White Papers

Product Reliability Builds on Robust Interconnect Solutions

February 23, 2015

Connectors play a critical role in electrical systems of just about any product we can imagine. For designers advances in connector design, materials, and manufacturing ensure availability of an interconnect solution well matched to each individual application.

The quality and reliability of interconnect directly influences system performance and reliability as a whole. Indeed, the selection of a suitable connector depends on a design’s performance requirements, configuration limitations, operating conditions, and working environment.

If connector selection is not given proper consideration, the entire application can be left exposed to performance and reliability breakdowns. In fact, today’s innovative connectors are high-precision pieces, carefully designed and manufactured using a variety of high-conductivity alloys, application specific platings and high temperature, high strength housing materials.

One of the main components of connectors and discrete interconnect systems is the pin receptacle. This article discusses the various ways that the pin receptacle can be used for myriad applications.

This White Paper brought to you by Mill-Max.

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Overcome the Challenges of Crafting a Customized Computer

February 18, 2015

Whether they're powering a map-sensor payload for a Global Hawk UAV or a man-pack radio system for a soldier on the move, custom computer solutions have to be small and lightweight. To meet these stringent demands, engineers have created a clever solution – modular embedded computing platforms that allow customers to design their own customized machines. Discover frou ways to use COM Express platforms to tackle the challenges in building rugged computing systems for extreme operations.

This White Paper brought to you by Acromag.

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FPGA Modules with an Integrated Processor Drive Real-Time Applications

February 18, 2015

Engineers developing DSP and high speed logic applications are now well-aware that FPGAs can help them create an integrated, sophisticated solution. The availability of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) FPGA boards can make these solutions viable and do so in reduced development times. Today, with systems architected to perform extremely time-critical tasks on a COTS FPGA module, the host CPU is often relegated to managing the flow of processed data to and from the FPGA module across a PCI-X bus, PCIe, Serial RapidIO, or other data interface. This data transfer is usually necessary because some processing or data storage activities are shared between the FPGA module and host CPU. Must these activities be shared? Could more processing and management of the data be performed in one place? If the application has high-speed requirements and more of the slower data management or calculation tasks can be lifted from the host CPU, then a COTS FPGA module with an integrated processor might be the solution.

This White Paper brought to you by Acromag.

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Introduction to VPX

February 18, 2015

VPX (also known as VITA 46) is the next generation of ruggedized compact embedded
systems. After years of VME systems dominating the military/aerospace field, users have finally reached the limit of available bandwidth on the VMEbus. VPX expands the possible bandwidth, compared to the traditional VME system, by replacing the parallel bus with high speed serial busses. Much as the desktop market is transitioning from PCI to PCIe, the VME standard has been transformed to embrace the new VPX standards. The serial busses offer higher data rates while using a fraction of routing resources. This allows the new VPX standard to focus more physical backplane resources on improving other design aspects such as supporting larger power draw and more User I/O.

This White Paper brought to you by Acromag.

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Should You Manufacture Your Product?

February 17, 2015

Thinking about whether to manufacture your product in-house (make) or to outsource it to a contract manufacturer (buy)? That make vs. buy decision is about cost and capacity, people and processes, expertise and equipment. It’s a decision that demands careful consideration of all of these factors and more. And because it will impact your business on strategic and operational levels for years to come, it’s a decision that cannot be taken lightly. Our white paper will lead you through some of the most critical — and complex — issues you’ll need to untangle to prevent headaches and ensure the best outcome.

This White Paper brought to you by Sparton.

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Avoiding Redesign: The Importance of Upfront Planning

February 5, 2015

When starting a new project, the people responsible for delivering that new product into the boardroom are under pressure. There are delivery dates, quality expectations, and the need to bring it in within budget. Because of these outside stresses, a metal component being developed to prove a concept is often not ready for a high-speed stamping press. If the end goal is not addressed early, a redesign is looming in the future. What constitutes the development of a precision metal part? What should an engineer responsible for a project be thinking in order to avoid delays and cost escalations? For this discussion we will focus on the photo-etching and forming process as the first step in prototyping a metal component. Photo-etching is a very quick and economical method that can hold good tolerances specific to light-gauge metals during the prototyping phase.

This White Paper brought to you by Orbel Corporation.

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Basic Elements of MIL-STD-704

February 2, 2015

Electronic systems designed for operation in a U.S. DoD aircraft must comply with MIL-STD-704, which defines certain parameters and characteristics the electric power in an aircraft must meet. To demonstrate compliance, these systems must pass comprehensive acceptance testing, measuring responses to a large set of events and conditions, including voltage transients, over- and under-frequency, over- and under-voltage and power transfer operations.

