systems around. Ametek USA started the Medical Power products division. Jewell Instruments the world’s largest maker of Meters (analog and digital) became our OEM supplier. And much more.
All the present companies, if you look, are highly focused and experts in their areas.
In 2022 MasTec purchased the well known company Jenlogix. It is a similar distributor to MasTec but has a different customer base and is more internationally focused. Their main product focus is Geotechnical and Seismic monitoring, LCD Industrial Displays, and speciality Touch Panel PCs.
MasTec will continue to focus on speciality Technologies into the future. MasTec daily has companies world wide offering distribution. 99% are turned down as they are “me too” type companies that did not invent or perfect the technology.
In many cases we supply products we don’t distribute because big corporate buyers ask us to source these products, so that their search and purchase cycle times are reduced and they only get one invoice for everything.
MasTec will celebrate 35 years in business soon and Jenlogix 40 years. Quite a combination of ability and long history.
We look forward to finding and sourcing your technology product needs.
SMART WORKS SYSTEMS (SWS) History
One year after MasTec incorporated, a division called SWS was started employing two LabVIEW programmers that would start integrating LabVIEW based DAQ measurement and Control systems for customers, using MAC based LabVIEW and IO.
In house Embedded Micro URWIs:
SWS started building in-house, a family of single board embedded micro controllers.
These simple SWS RS-232/485 embedded Micro devices called URWIs (Universal Real World Interfaces) could be used for both measurement and control systems without having to program the micro controller, as they had a built in simple serial port control language based on OPTOMUX, that only required simple ASCII Commands to make it perform high level functions. Most programmers used Visual Basic or MAC LabVIEW to talk to the URWIs. MAC LabVIEW drivers were available. ( Note Windows PC LabVIEW didn’t happen until mid 1993)
SWS produced several URWI models: Model I, 2, 3, 4 and 5. All these models were based on the Texas Instrument TMS 8 bit micros and had both analog IO and digital IO with some counters/Timers on various sub models. The URWI 3 was a special model used for battery string cell testing as all the URWIs had high galvanic isolation. URWI 4 and 5 were large channel count relay boxes designed for controlling dry contact systems in security and building systems.
The most famous URWI from the early 90s, was the one alarm monitoring the underwater Telecom master cable from Australia
SWS helped NZ Grazing Ltd release the world’s first computerised AIS system (Animal Information System). This system connected remote farm data systems to NZ Grazing’s remote Database allowing collecting data and generating reports on Heifer growth and wellness. This used LabVIEW (MAC based) in conjunction with custom NZ designed rural performance modems for collecting and transmitting data to the server.
– AIS systems were presented to the Mexican Government for a country wide Animal Improvement project.
– SWS developed EIS products ( Energy Information Systems) for Mercury energy. This was a very early remote data collection system for Energy use. The beginnings of Automated Metering.
– SWS assisted in automating the first methane gas powered generation systems with Mercury Energy using Garbage Dump gas. (East Tamaki and North Shore Auckland plus Wellington). These generating plants (several megawatts) still run today and had remote dial in modem control systems using MAC LabVIEW. This is very early TeamViewer stuff.
1990 – 1991
SWS installed a data collection and production statistical system for Fletcher wood panels in Taupo. This was the basis of an improvement in their MDF grade boards. It was the site that phoned in one day for help and said they could not put the backup floppy disk into the drive. A 4 hour drive to Taupo revealed the MAC computer was full to the lid with wood fiber dust but was still running fine. A vacuum cleaner fixed the issue.
From that significant start in the early 90s, SWS expanded their Industrial Test Systems for Windows, Doors, Walls and Facades and later added Roof material Testing and finally leaky building testing.
The base software for these Industrial Test Systems started in 1990 using MAC LabVIEW and early URWI IO. The Testers were not released until 1993 when Windows LabVIEW 2.5.2 that ran on Windows 3.11 was available, as none of the Test sites had MACs.
The TMS URWI’s were discontinued and 3 new URWI’s, the LS, LG and RG, all based on Z180 microcontrollers were released.
The LS was the DAQ system used in the first released SWS Window Testing systems, running in LV 2.5.2 in Windows 3.11. This is quite historic.
The RG was used in several NZ based automated fishing boats.
The LG was used in DAQ systems in general.
1993 – 1999
The Industrial Test Sites eventually needed high resolution data and the URWIs were replaced with NI and MCC 16 bit PCI DAQ boards. An evolution started inside this Industrial Testing technology that continues to this day. This Technology evolution is driven by demands from Councils, Insurance and Central Government.
Today these Industrial Test Systems sites run a significantly extended set of LabVIEW software with over 500 sub VIs controlling Distributed TCP POE Modbus IO enclosures. The software now also control PLCs, Servos, VSDs, Hydraulic Seismic RAM Systems, Water Spraying Pumps and Actuator controlled Air Shutter Valves, plus many more gauges and sensors
SWS built a GPIB monitoring and control package for Telecoms Satellite station in Warkworth. This package under Win 95 ran until the site was decommissioned.
