Give us your what – and we’ll show you our how

Sept. 13, 2017
As a child I was a bit obstinate at times, and often resented the fact my parents would tell me how I was to do a task. I didn’t mind, let’s say, washing the car - but I wanted the flexibility to figure exactly how best to do that on my own.

Historically, those of our customers looking to develop advanced systems for mission critical applications faced a flexibility compromise. They could take advantage of pre-built, pre-qualified systems from a COTS vendor like Abaco, but accept that it would not give them the flexibility they needed – especially in the area of I/O – for their intended application. I/O is often a real challenge when it comes to interfacing with legacy systems, or with the other systems that must be accommodated within the complete solution.

The alternative to compromising on I/O capability was to design, develop, manufacture, test and qualify the system in-house. That provided the required flexibility – but was hugely expensive in terms of NRE, and added significantly to lead times.

A better way

At Abaco, we knew there must be a better way – marrying the time and cost benefits of sourcing a pre-integrated, pre-qualified system with the benefits of the flexibility of in-house development. That’s why, today, we’re announcing perhaps the most exciting new concept we’ve launched in our 30+ year history.

Lightning is a modular, scalable platform, with complete, mission ready systems based on the platform available in a range of form factors depending on the SWaP requirements of the intended application. We design and build the system – whether for mission computing, or graphics/video computing or networking or a host of other applications - from off-the-shelf modules. 

390,625 I/O combinations

At the heart of that inbuilt modularity is the way in which Lightning implements I/O – in such a way that we can simply and cost-effectively accommodate almost any customer requirement. In fact: such is that flexibility that we can deliver no fewer than 390,625 different I/O combinations.

How do we do that? Lightning’s I/O takes advantage of our unique, patented Micro Mezzanine System (MMS). We describe it as “I/O built your way – any way you want it” because it opens up unprecedented configurability in a COTS system. 

At its heart are FPGA-based carrier cards on which up to four ECMs – Electrical Conversion Modules - can be configured. No fewer than 25 ECMs are available (and more are being developed), each delivering a specific I/O capability, that can be mixed and matched any way our customers require. That’s how we arrive at the 390,000+ combinations I mentioned earlier.

What we’re doing with Lightning is to provide our customers with all the functional advantages of an in-house developed system – but at a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time. Customers can simply tell us exactly what they want, and we can show them exactly how we can deliver it - cost-effectively and quickly. 

When it comes to the flexibility to do exactly what they want with mission ready systems, we believe our customers will no longer feel the frustration I felt as a kid.

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