Product News - Embedded-Control-Europe.com

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Product News - Embedded-Control-Europe.com


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Dear Readers,

Unlike other publishing houses ICC

Media is still convinced of the value

of print magazines. Therefore Boards

& Solutions and ECE will continue

to appear as printed magazines. But

as response to the changed market

environment we have decided to

combine Boards & Solutions and

ECE in a single print issue, while

the digital versions of the magazines

will stay separate.

In the last two years the market environment for technical magazines

has changed dramatically: Many printed magazine have disappeared

completely, others have been converted into digital-only magazines.

Mailing costs and printing costs are the two items which make print

magazine much more expensive than digital ones. And this is the

reason why many publishers are on the road to “digital-only”. But this

purely cost-driven strategy is not in-line with what the readers want –

at least not in Europe. The majority still prefers to read on paper.

I am convinced that in 5 years there will still print magazines be

around in Europe - less than today, but print will stay alive. It is especially

the 40+ generation that on one hand uses the Internet for

searching for information and collecting information, but prefers

reading on a piece of paper, rather than on a computer screen.

The first half of this combined print issue is the Boards & Solutions

Magazine. The cover story introduces new embedded computing platforms

with extraordinary CPU and graphics performance. With the introduction

of new processor generations, over the past three months the chip manufacturers

Intel and AMD have renewed their embedded computer technology

offering with the second-generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processor

series, the FPGA-configurable processors of the Intel Atom E6x5C series

and the new AMD Embedded G-series. An other article of this issue introduces

Emerson’s new board customization program RapiDex which

requires no special contracts, no statements of work and no project

supervision, but leads to cost-effective customized COTS solutions.

The ECE Magazine part of this issue starts at page 29. In this issue our

editor Wolfgang Patelay reports about microcontrollers and tools highlights

from Embedded World 2011 which ended beginning of March

successfully with more than 800 international exhibitors, 10% up on

last year, and 19,022 trade visitors, 4% up. Another article covers the

security challenge for connected industrial devices. The mitigation of

security risks is a large and growing problem for the industrial sector.

As more and more systems are interconnected, and as ever-larger machines

are controlled by ever-smaller embedded devices, the impact of

intrusion and malware grows exponentially. Lighting is one of the

focus topics of this issue of ECE Magazine. For example more and

more towns and cities are turning to environmentally friendly LED

street lighting. Among the groundbreakers was Remchingen in the

south-west German state of Baden-Württemberg, where Rutronik

installed an array of 13 dimming LED street lights as far back as 2008.

Now, working together with Osram Opto Semiconductors and

Portuguese solid-state lighting (SSL) specialist Arquiled, the distributor

has developed the next generation of LED street lighting.

Yours sincerely

Jürgen Hübner

Publisher

VIEWPOINT

3 March 2011


CONTENTS

Viewpoint 3

Cover Story

Embedded platforms with extraordinary

CPU and graphics performance 6

Highlights from Embedded World

Embedded World highlights: latest

developments in embedded computing 10

COTS

Board customization program

for embedded Intel processor users 13

Enhanced vector graphics and S-RIO

boost Intel in DSP applications 18

Designing and manufacturing rugged

COTS assemblies 20

Industrial Computing

Embedded Building Blocks – a new

initiative 24

Digital Signage

Digital signage display systems

with integrated control computer 27

Product News 28

March 2011 4

Cover Story:

Embedded platforms with extraordinary

CPU and graphics performance PAGE 6

Over the past three months, embedded

computer technology has gone through a

renewal, as a range of new processors has

become available. Added value has resulted

from increased CPU performance,

increased graphics per watt, and a higher

degree of integration. Manu facturers are

also working to create significant added

value for OEMs.

Board customization program

for embedded Intel processor users PAGE 13

A new board customization program

requires no special contracts,

no statements of work and no project

supervision, but leads to costeffective

customized COTS solutions.

The service is straightforward

to use and the customer need make

no commitment on production volume,

the minimum order quantity

being only 100 units.

Embedded Building Blocks – a new

initiative PAGE 24

This article introduces the Embedded

Building Blocks initiative, launched by

congatec in cooperation with TQ-

Group and apra-norm, and under the

auspices of Intel Corporation, to make

it easier for small and medium-sized

businesses to gain access to embedded

computer technology and entry

into the industrial computer market.


COVER STORY

Embedded platforms with extraordinary

CPU and graphics performance

By Norbert Hauser, Kontron

Over the past three months,

embedded computer technology

has gone through a renewal,

as a range of new processors

has become available. Added value

has resulted from increased CPU

performance, increased graphics

per watt, and a higher degree

of integration. Manufacturers

are also working to create

significant added value for OEMs.

n With the introduction of new processor generations,

over the past three months chip manufacturers

such as Intel and AMD have totally

renewed their embedded computer technology

offering. One look at the innovations which

are featured in these platforms – namely, the

second-generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processor

series, the FPGA-configurable processors of

the Intel Atom E6x5C series and the new

AMD Embedded G-series – shows the clear

and ubiquitous trend to higher integration.

Along with the CPU, all these platforms also

integrate the graphics unit (GPU), a PCI Express

and a memory controller into one die.

In addition, the Intel Atom E6x65C processors

integrate a configurable Altera FPGA on a

multi-chip module.

But what does the increasingly high level of

integration bring to the individual markets

and applications? First of all, energy savings

are once again significantly improved due to

more performance per watt, which in turn

facilitates, for example, new applications in

the mobile area. Furthermore, increasing integration

makes higher-performance graphics

for more vivid 3-D visualization possible,

and this also applies to extremely energyefficient

embedded devices. Driven by larger

screen diagonals, higher panel resolutions

and modern operating concepts with multitouch,

the need for more graphics perform-

ance is also on the rise in the embedded

sector. Especially areas such as medicine,

digital signage, gaming, infotainment, kiosk

and mobile applications, but also GUIs in

industrial applications profit greatly from

the features of the new processors.

The second-generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7

processor series doubles the graphics performance

as compared to its predecessors and - for

the first time in the embedded market - offers

2-D and 3-D graphics performance with

OpenGL and DirectX10 support on the level

of dedicated graphics cards. These support up

to three monitors and can even decode HD

videos and 3-D BluRay videos with minimal

CPU utilization. They are thus positioned as

an ideal starting basis for high-performance

digital signage applications with several panels,

to name just one example. And since not only

the general performance but the performance

per watt of this new generation are of great

interest for many embedded applications,

Kontron is making it available on more than

10 platforms. The first product based on this

highly integrated processor series with improved

graphics performance is the COM Express

basic Computer-on-Module ETXexpress-SC.

At the Embedded World exhibition, embedded

motherboards followed in the mini-ITX

(KTQ67/mITX) and Flex-ATX form factors

(KTQ67/FlexATX), as well as the 6U Compact-

March 2011 6

ETXexpress-SC Computer-on-Module

(left) in the COM Express basic format

integrates the second generation of Intel

Core i3/i5/i7 processors. Thanks to the

AMD G-series implementation, the

Kontron microETXexpress-OH (right)

in the smaller COM Express compact

format offers extreme graphics performance

and GPU functionality.

PCI processor board Kontron CP6003 and the

3U VPX board VX3035. Further platforms

which are planned for 2011 include 3U

CompactPCI, as well as several industrial PCs.

In terms of increasing graphics performance,

AMD has topped this. The graphics performance

of the new so-named accelerated processing

units (APUs) has increased several

times over as compared to previously available

solutions in this performance-per-watt class.

The AMD Embedded G-Series is positioned

beneath the general computing power of Intel

Core i7 processors and offers a clear advantage

for graphics all the way to the Intel Atom

processor technology performance class. It is

thus positioned as a high-performance graphics

platform – even with Direct X11 and Open

CL support – for especially compact, fanless

SFF applications. It will become available at

Kontron, for example, on COM Express Compact-compatible

Computer-on-Modules, Mini-

ITX and Flex-ATX motherboards, as well as

Pico-ITX and PCI/104express single-board

computers.

However, even applications that rely on high

computing power profit from the new platform:

both the Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors as well

as the accelerated processing units of the AMD

Embedded G series speed up applications that

rely on parallel processing of vectorial data


COVER STORY

Figure 2. The 6U CompactPCI Board Kontron CP6003 with the new Intel Core i5/i7 generation

is attractive due to high power density with improved efficient thermal design compared to the

first generation. The new 3U VPX board Kontron VX3035 with second-generation Intel Core

i3/i5/i7 processors is a 100% drop-in replacement for the VPX board Kontron VX3030.

Figure 3. Mini-ITX and a Flex-ATX embedded motherboard with the new Intel Core i3/i5/i7

generation offer best-in-class quad-core processors, with the highly increased performance-

per-watt ratio of the predecessor platforms and double the graphics performance.

Figure 4. The Kontron PCIe/104 SBC Microspace MSMST (left) with the configurable Intel Atom

E6x5C processor series implements customized interfaces via an Altera Arria II GX FPGA. The

COM Express FPGA starter kit with Altera Cyclone IV GX FPGA has two HSMC cards with

I/Os for automation, communication and video interfaces.

March 2011 8

streams. They include applications such as

radar, sonar, industrial and medical image processing,

video monitoring with face recognition

and computer-aided diagnostics (CAD). They

take on the tasks of number crunchers in

these applications, which the x86 processors

up to now have not been able to perform

ideally. Though the approaches taken by the

individual processor manufacturers are different,

both however lead to more added value

for x86 technology; each according to its performance

class. For acceleration of data-intensive

applications, Intel is introducing the Intel

Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) in the second

generation of Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors.

