Small screen stars
L s harris
Small screen stars
One of the industry’s most accommodating and versatile
instrumentation options just got smaller – good news
for the viewer and design engineers alike
enGage VI, shown here in actual size, features a
3.5in display. Screens are customised for optimal
readability according to the application
1: Brilliant full-colour ¼ VGA 3.5in dot-matrix LCD
2: Five ruggedised large push-buttons with tactile
3: Anti-fog, anti-glare, scratch-resistant, chemically
strengthened lens
4: IP67 front and rear housing
5: Integrated Deutsch connectors
6: Dual video camera input
7: Snap-fit mounting eliminates hardware
8: Customisable screens
9: Extensive I/O includes digital, analogue and
frequency inputs, and MOSFET outputs
enGage VI is suitable for both electric and internal
combustion vehicles
The new full-colour Curtis enGage VI vehicle
instrument delivers all the capabilities of its
larger sibling, enGage VII, but has been reconfigured
in a compact version that is ideal for smaller industrial
and off-highway vehicles. Compared with the 5.7in
LCD screen of the VII, the enGage VI features a 3.5in
display – about the same as that of an iPhone. That’s
no coincidence: Curtis chose a screen size that would
be familiar to many end-users, and right-sized for the
smaller dash of mid-range industrial, off-highway and
materials handling vehicles, whether electric or IC.
Despite its smaller scale, enGage VI offers the same
robust features and versatility of the larger version.
OEMs will find their options in design and display are
virtually unlimited. These options include a unit that is
cased or modular, CAN-only or full I/O, high voltage
or low, one camera or two, isolated CANbus or not,
and more. As Mike Miller, global product manager at
Curtis, explains, “OEMs have complete flexibility to
configure enGage exactly the way they want. They
can choose the displays, the colours, design their own
screen, and choose their own functionality.
“enGage is a blank slate you can customise in an
infinite number of combinations,” he adds. “enGage
VI delivers all this extensive custom capability and
programmability in a smaller size, and at a lower
price. It’s the first time such a feature-rich, full-colour
display is available to this segment of the industrial
vehicle marketplace.”
A line extension to the series, enGage VI affords the
same ease of use as the rest of its family in mounting,
connectivity and GUI. It seamlessly integrates with all
other Curtis CAN devices, including the advanced
Acuity battery-management system. It is also able to
communicate easily with other vehicle CAN devices,
giving freedom of choice in component selection.
High readability and creativity
The protective lens is scratch-resistant, UV-protected,
anti-fog and anti-glare, assuring visual clarity in any
industrial environment, from the darkest indoor freezer
unit to direct sunlight in the field. The full colour
display advantageously provides an intuitive ‘quick
read’ for operators working in challenging conditions.
enGage is able to integrate comprehensive panel
functionality into a single display. As regards what is
depicted on the high-resolution LCD, the choices
seem endless. With a spectrum of vivid colours, sharp
imagery, strong contrast and a wide array of graphics,
the screen can be customised to any application
requirements and design aesthetics.
Advanced Lift-truck Technology International 2014
The unit also accommodates one or two video
inputs in NTSC or PAL format. Other useful options
include a message centre, display menu system and
password security – to name but a few.
For vehicle manufacturers with limited resources in
instrumentation design, Curtis can offer support. The
company’s own design engineers can assist OEMs in
exploring the possibilities and producing customised
versions of the unit.
The entire enGage line is fully CANopen- or SAE
J1939-compatible and will interact with any CAN
node on the OEM’s vehicle network. However, there is
an integration advantage when using Curtis AC
vehicle motor controllers and input devices, as no
additional code need be written.
Powerful I/O capability greatly enhances system
integration as well as considerably reducing wiring
Shown in actual size
requirements via CANopen. enGage VI boasts four
independent, open-drain MOSFET outputs and a
wide range of inputs including:
• Four analogue (voltage or resistive);
• Two frequency inputs;
• Eight switch inputs (active high or low);
• Five push-buttons.
Modular or cased
A modular enGage unit offers the most flexibility in
mounting, location, dashboard aesthetics, designing
buttons and creating the GUI. Many OEMs choose
this option for bulk ordering. They can then design as
needed, refining the basic unit to accommodate
various projects, and enjoy volume savings.
That said, the cased unit offers some appealing
efficiencies. For instance, its minimally intrusive design
is compatible with a broad array of aesthetics, and its
hardware-free mounting is literally a ‘snap’ to install
– saving time on the assembly line.
Other enGage features include a real-time clock for
data logging and time stamping; a major reduction in
the requirement for secondary displays, circuits,
systems, installation and support; IP67 rating; a builtin heater option for operation down to -40°C; a wide
voltage range; and integral audible alarm output.
The entire enGage family is designed to provide
highly accurate battery charge information, especially
when coupled with the Curtis Acuity battery
monitoring system.
Field proven success
Now in production, the new units are ready to ship.
Miller confides that they are already a success in two
Advanced Lift-truck Technology International 2014
applications that demonstrate the range of enGage
VI. The first example he cites concerns a US forklift
manufacturer using enGage VI for an indoor reach
truck application. This OEM uses the modular version,
which it configures internally to its own specifications.
The look, functionality and software are all developed
by this OEM’s in-house design team.
The other example is a UK construction equipment
OEM using the cased unit with hardcoated lens and
ultra-rugged casing. Once the OEM had defined the
desired look and functionality, the Curtis engineers
then co-ordinated the functions, designed the
graphics and programmed enGageVI to specification,
delivering custom-configured units ready for assembly.
Each of these usage environments, indoors or out,
is rough and demanding in its own way. Each requires
a widely different set of customisations in form and
function. Yet whether customisation was fulfilled in-
house or delivered, the same core product was able to
satisfy a broad spectrum of industrial vehicle needs.
Key marketplace factors
In this competitive field, OEMs have many options.
But Curtis Instruments does present some exceptional
credentials. The company has decades of experience
in industrial vehicle instrument design, and claims the
most extensive product line in the market. With a
reputation for innovations that work, it has introduced
many breakthroughs since its earliest years, when
Curtis products were first specified by NASA for the
Apollo lunar modules.
Then there is the total system integration advantage.
If an OEM opts to use all Curtis components, ease of
intra-vehicle communication is pre-built into every
device. But even when a variety of component brands
is used, it is not a problem. In the examples cited
above, the US OEM used a Curtis motor controller in
conjunction with enGage VI. The UK OEM used a
competitor’s ECU. In both cases, the OEMs achieved
the functionality their clients demanded.
Miller estimates that Curtis currently has more than
five million gauge instruments installed worldwide.
Multiply that by the many other industrial and offhighway vehicle systems components produced by
this global leader, and you get a measure of the trust
in the marketplace that Curtis has achieved.
With the introduction of the compact and versatile
enGageVI, Curtis appears to have once again moved
the needle forward in terms of industrial vehicle
safety, productivity and ease of use. ALT
L S Harris is a New York-based business and technology
writer who can be reached at: [email protected]
enGage is available in cased units or modules
free reader enquiry service
To learn more about this advertiser, visit Ref: 505
Advanced Lift-truck Technology International 2014
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