Young firm's 'fail safe' computer finds its way to European market

Among high-technology companies, youth seems to be everything. August Systems Inc., founded in 1978, is introducing its trademarked Can't Fail Computer to potential European buyers through an agreement with Holec Control Systems of the Netherlands, little more than a year after the computer was first marketed.

Introduced in July 1981, after 21/2 years of research and development, the computer was described as incorporating ''advanced fault-tolerant technologies'' and as ''the first of a new line of ultra-reliable industrial control computers that provide a nonstop, error-free operation in the event of a major hardware failure.''

David W. Willoughby, August Systems president, explained that ''fault tolerance recognizes that hardware failures are inevitable.'' That is why August ''designed (its) system to compensate and provide nonstop, error-free operation despite the failure of any single component or major assembly such as power supply or circuit board.''

In a failure, the system detects the failure and reports it to the operator for correction without stopping the system.

The Can't Fail Computer was also said to be ''the first designed and priced for industrial use'' and for those ''real-time control and monitoring applications'' in which computer failure would have ''serious or even catastrophic results.''

Holec Control Systems BV is a subsidiary of Holec NV of the Netherlands, a manufacturer of equipment for generation, distribution, and utilization of electricity.

Terms of the agreement give Holec exclusive rights to the August line in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and nonexclusive rights in France.

Although no price for the computer system was given in the announcement, a spokesman for August Systems had no objection to a $50,000 ''starting price'' quoted by Business Week magazine shortly after the 1981 introduction of the Can't Fail Computer.

The August computer system ''will round out our product base and allow us to configure complete control systems for virtually any application,'' says Frank M. deMeijere, general manager for Holec Control Systems. He added that August's ''advanced technology'' will enable Holec ''to provide ultra-reliable control for applications where continuous correct control is essential.''

David W. Boggs, marketing director for August, said the agreement ''gives us access to one of the world's key industrial markets through a highly respected, technically sophisticated partner.''

Since introduction of the Can't Fail Computer, August Systems Inc. has added to its line a system programmable in relay ladder logic for programmable controller applications, and a process-control system for continuous and batch control. The latter system also provides a complete color graphics system for programming and operation.

The full August Systems line is designed for applications where the impact of control error or downtime could have "serious effects of an economic, environmental, or safety nature," the company says.

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