AMD uses the new Fusion technology on its

APUs of the Embedded G-Series platform and

allows vectorial calculations to be carried out

via the integrated graphics unit. Using OpenCL

or DirectCompute, high-powered vectorial calculations

in particular can be programmed

that previously could only be implemented

with elaborate multi-processor designs.

In addition, the x86 FPGA tandem, which became

available with the configurable Intel

Atom E6x5C processor series, has opened up

a completely new dimension of embedded

computing. The possibility of obtaining FPGA

flexibility paired with x86 performance as a

standard product means that for the first time

customers are able to implement a compact

platform with extremely flexible I/O designs,

and/or fast algorithms, with noticeably reduced

design risks. Moreover, not only does the

processor building block itself become available

as an integrated product, but also board-level

products such as the Kontron Microspace

MSMST PCIe/104 single-board computer or

the COM Express starter kit with Altera Cyclone

IV GX FPGA. The design outlay for

OEMs is thus significantly reduced and everything

is now available from one source. However,

the precondition for this is that the board

or system provider also has a comprehensive

solution offer with the corresponding FPGA

stacks and IP cores.

OEMs no longer want a separate contact for

each individual partial solution. Ideally they

will look for a central contact from a provider

that is - thanks to its broad product portfolio -

in a position to always deliver a suitable

solution for each project. Apart from the hardware

itself, more extensive services are consequently

in demand. A key example is the support

of hardware-optimized software in order

to be able to keep up with the rapid developments

in the market. OEMs and application

developers cannot and do not want to occupy

themselves with the basic software down to

the smallest detail. The more they are freed

from individual, low-level hardware and software

management by the embedded partner,


the easier and faster their application development

is. For this reason, with the introduction

of the first FPGA solutions Kontron has already

provided complete development platforms including

suitable FPGA implementation with

HSMC cards, and is now further extending

these solutions, working in the direction of

I/O functionalities. The latest development is

the Kontron cooperation with Softing, as announced

at Embedded World, to support realtime

Ethernet solutions such as PROFINET,

EtherCat, EtherNet/IP and MODBUS TCP.

Thus customers can obtain complete solutions

directly from one source and via a single

contact. Licensing of the FPGA stacks and IP

cores is also done from one source. In addition,

Kontron offers more services in the case of licensing,

for example, operating systems. Thus,

for some time now customers have been able

to get their own Linux distribution from

Kontron for the ThinkIO top-hat rail PC, for

instance. Everything in connection with the

Wind River offering, such as VxWorks licenses,

is available. And this offering is now also being

extended to Microsoft operating systems such

as the new MS Windows Embedded Compact

7 or Windows Embedded Standard 7. Customers

can thus streamline the entire procurement

logistics chain, and source everything

required for their embedded computing solution

as an application-ready platform from

one provider.

In order to reduce the R&D outlay as well as

the costs and launch times for customers, the

Kontron EAPI (embedded application programming

interface) cross-platform middleware

has also been developed. Regardless of

whether an OEM is developing for example

multi-media applications on the basis of the

AMD G-Series, or on Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors,

thanks to the EAPI it can use its software

on both platforms and significantly lower the

development costs and time-to-market – starting

directly with the first design-in. Moreover,

with Kontron EAPI, future migrations will

also become even more efficient. With EAPI,

OEMs can move to new platforms for access

to the hardware functions of a processor board

without any code adaptations, because the

software interfaces with the hardware remain

identical. That lowers the engineering and

implementation costs for new hardware by up

to 40%.

Along with standardized cross-platform middleware,

however, OEMs also need other

software services to be able to integrate new

technologies in their applications as quickly

and efficiently as possible. For this reason,

Kontron provides support for the respective

basic technologies with all software-related

development work. Among the services is the

porting of drivers and middleware, porting,

adaptation and validation of existing applications

onto new hardware, including porting

of existing single-threaded software onto multicore

designs or virtualized systems.

The validation of the entire hardware and

software solution with regard to the interaction

of the hardware platform with the OEM application

is a further service. This means that

OEMs can concentrate entirely on designing

the applications themselves, which ultimately

benefits their quality as well. By adding these

services, a hardware offering becomes an

application-ready platform – regardless of

COVER STORY

whether it is a module, board, IPC or system

and regardless of whether it is a standard

product or a semi-custom or full-custom

design. On request, all required hardware

components and hardware-optimized software/middleware

implementation for the

respective target application are included and

are ready for use with the customer’s application

software. And if the customer so wishes,

they are even certified for the intended target

market. So OEMs only have to integrate the

application-ready platform in their application.

That shortens time-to-market, lowers the total

cost of ownership and is the foundation for

high quality. n

9 March 2011


HIGHLIGHTS FROM EMBEDDED WORLD

Embedded World highlights: latest

developments in embedded computing

By Wolfgang Patelay, Editor

The Embedded World Exhibition &

Conference 2011 attracted

an increased number of visitors

and exhibitors. More than 800

international exhibitors,

10 per cent up on last year,

and 19,022 trade visitors,

4 per cent up, from all over the

world confirmed the success

of this year’s event. Suppliers

of embedded computing

products showed many

new developments.

n Beckhoff has extended its range of IP 67 I/O

modules with the EP4374 EtherCAT Box, which

combines two analog inputs and two analog

outputs in one device. The versatile combination

I/O box offers a scalable solution that empowers

machine manufacturers to plan ahead

based on demand, and therefore more cost-effectively.

The input and output channels can

be parameterised independently for the standard

signals 0…10 V, ±10 V, 0…20 mA and

4…20 mA. With the combination of parameterisable

inputs and outputs in a single housing,

users benefit from increased flexibility and

can utilise the existing signals in an optimal

manner. The EtherCAT Box features two input

channels and two output channels. Each channel

is configurable individually for current or

voltage measurement or output. The resolution

for the current and voltage signals is 16-bit

(signed). The EP4374-0002 module has a direct

EtherCAT connection, so that the high Ether-

CAT performance of 100 Mbit/s is retained

right down to each IP 67 box. The compact dimensions

of the EtherCAT Box of only 126 x

30 x 26.5 mm make it ideal for applications in

confined spaces.

Eurotech demonstrated a complete wireless

gateway solution based on an Intel hardware

and software development kit, allowing M2M

devices, applications and services to get to

market quicker. The demo showed a live de-

velopment environment based on the Intel

Atom processor M2M reference platform with

a software development kit from Wind River

and Eurotech. Based on Intel Atom processor

technology, Wind River Linux, and Eurotech

Everyware Software Framework, this new class

of hardware incorporates the density of a complete

appliance with the flexibility of an embedded

industrial computer to enable mission

critical applications. The Intel Atom-based

M2M gateway reference platform demonstrates

the disruptive notion of providing dense, flexible

hardware platforms that reside on the

edges of the network.

The embedded module TQMP2020 manufactured

by TQ is the next generation of the PowerQUICC

III module family TQM85xx. The

Freescale QorIQ processor family P1 and P2

opens up the possibility of new applications

in industry and communications. With one or

two e500 cores and a clock speed ranging

from 533 MHz to 1.2 GHz, the TQ module

with its QorIQ processors offers an balance

between data processing speed and power dissipation.

Thanks to the 45nm technology,

power consumption is markedly lower that in

comparable PowerQUICC III modules. This

along with the extended temperature range

means that it can be fitted to fanless systems.

The minimodule is well suited to industrial

applications where long-term availability, out-

March 2011 10

Figure 1. The EtherCAT Box modules in

protection class IP 67 extend the Beckhoff

Fieldbus Box system.

door ambient temperatures and small sizes

are important factors. In this respect, the module

provides an excellent basis for quick and

efficient networking by means of interfaces

such as Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe and USB 2.0.

In addition, the integrated flash memory and

up to 2 GBytes of DDR3 SDRAM provide an

excellent basis for applications with high data

processing rates and large data volumes. ECC

and NOR flash memory enable the currently

greatest degree of data security. All the most

important processor interfaces are made available

on the robust 360-pole connector assembly.

As in all TQ modules, the TQMP2020 constitutes

a completely independent unit and is

housed in an area of 50 x 80 mm2 the size of a

credit card. All the necessary voltages are generated

on the module itself thus ensuring a

safe boot-up of the system under any conditions.

The universal starter kit STKP2020

means operations can commence in the shortest

possible period of time, thus enabling time

and money to be saved during the evaluation

phase of projects.

TQ additionally launched the MB-COME-1

motherboard combined with a standard COM-

Express module, resulting in a very compact

hardware kit that can be used as a freely

scalable embedded-PC platform owing to its

modular design. The modular design concept

ensures long term availability on one hand,


Figure 2. The TQMP2020 is the next generation

of the PowerQUICC III module family.

Figure 3. The Corona multi-function

SUMIT-ISM I/O module, combining WiFi,

dual Ethernet, USB, and solid-state disk

expansion capabilities

while on the other the system can be equipped

with the latest technology. At the same time as

the official launch of the second generation of

Intel’s Core Technology Sandy Bridge, TQ has

shown a running prototype. At 170 mm x 170

mm, the dimensions of the motherboard correspond

to the mini-ITX form factor, and

even the mount points correspond to those of

a mini-ITX board. Thus, the entire infrastructure

of broadband casings and mechanical solutions

offered in the market can be utilized.

