Connectivity across devices has grown significantly in recent years. Key players in the defense space can expect more accurate data collection, and mission effectiveness, while maintaining a high level of safety and security. This increase in connectivity also ensures research is more equipped to take place remotely and, in the field.

However, these applications and devices face significant challenges in harsh and demanding environmental conditions. Many Defense based applications are required to perform in all conditions, withstanding significant: altitudes, temperature ranges, exposure to liquid, shock and vibration and other environmental challenges like salt fog. When failure is simply not an option, devices and technologies must have the right level of development and protection to deliver under all conditions. This need for enhanced reliability is apparent when you consider the nature of many defense applications. Take a fixed or rotary wing aircraft’s Radar system for instance, although it is not pivotal for the operation of the aircraft, it requires a high level of reliability to ensure safety for the pilot and vehicle.

The significantly higher levels of connectivity have also set new expectations for what devices and applications can achieve. To account for these expectations, developers and manufacturers are required to implement more complex components and devices to support enhanced connectivity and further capabilities. More high-resolution sensors have created the need to be able to move far more data quickly and this has led to the use of higher bandwidth pipes which are present on VPX based systems. Whilst the environmental standards have remained constant, one of the biggest challenges with applications and devices is the power and power/density of modern plug-in cards. With significant improvements and developments in applications, we have seen a large power and performance step compared to, say, 10 years ago.  One example of this power development can be seen within Concurrent Technologies own VPX boards. If we were to compare the Legacy VPX SBC: TR 501/x6x with the more recent SBC: TR E8x/msd we can see a huge power and performance : a 1.8GHz TR 501/x6x would have 28.8 Single Precision GFLOPS, whereas a TR E86/msd at 2.4GHz provides 460 single precision GFLOPS.  Almost 16 times the performance

This is where the value of ruggedization becomes evident. Ruggedization is the process of designing or improving a device, to ensure strength and resistance from: environmental challenges, shock and vibration. In recent years it has become  a fundamental practice in the development of applications.

Concurrent Technologies develops and manufactures systems and devices for use in a number of markets that require ruggedization. To fully understand the necessity of ruggedization, it is important to establish some of the typical environmental challenges different applications may face in their lifecycle:

Aerospace Application Environmental Challenges:
  • Operation stimulated vibrations – significant variation based on vehicle type
  • Rapid pressure changes due to altitude
  • Significant speed and force
  • Extreme temperature ranges
Defense Application Environmental Challenges:

Land Based Vehicles/Applications:

  • Operation stimulated vibrations
  • Harsh environment and Terrain stimulated vibration
  • Shock from explosive devices and collision/impact
  • Extreme temperature ranges

Water Based Vehicles/Applications:

  • Operation stimulated vibrations
  • Salt, water, and weather-based corrosion
  • Pressure from submersion
  • Extreme temperature ranges / Humidity and Fog

 

Ruggedization provides many benefits to the application and end user. Firstly, ruggedization provides the users device with protection and longevity due to its robust nature. Having a ruggedized product in an application is guaranteed to ensure efficiency for a prolonged period of time; the life cycle of ruggedized products can be characterized so that they can be serviced or replaced before they fail. Compare this to a non-rugged product and you will see the evident benefit of ruggedization.  A non-rugged product may fail every time it is used.  Many applications, especially in the defense market, are highly risk averse, so ensuring a product is fit for purpose before use is essential for the end user, and will ensure a device works efficiently and effectively with no fear of short term failure. Although there are some key benefits to ruggedized products, there is one drawback with regards to initial design and manufacture. Due to the robust nature of the device, it has to be designed as a ruggedized product from the start. You can’t design a commercial product and then later make it rugged, meaning it needs to be considered from the get go. Furthermore, ruggedized products are put through a significant amount of testing to ensure the product is suitable and effective; meaning it can take a little while longer to get from the start of the design process to shipping of the solution.

Concurrent Technologies are experts in ruggedization; and the development and manufacture of products for use in critical embedded applications.  We have a number of key VPX™, VME and 3U CompactPCI® products that are designed specifically with ruggedization in mind.

Ruggedization is a big part of our process. We offer suitable products for increasing levels of operating temperature range, shock and vibration including three typical operating temperature ranges plus rugged variants. View our current ruggedization levels here.