congatec to Solve Ruggedization Challenges of Edge Server and Client Designs with Extended Temperature Range Platforms

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

March 01, 2021


congatec to Solve Ruggedization Challenges of Edge Server and Client Designs with Extended Temperature Range Platforms

congatec is focused on customers’ ruggedization challenges at the virtual embedded world 2021, presenting extended temperature range platforms for all performance levels, from high-end COM-HPC to low power SMARC modules.

The solution portfolio for COM-HPC server modules from congatec is designed to tackle the fact that a higher TDP must be mastered for edge computing platforms which, according to the company, represents a challenging task especially in the extended temperature range.

The driving force behind this focus is the increasing demand for rugged edge and real-time fog computing technologies to facilitate digitization projects in often harsh and challenging environments. Typical use cases for these ultra-durable platforms can be found in critical railway, road traffic and smart city infrastructures, offshore rigs and wind parks, electricity distribution networks, piping systems for the oil, gas and freshwater industries, telecom and broadcasting networks, as well as distributed surveillance and security systems. Further target markets include network connected industrial and medical devices with IIoT / Industry 4.0 connectivity, outdoor kiosk and digital signage systems and, not to forget, in-vehicle applications such as autonomous logistic vehicles. 

The new platforms for harsh environments presented by congatec support extreme temperature ranges from -40°C to +85°C, feature BGA soldered processors for shock and vibration as well as high EMI resistance, and can optionally be made available with conformal coating to protect the platforms against ingress from condensation, salt water and dust.

A highlight of the presentations are the high-end x86 Computer-on-Modules for extreme environments based on the COM-HPC and COM Express standards. The conga-HPC/cTLU COM-HPC Client Size A modules as well as the conga-TC570 COM Express Compact modules are available with new scalable 11th Gen Intel Core processors for temperatures ranging from -40°C to +85°C. Both modules are the first to support PCIe x4 in Gen 4 performance to connect peripherals with massive bandwidth.

congatec’s rugged platforms with extended temperature options from -40°C to +85°C on the basis of Intel Atom x6000E Series, Intel Celeron, and Pentium N & J Series processors are available as Computer-on-Modules in the SMARC, Qseven, COM Express Compact, and Mini form factors, and also as Pico-ITX Single Board Computers (SBCs). They're ideal for real-time industrial markets, offering not only improved performance but also Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), Intel Time Coordinated Computing (Intel TCC), hypervisor support from Real Time Systems (RTS), and BIOS configurable ECC.

The presentation is complemented by the exhibition of the brand new SMARC 2.1 Computer-on-Module with i.MX 8M Plus processor. Consuming only 2 - 6 watts, this low power embedded and edge computing platform for extended temperature ranges convinces with 4 Arm Cortex-A53 processor cores and an additional Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which adds up to 2.3 TOPS of AI computing power. Specifically designed for AI inferencing and machine learning at the edge, the modules are also optimized for processing and analyzing dual-camera Image Signal Processor (ISP) data received via the 2 integrated MIPI-CSI interfaces.

Per the company, the platforms provide all features and services required for reliable operation in the most challenging environments. The value package includes rugged passive cooling options, optional conformal coating for protection against corrosion caused by moisture or condensation, a list of recommended carrier board schematics, and components that are designed for the extended temperature range for high reliability. This technical feature set is complemented by a comprehensive service offering that includes temperature screening, high speed signal compliance testing along with design-in services and all training sessions required to simplify the use of congatec’s embedded computer technologies. 

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Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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