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2017-04- 4

Comprehensive know-how on site

In addition to its wide-ranging standard portfolio of embedded systems and industrial computers, MSC Technologies has been specializing in customer-specific solutions for the industry. Fast development and economical production of computers in Germany require mastery of the complexity of the entire system design.

Today more than ever, powerful industrial computers feature high individuality and flexible configurations. The customers’ expectations presuppose a wide range of standard products. However, for many applications, only adapted standard systems or customer-specifically developed computers are possible. In a custom design, for example, the interface type, the installation situation of the housing, or compliance with certain safety classes can be optimized. In order to be successful in the embedded market, the customized developments must also be feasible for projects with smaller quantities.

To keep the costs of the industrial computer optimized for the application reasonable, MSC Technologies builds, as far as possible, on predefined building blocks, which are based on the extensive range of modular standard products. The performance data of the various building blocks are scalable and they can be provided at short notice. Single components can be modified quickly if necessary. This requires mastery of the complexity of the entire system design.

For the development and production of embedded systems for the industry, MSC Technologies has been building up profound technical knowledge in its design centers and highly automated production sites here in Germany and can exhibit long-term experience. The MSC-owned plant in Freiburg has been expanded continuously so that the production can be flexibly adapted to the customer orders. For example, effective kanban cells are available for orders with smaller quantities. For higher volumes, the installed production lines are suitable. The product process adapts to the lot sizes, utilization, and product models. In many cases, the time between the order and the delivery of the first customer-optimized prototypes is less than three months. Made in Germany still stands for optimized embedded solutions and highest quality.

Prior to a standard or customer project, the individual requirements of the requested system are cleared in detail with the customer. This includes the exact description of the later tasks and application fields of the computer and the market-specific environment, e.g. which standards have to be complied with. Then, the performance data is specified as well as the necessary interfaces, power supply, housing, operating system, BIOS, and further defined characteristics. To be considered as well is the installation situation including the given environmental conditions such as temperature, shock, and vibration.

Beyond that, the economic key data plays a decisive role as well, e.g. time to market and budget. Today, customers expect ever shorter development and prototyping times even in the case of technically demanding products, to bring the system quickly on the market. Moreover, the robust industrial systems are to be easy to maintain in operation and work very reliably. In many applications, a long service life of the product between ten and twenty years is a prerequisite. In numerous fields of application, e.g. in rail vehicles or medical devices, long-term availability of the components used is required.

Having analyzed all project requirements, MSC Technologies draws up an optimized system concept. On the basis of the extensive range of already predefined and immediately usable components, the suitable solutions are chosen and a basic design is worked out. To get an idea of the product to be developed at an early stage, a 3D design study can be presented within a few days. It is possible to start with a standard PC as a functional model in parallel to the design with the functional test and adaption of the software. In the next step, a concept for heat management and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is drawn up. Optimization of the thermal design of the complete embedded system plays an important part since the component temperature directly influences the service life of the industrial computer. As rule of thumb it is assumed that the service life halves when the component temperature is increased by 10 K.

temperaturesimulationDuring the development phase, MSC Technologies uses a thermal simulation software for calculation of the temperature distributions within the housing. On the basis of the 3D draft, the temperatures and flows occurring in the system can be represented easily and clearly. Figure 2 shows the temperature simulation of an MSC Technologies computer. It is clear where in the system hot spots occur and it can be easily determined whether these are within the specified limits of the components. The thermal simulation allows for predicting with good precision the later temperature behavior in order to optimize already in advance the passive cooling and the ventilation concept.

Figure 3 shows a flow simulation in a closed PC housing. Thus, air flows can be visualized and optimized accordingly. The individual colors stand for different flow speeds in a level.

After the design review with the customer, the first prototype is built. Afterwards, during the verification phase, the functional test of the device is performed, which considers the interaction of all built-in components and the imposed requirements.

MSC Technologies measures in the climate cabinet the temperature behavior and limit temperatures of the computer. In addition to this, EMC tests and a test regarding the electrical safety are on the agenda. The EMC test comprises, among others, a measurement of the electromagnetic interference and noise radiation in accordance with the applicable European product standard for IT devices.

After the review of the pilot series, further temperature tests, function tests, and a CE final test follow. Approvals in accordance with CE, FCC, UL, EN 60601, etc. are performed in most of the projects. Moreover, the producibility of the system is checked. The completion is then the release for series production.

With its experienced team of developers, the available equipment, and its fully automatic production, MSC Technologies is capable of supplying customers quickly and reliably with the suitable solution. Since custom design means that the customer is involved in the entire development and prototype production process, it is ensured that the customized computer system is perfectly adapted to the customer application.

MSC Technologies

Contact: +49 (0)7249-910-0