This white paper is not a primer on designing for MIL-STD-704 compliance but simply a high-level summary of what is covered by the standard, a first step in understanding its requirements.  The white paper supplies a summary of the standard and presents some ideas regarding ways to achieve compliant designs.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

Intel SBCs for Small to Mid-size ISR Applications

February 2, 2015

Learn how SBCs based on the latest Intel Core processors can support sophisticated ISR deployments in smaller platforms, from ground mobile radar to EO/IR on rotor aircraft.  This free white paper starts with a discussion of the design challenges faced by small platform ISR, contrasted with the traditional ISR processing approach of large 6U multiprocessor systems.  Then the new approach is examined, using Intel’s powerful multi-core processor family in a 3U OpenVPX form factor to build smaller, SWaP-optimized solutions.

The final section of the white paper presents details and performance specs on a sample 3U OpenVPX module, the Curtiss-Wright VPX3-1258, which is based on the quad-core Intel Core i7 (Haswell) processor.  A sample multi-module system configuration for ISR is included.

The detailed information in this white paper provides a foundation for understanding how designers can create processing systems that are physically small, cost-effective and support straightforward application development. SBCs based on the latest Intel Core processors are positioned to meet this need, with exploding processing power, Gen3 data bandwidth and configuration flexibility.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

Basic Elements of MIL-STD-461

February 2, 2015

Learn about the industry standard that establishes interface and verification requirements for the control of the electromagnetic interference (EMI) emission and susceptibility characteristics of electronic equipment and subsystems designed for the U.S. DoD.   This free white paper starts with an overview of EMI and EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) and then lists the complex set requirements defined by the standard.   Certain emissions apply to certain applications or certain types of platforms and a table shows each requirement’s applicability to various platform types.

The final section discusses design considerations related to creating MIL-STD-461 compliant systems.  The control of EMI is an art and science that seeks to prevent the various interdependent and independent electronic systems on military platforms from interfering with each other’s normal operation.   This white paper provides an introduction to the topic.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

Tackling Defense Apps by Harnessing the Intel Core i7’s Integrated GPU

February 2, 2015

Learn about the integrated, on-chip Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) within a new generation of Intel x86 architecture chips and where they offer significant advantages to Defense applications.  This free white paper starts with a discussion of the original graphics rendering intent of GPUs and how their use has expanded into floating point math acceleration for a multitude of commercial and defense related high performance compute applications.   This is followed by a comparison of GPU functionality to math acceleration using FPGAs and SIMD units.

The white paper continues with a discussion Intel’s new designs which integrate a GPU within multi-core processor silicon and the advantages this approach brings to SWaP-constrained and security-sensitive defense applications.  The final section of the white paper presents details and performance specs on a sample implementation, the Curtiss-Wright CHAMP-AV9 6U OpenVPX DSP module, which brings two Core i7 processors, with integrated GPUs, onto a single PCB.

The detailed information in this white paper helps system designers compare GPUs to other processing elements and evaluate the advantages of integrated GPUs for SWaP savings, high performance, low latency and enhanced security.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

Video Management Systems Support Services

February 2, 2015

Traditionally there has been a difference between the product support models provided by mission equipment manufacturers and the requirements for aircraft fleet maintenance and equipment certification. Aircraft mission equipment life time cycles are longer than standard commercial product life times.

The integration of different products from multiple suppliers, can often lead to problems with connectivity and functional inconsistencies. This is a common problem attributed to mismatches between different suppliers’ documentation details and product functions. End user training is a common program requirement; this is expensive to provide if a training course has to be created by an installer, solely for any particular program. Some programs require complete control or visibility over the internal build configuration of all units being fitted to the aircraft.

Curtiss-Wright Video Management System (VMS) support services resolves these issues, making it easier for mission equipment installers to work with our products.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

Scalable Standards for Mil-Aero Design

January 28, 2015

 Intel® processor-based commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware is being deployed everywhere from handheld devices to high-performance computing centers. Find out why, and how to take advantage of this trend.

This Whitepaper brought to you by Intel.

NVIDIA’s Tegra K1: A Game-Changer for Rugged Embedded Computing

January 26, 2015

Many applications that could have benefited from GPU technology were prevented from doing so by SWaP constraints. NVIDIA®’s Tegra® K1 changes that.

This White Paper brought to you by GE Intelligent Platforms.

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Analog Input Performance of VPX3-530

January 1, 2015

Designers working on a mixed-signal application need to evaluate system components based on their fit with a specific situation; there are always technical tradeoffs to be considered.  This white paper provides detailed information on the VPX3-530, a 3U OpenVPX transceiver card that combines a Virtex-7 FPGA with a pair of Texas Instrument ADC12D2000RF ADCs and a pair of Analog Devices’ AD9129 DACs.

