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COTS & Custom Solutions

Custom Design of Rugged Embedded Computers and Systems

MEN designs rugged custom embedded computers and systems, often as COTS based solutions that save costs and speed time-to-market. MEN also configures and qualifies complete systems for rack enclosures, DIN rail or wall-mounting including all V model steps.

The Need for Tailored Computing

It is MEN's goal to find the most cost effective solution for the application to be implemented. While using as many standard COTS components as possible, parts of the solution may include customization on:

  • System level
  • Board level
  • Component level (in FPGA)

Whether we deliver standard products or full custom developments or a mixture of both, MEN always guarantees:

  • Hardware design according to the V-Model
  • Software experience to optimize the performance of the hardware
  • Production knowledge to allow reliable production of highly integrated circuitry
  • Logistics support in order to deliver on time at any time
  • The understanding of applicable standards to meet the requirements of the different markets, e.g., EN 50129 (railways) or DO-254 (aerospace)

Custom Design

Whether a board, an IP core, a complete system, or related software shall be designed, the single steps during specification, design, verification and validation of a product follow dedicated rules, which are part of our quality management systems DIN EN ISO 9001, EN/AS 9100 and IRIS).

Processor Platform

Standard Development Process

Design rules include the guidance on design methods like product safety, robustness, testability and maintainability. Further rules include the methods of description of schematic drawings, or the specification and naming conventions. Other prescriptions refer to the use of design tools, like the PCB layout, the selection of electronic components, the assessment of design alternatives, fail-safe and fault-tolerant design constructs or feedback processes.

RAMS

RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety) procedures are applied to avoid costly mistakes in the planning phase. RAMS includes risk identification and analysis, determination of risk rates and safety and reliability verifications. RAMS management is based on an adapted V-model and starts at the earliest stages of the development process. Other prescriptions refer to the use of design tools, like the PCB layout, the selection of electronic components, the assessment of design alternatives, fail-safe and fault-tolerant design constructs or feedback processes.

System Design

Receiving the entire system solution from a single supplier makes project management easier for the client. Meeting the standards required for mission-critical applications, MEN guarantees the interoperability of all boards. Functional tests include PSU, backplane and cabling, other tests refer to the in-system EMC behavior and thermal analysis with hot-spot detection. Software is pre-installed, application software can also be installed and tested. Test reports are provided and MTBF calculations can be prepared according to IEC/TR 62380.

This family of standard devices consists of application-ready and turnkey systems. They are highly modular thanks to their common components:

  • Housing with conductive-cooling based fanless and maintenance-friendly design
  • Scalable low-power processor architecture (Intel, AMD, ARM, PowerPC)
  • I/O and graphics functions located on separate modules
  • Flexible I/O extensions like PCI Express MiniCards
  • Wide-range PSUs targeted towards rail and road applications
  • Tx operating temperature, EN 50155 compliance and E-Mark certification

Box and Panel PCs

In addition to the numerous configuration options of modular and maintenance-friendly 19” technology a range of application-ready systems like storage, server, NAS, IPC and wireless solutions as well as turnkey systems like routers and switches are offered based on:

  • Half-size 19” housing
  • 3U Eurocard format
  • Two (redundant) power supplies (alternatively one USP)
  • Shelf controller
  • Optional fan tray
Built-to-Order

The built-to-order approach of MEN’s application-ready and turn-key systems allows the offer of cost-optimized “standard” systems which are individually tailored from the beginning, resulting in a short time-to-market of the final application.

FPGA Design

Increased I/O flexibility for standard and custom computer boards, long-term availability and qualification for extended operating temperature make FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) a key technology for time- and cost-critical embedded applications.

Flexible I/O for Customization and Long-Term Availability

FPGAs allow customization of the hardware at an attractive price even in low quantities. A time consuming and expensive redesign of a board can often be avoided through application-specific integration of IP cores in the FPGA – an alternative for specialized applications with small volumes.

FPGA IP Cores

Cost-Efficient Performance for Fast Time-to-Market

The sizes of FPGA components allow to combine many and complex functions in a single component. FPGAs support fast serial interconnects, and their pricing is attractive (starting from 20 euros). This makes them important factors when it comes to cost savings and time-to-market wherever you want to create individual configurations of standard products.

Safe FPGAs for Safe Computers

For safety-critical applications in avionics, the internal memory structure of the FPGA must withstand cosmic radiation. The safe computers in 6U from MEN come with triple redundancy supported by complex FPGA-based design. This helps dramatically lower software development costs by automatically managing the system's triple-redundant processors and memory.

Application Examples for COTS & Custom Solutions

Mining Machine Control Platform
Mining Machine Control Platform

Using two standard ESMini modules protected by a fire-safe, IP67-protected housing, this control unit for mining machines withstands extreme conditions.

SCADA System for Trucks
SCADA System for Trucks

An Intel Atom based COTS computer-on-module is used inside a SCADA system for vehicle management in transportation.

Cockpit Display Computer
Cockpit Display Computer

A rugged Computer-On-Module is the heart of all kinds of airborne video and control displays that are necessary for the information of the pilot.

Tightening System
Tightening System

The computing core for the industrial tightening system is based on PowerPC Computer-On-Module technology.

Locomotive Control
Locomotive Control

In this application, a DIN rail based OEM train control system is used for centralized or decentralized control, monitoring and diagnosis of all functions during drive and brake operation.

Ventilators for Anesthesia
Ventilators for Anesthesia

The computing heart of each ventilation control unit are two of the PowerPC based ESM Comuter-on-Modules.

Nuclear and Elementary Beam Monitoring
Nuclear and Elementary Beam Monitoring

Digital data processing, analysis and transfer to the control system is accomplished by a 6U VMEbus board as a common digital processing and communication platform.