SWS made for AirNZ a Gas turbine vibration measurement and reporting system to be used at their Turbine rebuilding sites in Auckland and Auckland. About the same time SWS worked with AirNZ on high precision gauging of Gas turbine stacks as they are rebuilt. This improved AIRNZ’s rebuilding of turbine stacks to have better balance than Pratt and Whitney factory work.
A company called Smart Works was purchased by MasTec and incorporated fully inside MasTec Ltd. Smart Works was a technical sales company based in Auckland that sold gauging equipment. It also had some development projects which were moved to SWS.
SWS started development of the first Wireless IIOT systems in NZ. SWS used Nokia’s newly released IOT GSM Modules to measure and control across the Cellular Systems. SWS developed a PCB surface mount backplane to mount the Nokia GSM module and it had 4 analog inputs and 8 DPDT relays. Software drivers for LabVIEW were released to drive and config the GSM module. Many systems were sold and Nokia sold its IIOT division off. Eventually the market caught up and companies like Maestro Wireless started to develop similar products. Now there ae literally dozens of companies, our main company being Digi International.
MasTec combined SWS and Smartworks together to make Smart Works Systems, This division continues to be the home for all of MasTecs products that have been built over the years.
Smart Works got its own site for hardware fabrication and for software development.
2010 – 2022
SWS started releasing its first sets of LCOD programs for Industrial Test Systems. The present LCOD Windows Tester application uses a build method that allows the configuration of multi site Test systems with different levels of hardware, different quantities of IO points, gauges and sensors but each site doing either subset or superset of the required Testing protocols. To accommodate the Hardware, IO and Sensors differences at each site, all that is required by the commissioning engineer is to edit a Master dash board of Configuration Constants using the LCOD Editor. The configuration turns on or off functionality in the diagram or on the user front panels. In other words you can now build one piece of software that looks after many sites that have slight or large differences in hardware. A completely configurable software package just using the Hidden Data Editor. And it is relatively simple and there is now only one Application to maintain. (read below on the new LabVIEW book describing this new development method).
The above is only a small sample of LV projects over 33 years. SWS has really done hundreds of projects for mainly NZ sites, but also work in Aus, USA and South East Asian sites.
SWS:= Smart Works is on the Sign and Web Banner for MasTec which is known in the Industry as the Ingenious Devices and Smart Works company. Maybe we need to start an Ingenious Devices Division also!
MasTec purchased Jenlogix and all its development work is now done by SWS:-Smart Works Systems. Jenlogix has over the years been known for building and configuring Industrial Computer systems and this continues.
SWS:- Smart Works Systems is to become the home of a soon to be published LabVIEW Programming Methods book, titled LabVIEW-More LCOD. This book carries the accumulation of 35 years of LabVIEW programming designs and ideas developed inside the SWS teams.
The book expands on LabVIEW Component Orientated Design (LCOD) ideas and methods, first shown to the world in the mid 90’s.
The main focus of this new book is on Hidden Data methods using a completely new graphical LabVIEW method. No ini files anymore.
Other areas covered in the Book are the LCOD methods of Abstraction, Cohesion and Coupling.
Type Definitions through out the design are used to stabilise the development process. Type Def Enums are used to drive all state engines. These Type def Enums are Hidden Data or constants also and are stored on file. This may trigger for you how much flexibility this method offers. Imagine what you can achieve by making Type Def Enum selection externally editable. This opens a flood gate of methods and ideas.
The book will be of benefit to all LabVIEW programmers, at all levels. This method can be used as a Program Design Template that becomes reusable also.
The biggest gains for any LV programmer will be the new Hidden Data method that uses a true fully LabVIEW graphical centric method for removing all and any LV constant types from Diagrams and storing them in files to be loaded at Runtime.
Also a (Hidden Data or Constants) Editor allows adjusting the Hidden Data files off line. This means a program can be adjusted on the fly by editing constants for the program storing and the program self adjusts next time that data constant is used. Adjustments can be made either locally or remotely.
The book also shows a combination of Hidden Data and Abstraction methods for driving State Engines differently that will make programs more flexible and easier to adjust while building and commissioning.
This means you can make changes to how a program runs without reprogramming the actual LabVIEW diagrams. Using this method, adjust the Hidden Data (Diagram Constants) with the Editor. This method uses two levels of Abstraction to control a State Engine’s IO blocks. By adjusting these blocks stored IO constants, it will in turn allows a form of indirection selection of Channels, Bits and Ports. For example, during commissioning it is possible to adjust say a Digital Ports Bit # that is controlling a device with out opening the Diagram. The same can be true for Analog channels and any IO with multiple in or out channels. This redirection adjustment work on Hidden Data can also be undertaken remotely using the off line Constants Editor.
Additionally this method may change the way you program State Engines. Using this method to now make State Engines where you can actually change the order of the States selection Verbs (Enum Type Defs) that will then effect order change that the State Engine runs and all this is after diagram development. Additionally the reordering of the States can be achieve remotely or locally while the program is running if needed.
Like OOPs this Book has a strong focus on how to do Public and Private data correctly. Now build very Low Coupled programs, without using OOPS.