Even on the supply side, the MB-COME-1

relies on the standards in order to utilize the

advantage of the various power supply solutions

offered. It features a large number of interfaces

as standard, with 4x USB 2.0, 2x Gigabit Ethernet,

DVI-I (analog and digital) and RS-232

routed outward. For internal interfaces, 1x

SATA for direct, wireless connection of an internal

2.5“ hard drive/SSD, 1x SATA to connect

an external hard drive/DVD drive, a Compact-

Flash slot, a CFast slot, MiniPCIe interface,

Dual Channel LVDS including touch connection

via USB or COM, as well as 1x USB 2.0,

for example to connect a USB flash disk, are

available. If these interfaces are not sufficient

or if special interfaces are required, two additional

extension options are available. The proprietary

IO extension interface offers another

USB, PCIe x1, high definition audio, SVDO

HIGHLIGHTS FROM EMBEDDED WORLD

and I²C interface. This allows for example an

additional DVI-I /HDMI interface, or field

buses such as CAN, to be implemented on application-

or sector-specific additional daughter

boards. The patent-pending TQ riser interface,

which is integrated in the motherboard, is one

of the key solutions of the system.

Besides the PCI bus, the TQ riser system makes

two extra PCIe x1 available on the riser. The

concept allows an extension either down or

sideways so that the thermal connection of

the CPU module on the top of the motherboard

remains unaffected. With an extension

card to the bottom, the system even stays

within the standard I/O window and thereby

fits into extremely compact standard mini-

ITX casings in spite of the expansion card. By

using different riser adaptors (such as 1x PCIe

x1, 1x PCI or 1x PCIe+PCI), the user is completely

free to select the expansion cards and

can thus choose from the abundance of cards

offered on the market.

At Embedded World, Emerson released its

first OpenVPX single board computers to provide

excellent performance, power efficiency,

graphics, memory and I/O for high bandwidth

military/aerospace, first responder and rugged

industrial applications such as mining. The

6U iVPX7220 and 3U iVPX7223 boards feature

the dual-core 2.20 GHz Intel Core i7 2655LE

processor with integrated graphics and memory

controller, and the Intel QM67 PCH chipset

for advanced I/O functionality. The iVPX7220

also supports the quad-core second generation

Intel Core i7 2715QE processor. Both the products

released at Embedded World are rugged

SBCs for extreme environments with extended

shock, vibration and temperature ratings, and

conduction cooling.

The iVPX7223 and the dual-core variant of the

iVPX7220 feature up to 8GBytes DDR3-1333,

while the quad-core processor variant of the

iVPX7220 is designed to support up to 16

GBytes DDR3-1333 memory. Fabric connectivity

includes Gigabit Ethernet to the control

plane and PCI Express to the data plane, while

the iVPX7220 also offers PCI Express to the expansion

plane. The iVPX7220 also offers 4

GBytes of embedded USB flash and 256KBytes

of non-volatile ferroelectric random access

memory. Additional connectivity includes up

to nine USB 2.0 ports, five serial ports, five

SATA ports, ten GPIOs, three DisplayPort connections,

VGA and dual XMC sites for maximum

flexibility. An optional 2.5-inch SATA

solid-state disk is also available. The iVPX7223

offers 4 GBytes of embedded USB flash and

256 KBytes of non-volatile F-RAM. Additional

connectivity on this board includes three USB

2.0 ports, two serial ports, three SATA ports,

eight GPIO, one DisplayPort connection, one

11 March 2011


HIGHLIGHTS FROM EMBEDDED WORLD

VGA and one XMC site. Software support on the

products includes UEFI BIOS for an improved customer

experience, and a wide range of operating systems

including VxWorks and Linux from Wind River,

Windows XP Embedded, Red Hat Fedora Linux,

Green Hills INTEGRITY and LynuxWorks LynxOS.

Emerson Network Power also introduced the innovative

RapiDex board customization service. The

Intel Atom processor is the first to be supported,

with other Intel embedded processors being added

during 2011. Users of the RapiDex service specify

the processor, memory, I/O and connectors, and

boards are built to the exact dimensions desired for

ease of mounting in custom enclosures. With Emerson’s

RapiDex service, customers simply pay a small

manufacturing set-up fee to receive first article

boards. A simple specification procedure and a new

Emerson Network Power manufacturing process

enable fast execution of customer requests. Customers

receive first article boards in as little as four weeks

from order. On approval of these first article boards,

customers can order volume shipments with a low

minimum order quantity of only 100 units. Unit

prices are competitive with prices of equivalent standard

motherboards.

Diamond Systems unveiled the Corona multi-function

SUMIT-ISM I/O module, combining WiFi,

dual Ethernet, USB, and solid-state disk expansion

capabilities. The compact, rugged module is engineered

to meet the wide operating temperature,

high shock and vibration, and mission-critical reliability

requirements of fixed and mobile application

environments, whether indoors or exposed to the

elements. The onboard 802.11a/b/g WiFi function

is based on a socketed wide-temperature mini-PCI

card, which implements a dual-channel/dual-antenna

WiFi radio and supports 108 Mbps transmit/receive

rates, average power of 23 dBm, and peak power of

up to 28 dBm. The onboard SDVO-to-VGA converter

can be used for converting the SDVO output signals

of Diamond’s Aurora SBC into standard analog

VGA format. The optional onboard 2.5-inch SATA

SSD accommodates local data storage prior to its offload

via either Corona WiFi or Ethernet communications

functions.

Diamond board-level 2.5-inch SATA SSD modules,

also announced at Embedded World, further simplify

system integration and reduce size, weight, power,

and cost. Corona derives its PCI Express and USB

host interface signals from the host SBC SUMIT-A

connector, but does not use signals or power from

its PC/104 bus stackthrough connector. The two

types of stackthrough buses enable SUMIT and

PC/104 modules to be stacked above Corona in systems

supporting those buses. To support the temperature

extremes of fixed and mobile applications in

both indoor and outdoor environments, the Corona

module – including its onboard WiFi and SATA SSD

card options – is rated for the extended operating

temperature range of -40 to +85°C. Device drivers

for Windows XP and Linux 2.6 are available. n

March 2011 12

Product News

n Eurotech: Everyware Software Framework

Eurotech demonstrated a complete wireless gateway

solution based on Intel’s hardware and software

development kit that allows for M2M devices,

applications and services to get to market quicker.

Based on Intel Atom processor technology, Wind

River Linux, and Eurotech Everyware Software

Framework, this new class of hardware incorporates

the density of a complete appliance with the

flexibility of an embedded industrial computer to

enable mission critical applications.

News ID 13370

n Axiomtek: 3.5-inch Embedded board

with Atom D425/N455/D525

Axiomtek announced CAPA801, a new 3.5-inch

embedded board, equipped with the new Intel

Atom processor D525 dual core 1.8GHz, D425

single core 1.8GHz, and N455 single core 1.66GHz.

The low power CAPA801 has a 204-pin DDR3

667/800MHz SO-DIMM max up to 4GB capacity.

Dual displays are supported by an 18-bit single

channel LVDS port and VGA port. It also comes

complete with several I/O like six USB 2.0 ports,

four COM ports, PCI Express Mini card, two

Gigabit Ethernet, and HD audio.

News ID 13164

n Kontron: AMCs with Freescale Power

Architecture processors

Kontron announces support for Freescale Semiconductor’s

advanced QorIQ family of communication

processors, which deliver best-in-class

energy efficiency and a broad range of performance

and integration capabilities on AdvancedMC

processor modules. With these two Power Architecture

based communication processor platforms,

designed for networking and control applications

with general processing needs, Kontron extends

its portfolio of single-width midsize AdvancedMCs

both for low-power and high-performance packet

processing applications.

News ID 13332

n Eurotech: Everyware Device Cloud solution

at embedded world

Eurotech presented its Everyware Device Cloud

(EDC), solution at Embedded World. EDC is a

platform that represents the most effective way

for customers to design and deploy device-tocloud

solutions that deliver valuable data between

distributed devices and business applications.

With EDC, M2M solutions that connect embedded

devices to a network and capture valuable data

can be deployed in minimal time. Before EDC,

this kind of deployment could take months or

even years to plan, procure and execute.

News ID 13307


Board customization program

for embedded Intel processor users

n The market for commercial off-the-shelf

(COTS) embedded computer motherboards

is vigorous, healthy and competitive. The range

of choices available to system designers is very

wide, and many different combinations of

processor, memory and interface options are

available as standard products. For many designs,

the choice of standard parts is adequate.

Normal embedded design procedure is to define

system architecture and derive a desired

motherboard specification from this. Then

the design team will scan the COTS motherboard

market, looking for the standard part

that best fits the desired specification. In many

instances, this best fit is a good enough fit; it

is, though, rarely a perfect fit.

Unfortunately, the alternative – commissioning

a unique, custom board – has in the past been

commercially unattractive. Custom boards

made to the user specification provide a perfect

fit for the design requirement, but customization

services have been slow, inflexible, burdened

with complex legal provisions and,

above all, expensive. For the vast majority of

embedded design projects, a custom board

has been out of reach. OEMs have learned to

work around the design compromises that go

along with accepting COTS motherboard with

a good enough fit. To address the need for optimized

board designs when a COTS board is

not suitable, Emerson Network Power has introduced

the RapiDex service, a rapid board

customization program that allows OEMs to

specify processor, I/O, connector and other

options within a custom board form factor.

The service is available for boards using Intel

embedded processors. The RapiDex service is

fast and remarkably straightforward for the

customer to use: no special contracts, no statements

of work and no project supervision are

required. And unlike conventional customization

engagements, the customer need make

no commitment on production volume numbers,

and the minimum order quantity is merely

100 units.

The RapiDex service is also priced to reflect

the resources of the vast majority of embedded

design projects: the customer pays a small

manufacturing setup fee, no non-recurring

engineering (NRE) fees, and unit costs per

board shipped are comparable to the price of

a standard part.

