When the Going Gets Tough...

The theaters of operation for marine, air and land vehicles continue to redefine the term “rugged environment.” No longer bound by on-board human operators, autonomous and unmanned military vehicles are now free to operate within unparalleled temperature, vibration and shock regimes. The limitation on survivability of such vehicles is defined primarily by the robustness of their internal electronics. To meet these challenges, suppliers of hardened electronic systems must employ various ruggedization techniques.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Vibration, Durability, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment, Military vehicles and equipment, Off-highway vehicles and equipment

Flight Simulators Help Train Unmanned Aircraft Crews

L-3 Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) recently delivered six additional Predator Mission Aircrew Training Systems (PMATS) and associated support equipment to two U.S. Air Force installations and one Air National Guard site. Four units were delivered to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; one was delivered to Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; and one was delivered to the Syracuse Air National Guard at Hancock Field, N.Y. The systems support high-fidelity modeling of the Predator MQ-1 and Reaper MQ-9 unmanned aircraft.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Computer simulation, Education, Military aircraft, Unmanned aerial vehicles

New Wiring Technology Could Reduce EMI Susceptibility in Army Helicopters

Minnesota Wire’s R&D division, Minnovate, has been awarded a Phase One Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) for Aviation. The objective of the R&D project, titled “Lightweight EMI Resistant Wiring Solutions,” is to demonstrate and develop technologies that can reduce the electromagnetic interference (EMI) susceptibility and impact of both existing and future power wiring harnesses on Army helicopters.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electromagnetic compatibility, Wiring, Military aircraft, Rotary-wing aircraft

Low Noise Advances in RF & Microwave Signal Analysis Platforms

Spectrum measurements are essential to RF and microwave testing. The newer signal analyzers available today deliver performance far better than those of just a few years ago. The older classic swept spectrum analyzer is a super heterodyne downconverter, perhaps with a high band front end. This downconverter feeds a filter and then an amplitude or envelope detector. The detector produces a single-ended output proportional to the magnitude of the signal, and discards phase information.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Analysis methodologies, Radio equipment, Test equipment and instrumentation

Using Parallel Processing on GPUs to Accelerate Finite-Difference Time-Domain Algorithms for Electromagnetic and Seismic Applications

Many scientific, technical and engineering applications in finance, medical imaging, modeling, simulation, and image processing can benefit greatly from the floating point acceleration offered by modern general purpose graphics processing units (GPGPU). Today’s graphics processors have evolved into sophisticated, massively-parallel, highly-programmable compute engines ideally suited for algorithms with a high degree of data parallelism. Combined with modern parallel programming languages and application interfaces such as industry standard OpenCL™, GPGPU offers a new paradigm for high-performance computing (HPC).

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Mathematical models, Architecture, Displays

Using Multiprocessing in Industrial Automation Systems

Automated industrial control systems are an integral part of today’s manufacturing facilities. As these systems’ capabilities advance, the engineer shifts from someone who oversees processes to one who manages the data produced and functions performed by these systems to ensure product quality. Manufacturing systems need to be reliable, since downtime is an expensive alternative. Automation has reduced the number of people staffed at each facility so, if a system goes down, it’s probably not feasible for people to actually step in and move production along. If a system stops, so does production.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Systems engineering, Automation, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Productivity, Reliability

Using FPGAs for Automated Design Validation

In the design process, after the first prototype returns from fabrication, engineers often use traditional test equipment to make low-level measurements such as digital rise times, voltage thresholds, and leakage currents, and analog harmonic and spurious distortion, noise, and more. Once these parameters are verified to be within specification, higher-level attributes such as protocol compliance on digital devices and modulation parameters on communications devices are then checked. This gives the engineer a good understanding of how the device behaves, and whether or not that behavior allows the device to properly interact with the world around it. However, how can you guarantee that the device will continue to operate over time, with the myriad of permutations of device state, data content, and in the presence of non-ideal, real-world conditions? Who has the time to run all those tests?

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Integrated circuits, Automation, Quality assurance, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures