Benefits of Standardization with Computer on ModulesBy Henk van Bremen, Product Director, ADLINK Technology Inc.
Until recently, most embedded OEM projects where based on unique designs for computers, Unusually shaped boards with uncommon and proprietary peripherals were built into the equipment that controlled and monitored system. All of the designs had one thing in common: the system cores where based on a CPU with system memory and a chipset to support most standard PC functions. The PC enabled the product to communicate with the real world and store system data. Each system was different and required individual support and debugging. Professionals all agree this problem is ready for standardization so the core can be reused.
Standard form factors such as ATX, SBCs where available; however their over-standardization and form factor limitations restricted their application. Only with the emergence of the Computer on Modules design some 7 years ago, was the right synergy achieved for successful large scale deployment in embedded OEM projects. The Computer on Module concept is still the only form factor today that allows OEM to standardize their system core while not giving up the possibility of achieving a fully unique product, with their custom-built carriers.
Benefits of Standardization
Some of the benefits of standardization are:
- Reduced cost. Mass production equals a better price performance ratio
- Improved quality. Mass production equals higher product quality
- Standard architectures (x86). Standardization allows re-use of hardware and requiring only software teams to develop new applications.
- Scalable and flexible. More module offerings can be applied to the same platform.
Outsourcing has become away of life in our Industry. The importance of product standardization, and open standards, has become very apparent. COM Express, the first, truly open, Computer on Module form factor, governed by PICMG, exhibits this concept. Open standards can be paired with a customer's propriety in-house designed carrier board to create a very unique product value.
Open standards are the basic requirements for the new trend in product design called "Collaborative Innovation". Collaborative Innovation is the answer to a customer's demand for closer cooperation with their ecosystem part- Benefits of Standardization with Computer on Modules By Henk van Bremen, Product Director, ADLINK Technology Inc. ners. Customers require Collaborative Innovation to achieve better design and production efficiency by acquiring improved product knowledge and support from their vendors. Tighter integration of people, skills, and knowledge are required, across company boundaries. Success is achieved by the consortium not the individual company.
The following key support areas are important for the successful completion of projects.
Starter kits are available for our ETXexpress line of products based on PICMG's COM Express form factor. A Starter Kit consists of an ETXexpress (COM Express) core module with an ATX size prototype carrier board that offers a multitude of expansion slots and communication interfaces. Embedded OS and BSP packages are also included.
Schematics Support and Review
As mentioned, detailed schematics of carrier board design and other design information such as a COM Express design guide are available to support customers in their own baseboard design.
Mechanical Design Support
Embedded designs are always about using the minimal amount of space so mechanical engineering is a key element of embedded design.
Thermal Solutions and Analysis
Early simulations of the thermal characteristics of design can avoid larger-scale problems in a later stage and is therefore a big cost and time saver. The module manufacturer is the one who has most of the data and can provide assistance.
Product Longevity and Revision Control
Critical for embedded applications is product longevity. This achieved by using components from the embedded roadmaps of strategic suppliers.