The Truth About Ruggedised Embedded Computers

The Truth About Ruggedised Embedded Computers

Recab UK has shared a free-to-download whitepaper, Designing embedded computers for rugged applications. Published in the US by Recab UK’s partner Diamond Systems, the whitepaper is available here. Some manufacturers claim that their boards can serve extreme applications by labelling them as rugged when, actually, that is not the case. It’s therefore vital that engineers properly understand ruggedised electronic components.


It remains to be seen how the UK’s infrastructural landscape will evolve post-Brexit. Planned projects include the UK Government’s pledge to invest £500 million in a north-east rail network. One thing that is certain is that embedded computing systems will be crucial to these developments.


That’s why Recab UK, which designs and suppliers embedded computer systems, has shared Diamond Systems’ report titled Designing embedded computers for rugged applications. Whether in transport infrastructure, military applications or elsewhere, embedded systems are used everywhere in all but all the simplest of electronic products — including in extreme applications.


These trends are set to grow, predicts Martin Frederiksen, managing director of Recab UK: “In the coming years, Brexit, as well as COVID-19, will force the UK Government to have control of essential key infrastructure and the possibility to produce in the UK.


“I believe we’ll see a shift and companies will bring back more manufacturing to the UK, driving inward investment towards UK companies, like Recab UK. For now, our support continues in varied applications where embedded systems can prove so crucial.”


Embedded computers are used in harsh environments and subjected to extremes of temperature, shock, and vibration. However, there is a tendency of manufacturers to make the claim that their boards can serve these applications by labelling their products as rugged when, actually, they aren’t.


Designing embedded computers for rugged applications side-steps the myths with an in-depth look at the factors that make embedded computers rugged. They include how to tell if a board is truly equipped to operate within a wide temperature range; how thicker PCBs contribute towards success; and the use of heat spreaders for better heat dissipation and therefore longer-lasting operations.


The paper, authored by Recab UK’s trusted supplier Diamond Systems, includes an example of how the latter company’s own Athena II board was selected for use extreme in a large volume military vehicle roof-mounted remote weapons station program.


“Diamond Systems achieved virtually 100 per cent yield from burn-in testing of the board, rated for use at temperatures of 0–70 degrees Centigrade,” said Frederiksen. “It experienced zero returns for temperature performance over the life of the program.”


Diamond Systems delivered over 18,000 units of this product over a 13-year period. Frederiksen says this example shows the importance of proper testing, and that engineers must properly understand the factors that make electronic components rugged.


Click here to download the Designing embedded computers for rugged applications whitepaper.