Of course in this process of using Private and Public data correctly, also build high Cohesion programs with single function LCOD State Engines.
Note that the two (High Cohesion and Low Coupling) usually follow one another around a program that is designed correctly with LCOD and this books additional methods.
The final result is a program devoid of all diagram constants ( graphical ones also like Enums, Rings, Colour selection, File Paths, ActiveX, Switches, Sliders etc that are now stored in files in editable form.
Even add into your hidden constants with names like Hide and Show, Clear and Set for Boolean Controls. This makes diagrams most readable.
Finally bring out of the program any math formulas and put in a file for editing also. This means the ability to correct or change algorithms in an Editor not in the diagram.
And much more. It will be released hopefully in December 2022. Available on all web book stores probably.
Jenlogix registered as a NZ company, to provide Industrial and Embedding computer and IO and Display Solutions, to the many vertical markets in NZ and Internationally requiring Computerised Technical Solutions.
Jenlogix was founded at a time when standardised PC based industrial IO interfacing technology was just starting to become available. Jenlogix started to work in this market by manufacturing their own products.
It specialised in Industrial Interface IO boards that were especially designed for harsh industrial environments. Jenlogix modelled a lot of their work around Serial Comms and using a PC running DOS. Using a PC was just starting to become a viable solution.
Jenlogix also started to manufacture their own industrial computers with LCD screens and keypads, making some of the first Panel PCs in Australasia.
1984 – 1994
Jenlogix manufactured their own designed PCBs for LCD and keyboard controllers for use in their Panel PCs. They also made a variety of PC ISA bus plug in IO boards. They became famous for an excellent high speed RS-232/485 Protocol converter.
During this time period Jenlogix also made sensor interface conditioners for Weigh Scales and Temperature.
One of the more difficult products designed and built was a V25 embedded DOS computer which was quite a feat. These were used as Real Time Industrial Controllers.
They even made a Sound Synthesiser board before they were common. These were even used in Elevators as the comms unit.
If you look at the Schematics for these early Jenlogix Industrial Products it is very obvious they knew what they were doing with excellent designs and PCB layouts, with great care being taken to insure a tough Industrial result with Galvanic Isolation using Opto Couplers, Transformers and Isolated DC power supplies.
1990 – 2000
Jenlogix designed boards and computers were even OEM to other companies in NZ and Australia.
Jenlogix started to find they could now buy off the shelf Panel PCs and Embedded SBCs with any required IO and sensor conditioners. The early Taiwan manufacturers like Advantech and Adlink were able to produce these products at lower costs due to volume. USA based companies like Diamond, Computer Boards, Data Translation and NI were ramping up to very professional plug in boards also. Ampro has just started the PC-104 Embedded Consortium standard, with a heap of IO boards available also.
Jenlogix started a natural migration to becoming an Industrial Computer and Industrial Systems configuration company, by using their in house technical skills to build any specialised Industrial Systems required by their customers, by using “Off the Shelf” PC boards. They would even write code for these types of specialised systems. Early relationships were started with the suppliers that continue to this day with some of these early pioneer Taiwan manufacturers, such as Advantech, Arbor, ICPDAS, iBase, Winmate, ICOP and others.
Jenlogix ventured into a new technology that became available. It is called the Palert, a cost effective but scientifically calibrated earthquake monitoring solutions for providing early warning of earthquakes, automatic system shutdown and rapid building structural health diagnostics. No one else had these level of product professionalism in this market.
The results now after 8 years, are quite clear. Since 2014 when Jenlogix started working in this special vertical market for sales, support and service with the Palert Seismic monitoring system, it has created hundreds of sites around the globe. Some of Jenlogix international clients include a Light Rail Network in Indonesia, dairy and mining companies in North and South America, with more sites coming on line each year. In New Zealand there are about 350 Palert sensors located in both islands. The Palert systems are used by many corporations and institutions in NZ: KiwiRail, Councils, University’s, Power Generation, Banking, Private business, Ports and Airports, Hospitals etc.
A unique and important feature of the Palert range of Seismometers is the Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) algorithm. This EEW operates like those in Japan and is based on calculations done on the quake’s early P-wave. At this stage only clients who have Palerts can benefit from the EEW.
In August of 2022, Jenlogix became a division of MasTec Ltd another High Technology company in NZ.
Today, Jenlogix sources standard PC and embedded computers and IO components, allowing it to support a much deeper and wider range of industrial, medical and laboratory system requirements. The capability now extends through the complete end-to-end processing cycle, from Data Capture, Communication, Processing and Display of mission-critical information.
Jenlogix designs, configures, source, builds and assemble all types of systems, including industrial computers, embedded systems, data entry / acquisition devices, communications servers and a wide variety of display technologies for heavy industrial / agricultural, pharmaceutical and Medical environments plus for less rugged specialised commercial environments.
As you can see from the above History of almost 40 years, Jenlogix has a long technical pedigree, a history of quality and a reputation for service.
Jenlogix looks forward to working with you on your next project requiring these skills.