This new service is the result of innovative developments

in design and manufacturing automation

pioneered by Emerson Network

Power, and it brings the advantages of board

customization to a far wider range of embedded

OEMs than could previously benefit from it.

At the start of an embedded design project,

COTS

By Rod Anliker, Nigel Forrester and Shlomo Pri-Tal, Emerson Network Power

A new board customization

program requires no special

contracts, no statements

of work and no project

supervision, but leads to

cost-effective customized

COTS solutions. The service

is straightforward to use

and the customer need

make no commitment on

production volume, the

minimum order quantity

being only 100 units.

the preference of the team is to find a standard

embedded computer motherboard that fits

into its end-product architecture. A standard

part can be shipped immediately, and the only

cost the customer pays is the unit price per

board. This method of sourcing an embedded

motherboard or computer is the fastest and

cheapest available. Indeed, embedded computing

manufacturers such as Emerson Network

Power succeed in meeting the common needs

of the majority of users with their standard

parts designs.

But certain classes of design requirement are

not well served by standard boards. These designs

fall into one of two categories. 1) Outliers:

design projects with uncommon requirements.

The specifications are in limited

demand, so it is not economical for embedded

board manufacturers to make a standard part

to meet them. 2) Long-lived platform products:

it is difficult to maintain uniformity of

board specifications over time and over multiple

product variants when sourcing from

board manufacturer standard parts, since the

specifications of these change frequently to

keep pace with changes in technology and

customer demand. In both cases, the use of

standard boards from a catalogue is disadvantageous.

It can result in one or more of

the following drawbacks: compromised design,

13 March 2011


COTS

Figure 1. Timeline of the RapiDex service from Emerson/powerBridge

Figure 2. Example of a customized board designed by RapiDex service

Figure 3. Various examples of RapiDex boards

reduced functionality, impaired performance,

increased design time, increased design risk,

increased materials cost and deviation from

a product marketing specification.

The RapiDex service from Emerson Network

Power, then, eliminates the drawbacks and

work-arounds associated with using either inappropriate

standard boards, or conventional

March 2011 14

board customization. It is fast, straightforward

and competitive. In fact, Emerson Network

Power has reinvented board customization,

with the goal of creating a service in tune with

customer needs. To this end, it has developed

and deployed new business processes and new

technology in the provision of the RapiDex

service.

The conventional approach to developing and

manufacturing embedded computing boards

involves a series of discrete steps that cross a

number of distinct process ‘islands’. The revolutionary

impact of the RapiDex service is

due to the bridging of these islands into one

seamless process. At the start of the chain is

the customer specification, which defines the

board requirements in terms of form factor,

processor, I/O and so on. The chain leads first

to tools implementing the circuit design and

the board layout. This then generates a materials

requirement, which links to the Emerson

Network Power supply chain (to supply parts)

and to the enterprise resource systems (to

manage payments to suppliers, to provide information

to an Emerson Network Power factory,

to generate invoices and so on). The system

also links to a separate manufacturing

process system, which is required to receive

and store incoming parts, assemble and ship

the custom boards, notify the enterprise resource

system of shipments and so on. Conventionally,

all of these systems are discrete,

and commands to initiate or approve actions

as they cross from one system to another must

be issued by a human being.

Technology developed by Emerson Network

Power has enabled the RapiDex service to be

automated at every point, eliminating the

delay, cost, and risk of error or inconsistency

associated with human involvement in processes.

Crucial to the implementation of this chain

of processes is a modular implementation of

board functions; the design rules developed

by Emerson Network Power enable these functions

to be integrated, using advanced design

software, into tens of thousands of configurations

of processors, I/Os, peripherals and connectors.

Together, this combination of technology

and process innovations enables the

delivery of a service that is faster, more responsive,

extremely scalable and cheaper by

far than any board customization service in

the history of the embedded market.

By choosing the RapiDex service, you benefit

from a customization service that offers: Optimised

design: Using an embedded Intel processor,

you can specify a choice of I/O configurations,

memory specifications and peripheral

capabilities (such as wireless communications)

in any rectangular form factor. Emerson Network

Power will design and produce a planar


COTS

board to your specification with a high-performance board layout.

Fast turnaround: The innovative design of the RapiDex process has

also produced an accelerated ordering schedule: after defining the

board specification from a menu of options, the unit price quotation

is delivered to the customer within two working days. From the date

on which the customer places its order, RapiDex will produce first article

boards (1-12 units) within four to eight weeks. Volume orders

(minimum order quantity: 100 units) follow Emerson standard turnaround

times, with forecasted orders fulfilled within eight weeks of

order date.

Low costs: Customers of the RapiDex service pay no NREs. A flat

production set-up fee plus unit costs pays for the first sample boards

(1-12 units). In volume production, the customer simply pays the

unit price as quoted at the start of the customer engagement. Unit

prices are very competitive, and are comparable with the prices of

equivalent standard products.

Straightforward terms: Since the customer does not pay for the provision

of a design service, it is not required to negotiate the complex

legal provisions that normally bedevil custom board engagements.

Using the RapiDex service is a simple two-step process:

1) The customer issues a purchase order for sample boards, based on

the customer choice from a menu of processor, memory, I/O and peripheral

options, at a flat cost plus the unit price of the boards.

2) The customer issues a purchase order for a production run (minimum

order quantity: 100 units). There is no need for a complex contract,

a statement of work, provision for penalties or clawback arrangements

in case production volumes fall short of expectations. The two

steps are not legally coupled: a customer who takes shipment of

sample boards has no obligation to order production volumes.

Conventional board customization services are slow, expensive and

unwieldy.

Innovative technology developed by Emerson Network Power, and

process improvement that has bridged the systems implementing

board design, materials supply and manufacturing, mean that the

RapiDex service is fast and affordable enough to be used by almost

any embedded OEM; the design requirements that govern the choice

between a standard board and the RapiDex service are outlined below.

In order to decide whether the RapiDex service is a suitable option, a

design team should ask the following three questions. Will the design

be significantly compromised by the selection of a standard embedded

motherboard? Could these design constraints be eliminated with an

optimal selection of memory, I/O, peripheral and connector specifications

and by specifying a rectangular form factor? Is the design

based on a current Intel embedded processor, such as the Intel Atom?

If the answer to all questions is yes, a motherboard sourced through

the RapiDex service should be considered. When specifying a board

through the RapiDex service, the OEM system designer will be given

the opportunity to select from a menu of options, as follows.

The RapiDex service follows the Intel embedded processor roadmap,

and currently supports the Atom embedded processors. Choose a

standard outline, such as COM Express, Mini-ITX or MicroATX.

Custom form factors can also be chosen by the customer. MicroSD,

PCI Express, COM Express Expansion slots options are available.

Specify the exact combination of I/O you require, from a range including

Ethernet, SATA/eSATA, HDMI, LVDS, USB 2.0 and CAN. A

wide range of options for internal connectors are available, including

USB, RS-232, LVDS and TPM 1.2. I/O connector options include

USB, HDMI, VGA, eSATA, and Mini DB-9. External connectors can

be routed to any point on the board edge. The process of engaging

15 March 2011


COTS

with Emerson Network Power for the supply

of an optimized embedded motherboard has

been designed for speed and simplicity. The

engagement starts with a meeting between an

Emerson Network Power representative (either

a technical sales executive of Emerson Network

Power, or a franchise representative from authorized

distributor powerBridge Computer).

At this meeting, the customer will specify the

board requirements, choosing from a wide

range of options supported by the RapiDex

service.

Within two business days, the customer will receive

a comprehensive quotation package. As

well as stating the guaranteed unit price for the

required production volume (minimum 100

units), the package includes a datasheet, a user

manual and a 3D rendering of the proposed

board configuration. This quotation package

confirms the specifications of the board that

Emerson Network Power will manufacture.

Within eight weeks (and potentially within as

little as four weeks) of receiving the purchase

order, Emerson Network Power will ship sample,

or first article, boards (1-12 units) for acceptance

testing by the customer. These boards

are produced according to the specification

laid down in the quotation package. Within

another eight weeks of receiving a forecasted

volume order, Emerson Network Power will

begin production shipments. (Volume orders

follow Emerson standard turn-around time.).

The process is simple and fast, and is similar

to the process of ordering a standard embedded

motherboard from a supplier catalogue.

The RapiDex service is the embedded motherboard

customization capability from the Embedded

Computing division of Emerson Network

Power. Emerson Network Power is itself

an operating unit of Emerson, a global manufacturing

company that produced $21bn in

revenues in the financial year 2009/10 from

products and services in fields such as process

management, industrial automation, distributed

power and appliances and motors. Emerson

is one of the leading manufacturing companies,

operating from 250 manufacturing locations

(165 outside the US). Emerson gained

730 patents in 2009, and invested $686m in

engineering and development. The Embedded

Computing division is a powerful force in important

embedded markets such as telecoms

and network equipment, military and aerospace

and process control. Standard products available

from Emerson Network Power include

ATCA blades and platforms, embedded motherboards

compliant with a variety of standards,

and power modules and bricks for use in

medium- and high-voltage applications. Emerson

Network Power is a Premier member of

the Intel Embedded Alliance. n

March 2011 16

Product News

n GE: rugged SBCs based on ‘Sandy Bridge’

processors

GE Intelligent Platforms announces two

new rugged single board computers based

on 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 ‘Sandy

Bridge’ processors. Both the XCR14 and

XVR 14 provide a choice of either dual- or

quad-core 2nd Generation Intel Core i7

processors operating at up to 2.5GHz, offering

a range of four performance/watt

options, and up to 16GBytes of soldered

DDR3 SDRAM with ECC.

