Rugged Computing Devices For Embedded Applications

fastwelIf there is quite a distinction between conventional and rugged computing devices, it must be that their applications are in dissimilar fields. The former is widely used in offices, homes, and certain establishments while the latter is designed to be used in tough environments and conditions such as in military missions. Other factors to consider are that rugged devices are more costly to make and productivity is lessened as compared to their non-rugged counterparts. Given these facts, these devices have a low failure rate and a longer lifespan. Typical fields that require these types of devices are in agricultural, healthcare, field service, aviation services, public safety, naval safety, manufacturing, and the military service.

Currently there are eight types of the rugged embedded board:

MiniITX – a low-powered motherboard platform introduced into the market by VIA Technologies in the year 2001. These are in great demand due to its low power attributes and super small form factor. Most high-end MiniITX boards can accommodate both dual-core and quad-core processors.

MicroPC – intended for transportation management, industrial application, and municipal engineering automation system.

CompactPCI – Bound for mission critical standards, these boards are designated to aviation, avionics, factory automation, process control, transport control, telecommunications, and space applications.

3,5″ – touted as the most compact standard form factor for embedded SBCs. Consuming less power, these are mainly intended for simple basic computing.

VME – for time-critical and modular embedded applications. Mostly used in industrial automation, aviation, and space missions.

PC/104 – thought to be the most reliable boards for embedded applications. It packs a lot of features despite of its low cost. Enables developers to attach their video devices. Also used for global positioning with its embedded GLONASS/GPS module in which data can be transmitted via a cellular network.

EPIC – Also used for embedding tasks. Similar to PC/104 but can accommodate higher rated processors.

Computer-on-modules (COMs) – built as mezzanine cards to be attached on the baseboard of an embedded device. Allows developers to choose the settings desired for a certain task such as the CPU main speed and the read access memory (RAM) size to be used.


fastwel_logoFastwel has been developing and manufacturing these components for about 15 years. They provide SBC’s for mission-critical applications in transport, telecommunications, defense, security and the military.

Quoting from their site as follows:

Fastwel Priorities

Customer’s trust and convenience;
Wide range of form factors;
Long-term technical support and products availability;
3 years warranty;
Conformance to international standards;
Ability to manufacture RoHS compliant products.

Fastwel Activity

Developing and manufacturing industrial SBCs and modules for mission critical applications;
Contract manufacturing and standard products customization;
Full range of OEM and ODM service.

For more information about their products please visit the site by clicking on the link.



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