Written by admin on January 9th, 2009
Anyplace you look these days computers are on the job making things easier and more efficient for the humans who run them. One of the problems faced, however, is that humans have a tendency to want to take their computers anywhere they go, including environments which are far harsher than most computer components are designed for. My desktop certainly won’t go into the desert gracefully, it has enough trouble with dust bunnies! Towards this end the industry of ruggedizing computer components for harsh travel and environments has taken root.
A VMEbus is a standard for a computer bus, which simply refers to how a computer passes information around various pieces of hardware. Depending on how the hardware is mounted in a rack or crate the VMEbus allows multiple IP cards to be plugged into a single system and data and computer instructions passed between the cards to accomplish computing tasks. This means that a VMEbus can range in size and complexity based on how many cards are needed in order to perform the needed tasks.
Keeping both of the above factors in mind it becomes easy to see why there would be a demand for a VME Chassis, particularly a ruggedized VME Chassis. A chassis is used to refer to housing for an object, in this case the VMEbus for large computer systems. When dealing with complex military systems, such as the Raytheon Missile Systems or any variety of control room functions, the VMEbus computing needs are significant. The VMEbus in these systems is large, tends to run hot and must function at all times. A ruggedized VME chassis provides a way to safely house the VMEbus and account for these needs. A VME chassis can be thermoelectrically cooled or heated to keep components at ideal temperatures, and the rugged VME chassis is resistant to environmental factors such as humidity and dust as well as resisting vibration and unit shock making it an ideal solution for military operations set up around the world.
Written by admin on November 5th, 2008
– Defining ‘rugged’, pros and cons.
COTS initiatives have created a bit of a conundrum for engineers specifying military hardware. Today’s displays for military, defense, and aerospace applications fall into four main categories.
These are true commercial-off-the-shelf products that can be purchased at any electronics store
Pro: Cheap and readily available
Con: Optimized for benign office environments only – not suitable for any harsh environment
These displays generally are internally the same as COTS products, but are repackaged with metal housings.
Pro: Offer some level of exterior protection
Con: Cost/performance ratio. Can cost 10X a COTS display with little increase in protection.
Typically these are not only externally repackaged, but are also internally improved to meet shock, vibration, thermal, and sealing specifications.
Pro: Offer good value for most applications that require rugged displays
Con: Specifications can vary greatly. Care should be taken when specifying to ensure the right ‘rugged’ characteristics are provided for the application.
MIL-spec and application-specific displays:
While the ‘glass’ used in displays is available only from a limited number of suppliers, often that is the only thing these have in common with their COTS cousins. These are generally built from scratch and designed and tested to specific MIL standards and/or for very specific customer applications.
Pro: Specifically optimized for individual applications ensuring optimal performance
Con: Cost. Low volume and high-level specialization has a big price.
Conclusion: “Rugged” means different things to different people. Know your desired performance and specify accordingly.
Written by admin on October 27th, 2008
The military can be an extremely dangerous place. How safe would America be if each soldier didn’t have the luxury of having military gear by his side? Does technology really put the advantage on our side?
The dawn of a new age is beginning and we have just begun to advance into greater spectrums of technology. As we begin to immerse ourselves into rugged materials, the more we see our military war fighters shaping into incredible hulks.
It’s important that we don’t neglect the fundamentals of what has made our military so strong. We must continue to step up in the fields of exploration, and carry on with the transformation of an army, its soldiers and its military gear. The army outdoorsman must be equipped with the latest and greatest of tactical materials.
Survival in the army has been enhanced with the wonders of military equipment. From ruggedized computers to tactical night goggles. Every soldier in the army has felt the blessing of advancement through this technological age. Let us walk down this same path that has made America’s army truly the best and continue to enhance the abilities of our military gear.