News ID 13381

n Kontron: enhanced VPX/OpenVPX

ecosystem accelerates time-to-market

Kontron announced several additions to its

VPX/OpenVPX ecosystem including the Kontron

3U VPX PCI Express and Ethernet hybrid

switch VX3905, the Kontron 3U FMC carrier

board VX3830, the Kontron 3U XMC/PMC

carrier board VX3800 as well as OpenVPX

backplanes. With these building blocks, alongside

of the new VXFabric IP socket API for

data management, Kontron provides a comprehensive

VPX ecosystem. The focus of these

additions to Kontron’s VPX/OpenVPX ecosystem

surrounds the optimization of the data

plane in VPX/OpenVPX multiprocessor systems

and to relieve OEMs and developers

from the complex, low level hardware and

data management.

News ID 13335

n AMP: full frame rate H.264 video cards

for PC/104-Plus and mini PCI

Advanced Micro Peripherals has introduced

two H.264 frame grabber / video codec boards

for the PC/104-Plus and mini PCI markets -

both supporting 4 analog input channels with

full frame rate video acquisition at full resolution

NTSC / PAL image size. H.264 based

video codec technology offers significantly improved

compression and video quality at lower

bit rates and is quickly becoming the standard

of choice for new digital video recorder and

video streaming applications.

News ID 13229

n Curtiss-Wright: 48-Port 10GbE physical

layer switch port card

Curtiss-Wright has announced the availability

of its RT11000 48-port 10 Gigabit

Ethernet card designed for use with its

GLX4000 and SLX4000 physical layer switches.

Designed to maximize system switching

flexibility, the high port-count RT11000

enables users to economically scale their 10

GbE performance as their requirements

change.

News ID 13204


n MEN: PICMG CompactPCI Serial standard

release and product presentation

During Embedded World, the PICMG officially

released the new bus standard CompactPCI

Serial. MEN Mikro Elektronik together

with PICMG Europe and other PICMG

members uses this opportunity to present

CompactPCI Serial at the trade show and in

a press conference.

News ID 13227

n N.A.T. and Signalion: tunable RF module

in AMC form factor

Signalion and N.A.T. will show a tunable RF

module in AMC form factor, the AMC-SRRM,

at N.A.T.s booth on MWC2011. Signalion’s

Software Defined Radio Wide Range Radio

Frequency module AMC-SRRM combines a

complete tunable RF transceiver with digital

base band interface for realization of different

wireless communication systems.

News ID 13194

n Axiomtek: IP4X-rated standalone fanless

digital signage player

Axiomtek releases a stand alone robust IP4X

dust-proof digital signage player, the DSB-

300, featuring IP4X-rated enclosure, hardware

decoder, 1920 x 1080 resolution, and an Intel

AtomTM processor D525 1.8 GHz with 4GB

DDR3 system memory. With an IP4X-rated

dust proof enclosure that prevents dust and

dirt from entering the system, users can be assured

that the DSB-300 is durable and will

run smoothly without interruption.

News ID 13241

n Curtiss-Wright: Hybricon rugged fan

controllers for chassis management

Curtiss-Wright has announced the availability

of its new family of Hybricon rugged

intelligent fan controllers for chassis management.

These MIL-STD-461F, MIL-STD-

810G and MIL-STD-704F fan controllers

provide intelligent nodes for use in PMBusbased

chassis management systems, enabling

system designers to easily integrate system

fan monitor and control functions into a

Built-In-Test strategy for rugged air- and

conduction-cooled systems.

News ID 13196

n Schroff: rugged enhanced VPX systems

with upgradable cooling

Schroff has developed a family of rugged enhanced

VPX systems that satisfy VITA 48.2.

The Titan series consists of a modular case

with a suitable backplane and upgradable cooling

solutions and allows subsequent expansion

and/or upgrading of the systems. The systems

are also flexible in terms of dimensions, the

cooling solution and the EMC and IP protection.

The housing of the rugged enhanced

VPX systems is constructed from separate alu-

COTS

minium parts. Different aluminium alloys can

be used according to customer specification

(EN AW6062, 6082, 7075, etc.). A variety of

finishes are also available: black anodised,

nickel-plated, yellow chromated etc.

News ID 13290

n Emerson: OpenVPX SBCs feature 2nd

generation Intel Core processors

At Embedded World, Emerson released its

first OpenVPX single board computers to

provide excellent performance, power efficiency,

graphics, memory and I/O for high bandwidth

military/aerospace, first responder and

rugged industrial applications such as mining.

The 6U iVPX7220 and 3U iVPX7223 boards

feature the dual-core 2.20 GHz Intel Core i7

2655LE processor with integrated graphics

and memory controller, and the Intel QM67

PCH chipset for advanced I/O functionality.

News ID 13372

n Bicker: ATX DC converter for fanless

box computers

The ATX DC converter DC80W by Bicker

Elektronik is extremely small, very slim and

thus space-saving. The unit has been especially

developed for installation in closed and fanless

box computers. At 12VDC input voltage this

converter supplies output voltages of +3.3volts,

+5volts, +12volts and -12volts. It is further

provided with a standby output of 5Vsb. Despite

its small dimensions of only 146 x 28 x

22 mm3 and a (net) weight of 0.12kg the converter

supplies up to 80watts performance.

News ID 13260

n Seco and Arrow Electronics sign

distribution agreement

Arrow Electronics has reached an agreement

for the entire EMEA region with the Italian embedded

products manufacturer Seco. Seco, which

has been active in the market for 31 years and is

headquartered in Arezzo, manufactures singleboard

computers and computer on-modules.

News ID 13242

n powerBridge: rapid board customization

program

To address the need for optimized board designs

when a COTS board is not suitable,

Emerson Network Power introduces the new

RapiDex service, a rapid board customization

program that allows OEMs to specify the Intel

embedded processor, I/O, connector and other

options within a standard or custom board

form factor. For many designs, the choice of

standard computing platforms is adequate.

The design team can find a standard part that

best fits the desired specification from the

COTS embedded motherboard market. In

many instances, this ‘best fit’ is a good enough

fit; however, it is rarely a perfect fit.

News ID 13342

17 March 2011


COTS

Enhanced vector graphics and S-RIO

boost Intel in DSP applications

By Ian Stalker, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing

The introduction of the new

Intel Core i7-2715QE

next-generation quad-core

processor with the new AVX

processing unit means

the design of x86-based

embedded military digital

signal processing (DSP)

systems can take

a great leap forward.

n The new Intel Core i7-2715QE processor,

which is faster and more power efficient than

its previous generation, also features the new

256-bit wide Intel Advanced Vector Extensions

(AVX) floating-point instructions. DSP algorithms

rely heavily on the throughput of vector

instructions and so will benefit greatly. Before

the introduction of Intel AVX, vectorized signal

processing functions were limited to 128-bits.

Of equal interest to signal processing system

designers is the fact that with this platform,

Serial RapidIO (S-RIO), the preferred fabric

for the types of processor-to-processor communications

required by demanding DSP

systems, is now for the first time supported,

thanks to the upcoming IDT PCIe Gen2 to

S-RIO Gen2 protocol conversion bridging

semiconductor products. This brings S-RIO,

the fabric of choice, well supported by the

OpenVPX/VITA 65 standard, to Intel-based

open architecture system designs.

Now the latest x86 processor can be used in a

RapidIO based network, supporting reliable

packet transmission, any architecture, while

also delivering low and predictable latencies

and providing the benefits of RapidIO messaging

which are ideal for large peer-to-peer

clusters of processors used in complex signal

processing applications. For embedded DSP

designers, the most recent Intel micro-architecture

(codenamed micro-architecture Sandy

Bridge) further establishes the x86 architecture

as the leading candidate for the most demanding

compute-intensive multiprocessor systems.

The Intel quad-core processor boasts numerous

micro-architecture enhancements and design

features over previous Intel processors. For example,

the new processor is faster at the same

clock speeds as earlier processors, because of

its more sophisticated caching and branch prediction.

This platform also delivers quad-core

processing with power levels that match the

stringent requirements of rugged embedded

military environments: 4 cores at 45 watts.

But the single greatest improvement for DSP

system performance delivered by the latest

Intel platform is the new AVX processing unit.

In recent years Intel has demonstrated its ongoing

commitment to high-performance vectorized

processing by investing in continual

enhancements to the AVX predecessor, Intel

Streaming SIMD Extensions (Intel SSE), a 128bit

wide processing unit capable of simultaneously

operating on four 32-bit floating-point

values. Intel SSE also featured support for

double-precision floating point, a feature that

was not available in AltiVec. In Intel multicore

processors each core was given its own SSE

unit, so the raw floating-point performance

scaled with the number of cores. In the new

platform Intel has upgraded the SSE approach

with AVX, doubling the size to 256-bits wide.

This doubling of vector processing performance

is a significant milestone in DSP system design.

March 2011 18

DSP algorithms used in critical military applications

such as radar, SIGINT, and image processing,

depend on the precision achieved with

floating point numbers along with speed of

processing. The new Intel Core i7 effectively

doubles that performance over previous approaches.

For typical size 1D and 2D FFTs the

improvement gained by AVX is in the 1.5 to

2X range (approximately) over SSE. The AVX

instruction set was designed to support future

extensions, which hints at wider implementations

in the future.

Further helping to establish Intel as the ideal

platform for DSP applications is the addition

of S-RIO support. For embedded and high

performance applications S-RIO as of yet has

no peer when it comes to multiprocessor

system processor-to-processor communications.

But prior to this generation of Core i7,

there was no support for S-RIO for Intel platforms,

which of course limited the viability of

Intel architecture use in DSP multiprocessor

systems. Solutions have been available to support

Infiniband, which is popular in the cluster

computing world but is not embraced in military

applications, and for Gigabit Ethernet.

