Devlin Electronics designs innovative and unique solutions for its clients. In this example, we were asked to create an ultra-reliable keyboard specifically for the air traffic control sector, providing the safest air traffic control service possible.

Project Overview

Established in 1962, NATS provide air traffic control service to 15 of the UK’s biggest airports.  In addition, NATS also provide an air traffic management service to aircraft using UK airspace. As a global leader in this area, NATS deliver a cutting-edge service, utilising state-of-the-art technology to provide the safest air traffic control service possible.

The Challenge

NATS identified the need to replace their existing Air Traffic Control workstation keyboard.  The existing keyboard cable was overly rigid, which was found to significantly impair the use of other electronic equipment on the workstation when the keyboard was moved. Also, NATS required a keyboard with an improved ergonomic design and better key layout.

At project outset, by showing NATS an array of our previous developments, the customer was able to select the various product features that best suited their requirements. The engineering team designed a unique moulded enclosure that enabled the keyboard and keypad to fit seamlessly together, working as a single or separate unit in both the left- and right-handed user positions.  A specially designed fixing plate on the underside of the keyboard enabled both units to be locked together in the user's designated position. 

The keytops were also redeveloped so that the legends reflected NATS-specific application functions, providing the air traffic controller with clarity and definition.  

The Benefits

By tailoring the design of the keyboard to the methods of working at NATS, this has significantly reduced errors and improved efficiency which has been seen throughout the business.


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