The paper provides the typical (measured) performance of the analog inputs of the VPX3-530, what the advantages are of various modes and how well they compare with the formal device datasheets. The white paper then proceeds to give an insight to the true performance of the VPX3-530 in order for the developer to make reasoned decisions as to whether the VPX3-530 will meet application requirements and which configuration would be most effective for a particular application.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

It is easy to design a complex rugged system – once you know how!

January 1, 2015

Have you ever watched a skilled craftsman glass-blowing, stone carving or even building a wall and thought – “They make that look easy!” No false starts, an economy of movement and a perfect piece every time? Although we don’t assume we can pick up tools and create a masterpiece on our first attempt, this level of accuracy takes practice and dedication with, no doubt, many mistakes along the way to reach the pinnacle of achievement.

Keeping this in mind, the parallels with designing complex rugged systems are not that hard to imagine. Rugged system design requires extensive technical knowledge across multiple engineering disciplines and the ability to clearly grasp the trade-offs between design disciplines, for example between hardware and software. Add to this the extra dimensions of performance, size, weight, power demands, ruggedization and cost. This can be extremely difficult to achieve by functionally siloed engineering teams. Read more.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

Flexible D2D Chassis Reduce Costs & Simplify Schedules

January 1, 2015

Because requirements change and designs evolve as a program moves from development to demonstration and, finally, deployment, programs typically pay, in full, for new chassis technology at each phase.  Now there is another option; Development to Deployment (D2D) Chassis are designed to be easily configured and reconfigured for the development phase, demonstration phase and deployment phase. They minimize both the overall program cost of chassis acquisition and total amount of hardware that has to be acquired.

In the white paper is a detailed description focusing on reuse and flexibility.  By reusing most of the chassis components for all phases, and only replacing or adding pieces as needed, overall program costs are sharply reduced.  Flexibility comes from fans and power supplies, that are swapped out to transition from Commercial to Mil Standard, and from removable top/bottom ‘hats’ that are added for cable routing after the development stage. 

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

ARM Processors Define a New Era for Defense & Aerospace Embedded Computing

January 1, 2015

Today’s complex Aerospace and Defense applications demand embedded computing systems that not only meet unique SWaP constraints but also satisfy cost limits imposed by program budgets.   Now a new processing option is available, driven by the exploding commercial market for mobile devices. The ARM architecture delivers performance that meets the needs of many applications, especially mission computing, while also offering the low cost, low power characteristics driven by the mobile market.

This white paper introduces Advanced RISC Machine (ARM) processor technology, which is based on 32-bit RISC (Reduction Instruction Set Computing) architecture, and compares the simplified nature of ARM-based processors with the complexity of Intel’s x86 processors.    The paper then discusses how ARM-based processors can be used in low power, SWaP optimized designs, with the added benefits of low cost, high data integrity and enhanced security technology.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

New! High-Speed Switched Serial Fabrics Improve System Design

December 23, 2014

Recently updated, this handbook reviews the development of gigabit switched serial fabrics to enhance the VMEbus and PMC mezzanines; the role of FPGAs to implement this technology; and finally, how some of the latest VXS, XMC and VPX products can be used in high-speed data acquisition, recording and software radio systems.

This White Paper brought to you by Pentek.

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Epoxies for Space Applications

December 19, 2014

Adhesives in space applications are subject to high vacuum and extreme temperatures, making adhesive choice a critical design consideration. Learn how low outgassing epoxies satisfy these stringent conditions ensuring reliable space applications.

This White Paper brought to you by Master Bond.

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OpenVPX Chassis Thermal Management: Dangerous Myths and Analytical Tools

December 3, 2014

The Defense and Aerospace rugged systems market demands a wide range of computing capabilities at extreme environmental conditions. Across the board, applications need more processing power and, inevitably, thermal management becomes more challenging as the amount of processing power grows.

The increase in thermal management challenges is also tied to the industry shift from VME implementations to OpenVPX. These new OpenVPX systems can be configured with an array of new processing elements, driving huge performance leaps relative to the VME system of just a few years ago. However, that new performance level brings with it a new design challenge – managing the equally huge leap in power use manifested as heat.

Certain myths and misconceptions can further complicate the issue for systems designers, while analytic tools exist to help efficiently address thermal management designs.   This white paper examines both the myths and the tools, providing a foundation for better understanding and better design decisions.

This White Paper brought to you by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

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Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2015
Volume 26, Issue 2

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