For single board computers, where the requirement

is typically a single processor communicating

with I/O, these fabrics have been

sufficient. The lack of support for S-RIO, however,

deprived would-be Intel-based DSP system

designers of the ability to select the multi-


processor fabric of choice. The upcoming IDT

PCI Express (PCIe) Gen2 to S-RIO Gen2

bridge provides the first solution for S-RIO

support on Intel-based platforms. The new S-

RIO Gen 2 switches provide three times the

aggregate bandwidth and are twice as fast as

the earlier RapidIO 1.3 based switches per

port. The signaling rate increase is from 3.125

Gbps to Gen2 6.25 Gbps for switch ports, resulting

in 20 Gbps per second per port in the

switch fabric. The IDT bridge will provide a

mapping from PCIe Gen2 into this S-RIO

Gen2 based switch on board and into the

backplane. This bridge will support the two

main S-RIO transfer modes, memory-mapped

transfers and S-RIO messaging. S-RIO bridges

implemented in FPGAs do not support highperformance

messaging, a feature which directly

maps to higher-level software APIs such

as MPI. Another plus offered by the IDT

silicon is the inclusion of DMA engines that

speed computation while off-loading the host

processor. Intel processors typically do not

have DMA engines on-chip, but depend instead

on the peripheral chip to move data. Without

a DMA engine, moving data can require a

large amount of the host processor attention,

with the result that a multicore processor

might have one of its cores (and associated

power) largely consumed by moving data,

which is all the more burdensome because it

has to be done in code.

The IDT bridge is physically much smaller

and lower power than the 10 Gigabit Ethernet

(10 GbE) alternatives today, while being 1.6x

faster, which is great for SWaP-constrained

systems. For in-the-box processor-to-processor

connections, 10 GbE is over-featured, making

both the controller and switch chips larger

and slower than the equivalent S-RIO devices.

Moreover in a 10 GbE network, reliable endto-end

packet transmissions with reliable transport

could take several milliseconds.

Another advantage of S-RIO for space-constrained

military systems is the ability to support

all topologies,including either distributed

switch or centralized switch architectures. Distributed

switch systems (an example is the VITA

65 BPK6-CEN05-11.2.5-n backplane profile)

make use of the local S-RIO switch and thus

avoid the need for a separate switch card. For

example, if the system was using a ½ ATR short

enclosure (four 1” slots) this capability saves

25% of the space and a considerable amount of

power. For large systems, centralized switch architectures

are often preferred, and S-RIO is

COTS

equally adept at this approach. Many leading

vendors offer S-RIO switch card solutions. An

example of a high-performance DSP engine designed

to take full advantage of the latest offering

for Intel Core i7 is the new CHAMP-AV8 from

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing.

The CHAMP-AV8 is the first rugged, high-performance

OpenVPX DSP (digital signal processing)

engine based on the Intel Core i7-

2715QE. It also supports the upcoming IDT

Gen2 PCIe-to-S-RIO protocol conversion bridge.

The rugged CHAMP-AV8 pair of quad-core

processors delivers performance, rated at up to

269 GFLOPS. With the IDT bridge chip, the

CHAMP-AV8 supports Gen2 S-RIO and Gen2

PCIe interfaces, which enables it to deliver triple

the bandwidth of first-generation VPX products

with up to 240 Gbps of fabric performance,

thus ensuring that application performance can

scale commensurately with the much higher

CPU performance. The CHAMP-AV8 is supported

with an extensive suite of software including

support for Wind River VxWorks and

Linux operating environments. Additional software

support includes inter-processor communications

(IPC) and the Curtiss-Wright Control

Continuum Vector AVX-optimized signal

processing library. n


COTS

Designing and manufacturing rugged

COTS assemblies

By Herb Bethoney, GE Intelligent Platforms

For military embedded COTS

products, the designation

“rugged” requires board and

system vendors to consider a

host of variables - thermal,

mechanical and functional.

This article demonstrates how

cursory or superficial attention

to these details could have a

detrimental effect on product

reliability and performance.

n Rugged, when applied to computing devices,

can have many meanings. Often, it is no more

than a marketing word for “reliable” or “shockproof”

or “better than consumer grade”. In

the context of military embedded COTS computing,

rugged has – or should have – a very

specific meaning. Rugged military systems are

required to withstand extremes of temperature,

shock, vibration, particle ingress, and so on:

their failure to do so will often be, literally, a

matter of life and death. So: what are the characteristics

of truly rugged embedded COTS

boards?

A key aspect of a rugged COTS board that

may be deployed in a tank, helicopter or submarine

is that it will likely be deployed in a

confined, hard-to-cool space – so it must run

as cool as possible. Thermal analysis is a generic

term covering a range of design tasks associated

with the thermal behaviour of a system or

board, its components and its cooling configuration.

This analysis includes consideration

of heat conduction, air convection and thermal

radiation in all three dimensions to identify

hot spots and high-power components on the

board (figure 1). Typical solutions to manage

thermal characteristics of a board include the

addition of heat sinks, thermal pads and thermal

vias, thicker ground or power planes and

relocation of key components closer to the

board edge to optimize the thermal interface.

Thermal management techniques have evolved

and improved significantly over the last few

years from through-hole components, to surface-mount

technology (SMT), to the incorporation

of full-size aluminium heat plates,

copper layers and advanced thermal shunts. A

modern rugged board should stand up to a

rigorous review of its thermal characteristics

and performance. The following considerations

can serve as a guide.

The path from the exterior case into the printed

circuit board (PCB) is through its mounting

features. These may be leads soldered into

holes or surface-mount solder pads. On highpower

components, special attachments (conductive,

adhesive or soldering to case) may be

made to decrease the thermal resistance between

the component and PCB. The placement

of a component on any PCB determines the

conductive distance to cooler heat sinks. This

may be critical due to the high relative conductive

resistance which may occur through

thin (.002”) thermal planes. High-power components

should be placed close to heat sinks

when possible.

Plated-through holes under components provide

a direct heat conduction path through

gold and copper to large thermal planes inside

the PCB. For high power components, as

many vias as possible should be put under

March 2011 20

Figure 1. The purpose of

thermal analysis at the board

level is to identify hot spots.

the component. PCB internal solid copper

thermal layers are one of the primary routes

of heat flow through circuit cards. Two layers

of copper almost the full height and width of

each card carry heat from vias under components

to larger vias which connect to surface

copper/gold pads. For processors, another

conductive path is added from the top of

high-power components through flexible gap

pads and onto the inside of the aluminium

heat sink.

Items between the surfaces of the PCBs and

the chassis are aluminium, which conducts

heat well. However, there are multiple interfaces

in any given heat flow path. Under vacuum,

these interfaces increase thermal resistance as

a function of pressure and surface finish. Some

of the interfaces are from PCB to heat sink,

from heat sink to back plate, from back plate

to chassis ledge. Once the heat is at the inside

wall of the chassis it is easily distributed to top

and bottom due to the low resistance of the

aluminium.

Finite element analyses (FEA) and other calculations

should be used to help work through

the system-level thermal considerations (figure

2). It is important to establish an operational

assembly FEA steady state thermal analysis.

The first step of this analysis is a chassis-level

finite element model. 3D CAD geometry is


Figure 2. Thermal analysis needs to be undertaken at the system level. Figure 3. Mechanical reliability can affect electrical stability.

transferred to analyses design space and acts

as the basis for the analytical model. Other inputs

are power, ambient fluid temperature,

fluid type, fluid velocity, and chassis materials.

The results are rail temperatures (chassis surfaces

interfacing with circuit card assemblies).

The rail temperature results should be corrected

for thermal interfaces. Variables on thermal

interface resistance are surface area, clamping

force, surface finish, and fluid pressure.

Corrected rail temperatures are used as inputs

for a board-level computer-aided analysis.

Specifics of the PCB such as layer count, copper

coverage, copper thickness, via count, interface

areas should be input into this model. Specific

power locations must also be loaded, and the

results are board temperatures. Starting with

board temperatures, board-to-case and caseto-junction

temperatures should be added to

obtain junction operating temperatures. This

is compared to vendor-published operating

maximums. These temperatures are also used

in MTBF and FMEA calculations. To survive

severe levels of shock and vibration, mechanical

integrity of a board – its strength, lifetime me-

chanical reliability and electrical stability (figure

3) – must be considered by the mechanical engineering

designers from the early stages of its

design. Tighter rules in PCB design, such as

sub-nanosecond timing budgets, microvias,

fine pitch BGAs and high lead count devices,

make mechanical integrity an increasingly important,

and difficult, challenge for rugged

boards.

As a card flexes under vibration, the normally

flat surface of the PCB curves, stressing the

leads of the ICs until eventually the joints fail.

Fortunately, the buried thermal vias and thermal

layers in the PCB, incorporated as features to

improve power dissipation, also increase PCB

rigidity. The mechanical integrity of solder

joint interconnects in PCB assemblies, as well

as solderability, also needs to be addressed.

A stiffening frame can be used to provide additional

rigidity, although the frame does add

extra weight. During PCB manufacture, the

individual PCB layers are pressed together

using a high pressure and temperature lamination

process. Selection of PCB substrates

COTS

must consider the mechanical durability of

the chosen material to withstand these manufacturing

processes, as well as the PCB lifecycle

deployment. The mechanical engineering design

team often uses mechanical design software

and finite element analysis (FEA) to ensure

the final product’s mechanical integrity has

been thoroughly simulated and characterized.

Knowledge of anti-fungal, non-outgassing materials

is critical in saving time in research;

thereby reducing design time. Special consideration

must be given if a system is to be fully

sealed or to have features for condensation

drainage. Chassis design and joint construction

should assure EMI protection, and use of conductive

gaskets or extra bends in line-of-sight

at joints is critical. Understanding where and

when to use proper military connectors is essential.

Internal connectors are always fastened

securely and strain relieved. One of the trickiest

portions of any rugged package is the harnesses,

especially the trade-offs of signal count maximization

versus routing, volume, weight, and

assembly issues. Strain relieving must always

be taken into account.


COTS

Figure 4. Appropriate choice of fasteners is essential.

Figure 5. The ability to withstand shock and vibration is key to rugged embedded computing

systems.

Proper choice of fasteners (figure 4) assures

components and subassemblies stay put during

structural testing and provide proper grip

forces for thermal interfaces. Design engineers

should be familiar with machining processes

and create designs based on cost/lead time/precision/quantity.

A lot of thought should be

put into how the sub- and top assemblies will

go together. Assembly instructions provide

formal documentation of the processes. Features

ought to be incorporated into the system

to allow for ease of maintenance.

The most important part of the structural

analysis/design is avoiding resonant coupling

(figure 5) between the chassis and the circuit

card assemblies. Resonant coupling occurs

when the natural frequencies of two objects

fastened together are close. Extreme amplifications

can occur in the system. In an electronic

system, the items usually at highest risk are

solder joints. To avoid resonant coupling, 3D

CAD models should be fixed as they will be in

operation, and natural frequency analysis done

March 2011 22

on chassis and circuit card assemblies. Industry

experience suggests a 2-octave separation between

the circuit card assembly and the chassis

in their first mode. Through design changes,

the chassis, and potentially the circuit card,

can be modified to change stiffness and thereby

the associated natural frequency. Vibration

and shock profiles should be input into the

FEA solver. Results of the natural frequency

analyses described must also be input into the

analysis. Results from these analyses are stresses

in parts and deflection amplitudes. Stresses

should be checked (with proper factor of

safety) against material property data. Component

deflections from the above analysis

are compared to acceptable deflections using

Steinberg equations.

Ensuring the functional integrity of rugged

equipment is really the acid test for a board

destined for demanding military applications.

Does the product perform its intended function

under all conditions? Calibrating submarine

sonar at 500 fathoms and 200 miles from


shore is no time to learn that the equipment

you thought was rugged doesn’t work. Ensuring

the functional integrity of a rugged product

requires extensive up-front analysis, coupled

with an investigative attitude trying to think

of ways a product can fail and then implementing

corrective actions to ensure it does

not happen. Has the product been tested for

cold-starts? hot starts? in high humidity? Have

sufficient design tolerances been applied? Does

it demonstrate frequency stability over all temperatures?

In short, will the card work reliably,

in all circumstances, throughout its lifecycle?

Test plans must be approved by the customer

n Axiomtek: IEC 61850-3 and IEEE 1613

compliant Ethernet switch

Axiomtek introduced iCON-47000 8-port

10/100Base-TX unmanaged hardened Ethernet

switch, which fully complies with IEC 61850-3

and IEEE 1613 standards for electric utility

applications. The iCON-47000 comes with the

flexibility of four to eight 10/100Base-TX RJ-45

ports and two 100Base-FX ports.

News ID 13331

n Moxa: hardware-based IEEE 1588v2

Ethernet switches

Accurate timing and synchronization is essential

to achieving next-generation Smart Grids

technologies for the power industry. Moxa’s

PT-7728-PTP series switches, which support

the IEEE 1588v2 protocol with hardware time

stamping to deliver nanosecond-accurate synchronization

over Ethernet networks, are the

newest addition to the PowerTrans series of

IEC 61850-3 Ethernet switches.

News ID 13316

n Emerson: cost-effective 10G ATCA

switch blade

Emerson Network Power announced its latest

and most cost-effective 10G AdvancedT-

CA switch blade, the ATCA-F125. The architecture

of the ATCA-F125 is complementary

to the recently launched 40G ATCA

switch blade, the ATCA-F140, allowing a

common software environment to be used

for both. Offering multiple functional options

to optimize its use, the new switch

blade enables customers to maximize cost

effectiveness for a wide range of telecom

network and communications infrastructure

applications.

News ID 13189

Product News

COTS

prior to the specific test performance. Tests

should be conducted to verify compliance with

customer requirements, as well as to collect

test data to verify the accuracy of the design

under operating extremes. Each system should

be acceptance-tested prior to delivery. Each

deliverable module should be subjected to

configuration/workmanship inspections, functional

performance tests, and environmental

stress screening tests, conducted in accordance

with customer-specified test plans and procedures

in order to verify that each system operates

properly, meets workmanship standards,

and is ready for delivery. n

n Kontron: 64-core Cavium dual OCTEON II

40G ATCA packet processor blade

Kontron unveiled the 40GbE ATCA packet processor

blade AT8242 designed with two OCTEON

II cnMIPS64 multi-core processors from Cavium

Networks, each one integrating 32 enhanced cn-

MIPS64 v2 cores with up to 48GHz of 64-bit

computing power in a single chip. It also combines

over 85 L3-L7 application acceleration engines,

virtualization features, 100Gbps of connectivity,

and a new Real Time Power Optimizer that dynamically

adjusts power depending upon the application-level

processing requirement.

News ID 13252

n Interface Masters: 10GbE PCIe smart

network adapter

Interface Masters Technologies announced 10

Gigabit Ethernet Smart Network Adapters. The

Niagara 710 fully offloads secure network services,

packet classification and network protocols

processing from the host CPU to handle high

speed network traffic up to 10 Gbps. The Smart

Network Adapter comes in PCI-e form factor

and is targeted at Networking and Security

Appliances, Servers and Storage Systems.

News ID 13258

n Diamond Systems: I/O module provides

WiFi, Ethernet, USB and SSD expansion

Diamond Systems unveils the Corona multifunction

SUMIT-ISM I/O module, combining

WiFi, dual Ethernet, USB, and solid-state disk

expansion capabilities. The compact, rugged

module is engineered to meet the wide operating

temperature, high shock and vibration, and

mission-critical reliability requirements of fixed

and mobile application environments, whether

indoors or exposed to the elements.

News ID 13373

More information about each news is available on

www.Embedded-Control-Europe.com/bas-magazine

• You Y You

have to type yp in

the “News ID”. —

23 March 2011


INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING

Embedded Building Blocks – a new

initiative

By Siegfried Weigert, congatec

This article introduces

the Embedded Building Blocks

initiative, launched by

congatec in cooperation with

TQ-Group and apra-norm,

and under the auspices of

Intel Corporation, to make it

easier for small and mediumsized

businesses to

gain access to embedded

computer technology

and entry into the industrial

computer market.

n Life nowadays seems impossible without

computers. Anywhere we look we meet many

different kinds of computing devices. Some of

them are big and obvious like desktop PCs or

gaming consoles, while others are built into

specific machines in medical, household, or

industrial devices, or gadgets like smartphones.

Such systems, with a more or less hidden computing

function, are described as „embedded

systems“. Borderline cases of embedded systems

include industrial PCs. These are typically

general-purpose PCs, possibly modified, for

example made rugged for use in harsh environments,

or simply built of better components

to last longer than the expected three to four

years of a typical home or office computer.

This article focuses on high-performance computers

with dedicated applications for specific

purposes including industrial PC operation.

Mainstream PCs are built in high numbers

and are meant to be extremely flexible in their

daily use. They are typically available only for

a limited time window of six to twelve months

before being replaced by successors with newer

features and technology. Their primary value

lies in their general computing capabilities,

and their failure penalty is usually unavailability

until repair or replacement. With industrial

applications the situation is different. Most

embedded computers are only one part of an

overall solution, which means that failure here

will have more a more significant cost due to

the breakdown of an entire system or even

process chain. However as they are part of a

more complex solution, even simple changes

in the basic computing configuration may

result in consequences up to fatal function

disturbances.

That is why in medical applications a change

of hardware components is simply not allowed

without running through a tedious recertification

process. In many other applications, the

enduring availability of identical hardware is

as important as longevity. Further requirements

for industrial and embedded PCs are special

I/O interfaces and the support of specific realtime

operating systems. Here as well changes

in hardware can be fatal to functionality. Possible

solutions can be custom-designed embedded

hardware (which takes long and expensive

effort for design and test), or industrial

computers and expensive rack-based computer

systems with specific interfaces with the adequate

longevity.

Common industrial and mainstream PCs share

the benefits of low prices and quick availability

on demand. Distribution companies have built

up excellent logistic channels to provide their

customers with the required number of devices

quickly, no matter whether one or one thousand

pieces are needed. However this is only

March 2011 24

Figure 1. Computer-on-

Modules conzept of

the IBB initiative

true while these devices are still within their

specific availability window. Obviously purchasers

want the benefits of both worlds, meaning

the ability to buy high quality and highly

reliable embedded computers at mass prices

using channel logistics. Plus the comfort of a

long-lasting procurement availability period

of at least five to seven years.

One major problem here is to find a “one-fitsall”

concept which is flexible enough to enable

wide scalability for embedded demands. Another

is to find the know-how to achieve embedded

quality in a mass-production process.

These problems can only be solved by bringing

world-class companies with respective proofof-performance

together to jointly develop the

respective concept and technology. The basic

idea to implement the required flexibility and

scalability is the approach of dividing the computing

system into three hierarchical levels: a

Computer On Module (COM) as the basic

computing set; a baseboard with standardized

I/O peripheral support (e.g. I/O, mass storage,

etc.) to hold the COM; and a set of further expansion

cards (optional) for highly specialised

dedicated interfaces if required. Key to compatibility,

exchangeability and integration are

clearly defined and integrated hardware and

software interfaces, here COM Express and

MiniPCIe or PCI/PCIe featuring the PCI-Express

bus system. Blending the different blocks


Figure 2. Apra housing defined by the IBB initiative

into an easy-to-integrate, application-ready

platform also requires a robust, EMC-proof

housing and a selection of standard and realtime

operating systems to be pre-integrated.

COMs are not a new invention. They have

been going through a long evolution from the

early PC-104 boards to today’s state-of-theart

COM Express boards. COMs come with

many advantages. One major advantage is

their wide usability, resulting in high numbers

across companies and applications leading to

higher product maturity and lower prices per

unit. There are two major trends in the electronic

industry. The first is outsourcing everything

which is not the core competency of the

business. The second is the trend to modular

systems with application-ready platforms, enabling

shorter time-to-market cycles. Both

trends are emerging in the embedded industry

too, nevertheless time and effort must still be

spent to build a carrier board. Under the auspices

of Intel Corporation, and in cooperation

with TQ-Group and apra-norm, congatec AG

has launched the Embedded Building Blocks

initiative. This joint effort makes it easier for

small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)

to gain access to embedded computer technology

and entry into the industrial computer

market. As a best-fit-approach for SMEs, and

to support a wide variety of computer platforms

without need for a fan, TQ Systems

have chosen to start their part of the Embedded

Building blocks initiative with a new motherboard

based on the well-established mini- ITX

form factor. A specific feature of this baseboard

is an upside-down integration of the supporting

COM boards, to enable direct thermal coupling

with standard mini-ITX enclosures. To be even

more flexible and to share the interface world

with conventional mainstream and industrial

INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING

PCs, TQ-Group has designed a revolutionary

new riser card concept (patent pending). With

this adapter traditional standard PCI and PCIe

cards can be added to expand the system if

necessary (see figure 2). Standard features of

the baseboard include standard I/Os like 4x

USB 2.0, 2x Gigabit Ethernet, DVI and RS-

232, with SATA, CompactFlash and CFast slots

available for internal mass storage. A mini-

PCIe interface has been integrated to allow

flexible expansion. In case that is not enough,

a proprietary I/O interface is available that offers

additional USB, PCIe x1, High Definition

Audio, Siemens VDO and I²C interface extensions.

This allows designers to implement, for

example, an additional DVI-I interface or field

buses such as CAN in applications or industry-specific

add-in boards. A seamless integrated

heat-spreader and apra-norm’s highquality,

robust and EMC-proven enclosure

complete the Embedded Building Blocks to a

high-quality overall solution.

SMEs can now focus on their core competencies,

which are not usually computer hardware

development and debugging. The latest computing

and memory interfacing technology is

indeed overburdening even sophisticated development

departments. Expensive upgrading

of development tools and production equipment

will not pay off for most companies

building their own hardware. Outsourcing the

“tough” part is a logical first step, as the strong

rise of COMs over recent years shows. Other

reasons to build own proprietary hardware

have been the demands for adequate quality

and the downsizing of designs to the absolute

necessary feature minimum for cost reasons.

The Embedded Building Blocks initiative addresses

these issues also. Using the highest

level of chip integration offers a rich feature

25 March 2011


INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING

Figure 3. Computer-on-Module with assembled back side

set on the COM device without extra cost,

and the quality and longevity of the featured

embedded building blocks exceed common

industry standards by far. As opposed to many

other vendors, congatec AG’s development effort

has been focused on computing modules

(COMs) since its incorporation. This knowledge

has been vital for the capability to deliver

mainstream numbers of designed-in-Germany

embedded computing modules with their

excellent quality and reliability.

Traditional users of embedded systems can

drastically decrease their development effort

and reduce their time-to-market by using the

modular and widely scalable concept of the

Embedded Building Block initiative. Figure 3

shows the wide range of congatec AG’s COM

Express modules, featuring long-availability

embedded processors from Intel Intel® Atom

up to the recently-announced second generation

i7TM. Thorough integration of all building

blocks provides the developer with an application-ready

platform. Availability of multipleproject

proven hardware from the beginning

significantly reduces software development

and total development times and simplifies

debugging. The high flexibility of baseboard

and COM blocks enables large numbers of

boards and applications already in an early

stage of the lifecycle, resulting in highest maturity

and quality. With the patented riser concept,

customer-specific hardware expansions

can now be added via traditional PCI/PCIe or

mini-PCIe cards without changing the basic

platform. With successful projects, once the

necessary volume has been reached, standard

baseboards can be switched at a later stage

against custom baseboards with inbuilt extensions

functionality for maximum efficiency.

The same applies for the enclosure. Off-theshelf

enclosure blocks from apra-net can be

used for instant availability of prototypes and

small to medium production quantities. For

mass-production and specific requests custom

enclosures can be tailored without hassle at

the commercially right point in time. The possibility

of upgrading an application by a simple

change of compatible COMs endows SME

March 2011 26

customers with a rich choice of variants and

upgrade paths at virtually no cost, with all the

other embedded blocks being reused unchanged.

All COMs and baseboards come with a five to

seven years availability, which may be even further

extended by upgrading the respective embedded

system with backward-compatible modules

once a COM has come to the end of its

life. The use of standardized Embedded Building

Blocks available through channel distribution

highly simplifies procurement and lifecycle

management. This reduces maintenance effort

and total cost of ownership significantly. Instant

availability of application-ready embedded platforms

which will stay on the market for many

years without changes clearly reduces project

risks. So with Embedded Building Blocks everybody

can take advantage of the current market

upturn and start embedded projects. Target

applications include virtually all possible industry

segments, in particular automation and

medical technologies, digital security, digital

signage and even retail business.

Scalable Embedded Building Blocks will create

a new trend in embedded computing. Bringing

the trends in outsourcing and applicationready

platforms together results in significant

cost and time-to-market benefits. For current

users of industrial PCs and mainstream PCs,

the upgrade is easy: they simply replace their

current platforms with complete, ready-to-use

and easy-to-configure Embedded Building

Block platforms. Benefits are highest quality

and perfect scalability at a typically significant

smaller form factor and with fanless operation.

Long availability and higher robustness reduce

maintenance risk and total cost of ownership

considerably. This makes Embedded Building

Block computers a perfect fit for system integrators,

opening an easy entry to embedded

technology and projects. Up-to-date fanless

COM technologies enable easy transition to

battery-buffered and mobile applications and

open further business opportunities. n

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Digital signage display systems

with integrated control computer

By Christian Lang, DSM Computer

DSM Computer GmbH and

the display specialist ABLE

Design GmbH have merged after

many years of close cooperation.

With the integration of ABLE

Design, DSM Computer

strengthens its core competency

in the industrial public display

systems area, and can offer

complete solutions for

industrial process visualization

and professional digital

signage systems.

n The intensive cooperation of both companies in the

past months has already allowed the first jointly-developed

innovations to be presented.The new ABLE

public displays from DSM Computer are currently

available in four variants with screen diagonal sizes of

140 cm (55 inch), 119 cm (47 inch), 107 cm (42 inch)

and 81 cm (32 inch). As an option, the professional

display systems are offered with an integrated industrial

PC or as monitor version with an analog/digital video

interface. The industrial TFT displays have an anti-reflection

screen made of laminated safety glass or optionally

a single-layer hardened safety glass, and are

well-suited for both indoor and outdoor applications.

The 140 cm diagonal display provides a typical brightness

of up to 700 cd/m² (in front of the filter), while

the three smaller variants provide a maximum brightness

of 500 cd/m². The high brightness and the large viewing

angle of typically 176 degrees make the display systems

suitable for daylight applications. The high-quality displays

are characterized with a full HD resolution of

1920 x 1080 pixels. Depending on the model, the maximum

contrast is 6000:1. An integrated brightness sensor

adapts the backlight illumination to the ambient light.

On request, the display systems are also available with

sunlight-conform panels for outdoor deployment. The

ABLE public displays can be delivered in three different

variants. Fans are installed in the standard version, although

the range also offers fanless systems as an

option. Furthermore, models that satisfy the IP54

degree of protection and are specially designed for outdoor

applications are available. All four displays with a

modular construction and a robust metal housing are

conceived for deployment in the industrial environment.

The systems can be delivered with a powder-coated

surface in various RAL colors or also as a stainless-steel

variant. An interface cover prevents unauthorized access

to connections for applications in the public sphere.

The display system can be optionally equipped with intelligent

heating for operation in temperatures as low

as -20°C. On request, the display system is available

with an integrated audio amplifier (2 x 15 W) and a

WLAN connection or a GPRS/GSM connection.

The application areas of the large-area ABLE public

display systems are extremely wide-ranging. In addition

to sophisticated digital signage applications, the display

systems can serve as multimedia terminals, video-conference

systems, information and advertising displays.

The robust displays are also suitable for process visualization

in factory buildings. Industrial PCs from DSM’s

high-performance NanoServer family or robust Book-

Size family, or computers developed to customer specifications

for these applications, can be used as external

control computers for the ABLE public displays.

DSM produces all current and newly-introduced

products at its own production sites in Munich. ABLE

Design will continue as brand name for high-quality,

industrial display systems under the leadership of

DSM.The service for previously delivered displays will

also continue in the usual manner. To profit from the

many years of consulting and development expertise of

ABLE Design in the display technologies, interface solutions,

display controller and housing technology areas,

DSM has taken over all the ABLE Design employees. n

27 March 2011

DIGITAL SIGNAGE

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