Embedded systems are generally small computer systems that are embedded into larger more specific computer driven devices; we have for example, built the systems below for some of our clients:
- Industrial manufacture control systems
- Surveillance or ANPR systems
- Rail monitoring systems
- Vehicle borne media solutions
Embedded systems or platforms are designed generally with a single role in mind or to operate one specific system i.e. see above for some potential uses. They are able to perform very specific functions, normally within harsh IT environments, such as offshore, vehicles or industrial. The embedded system is designed to process data, to control and monitor or even assist the operation of the equipment and or machinery it is attached to.
So what does an embedded platform look like then?
At the heart of the platform is a rugged computer board built into an industrial type casing with the required Inputs and Outputs to allow it to function in the required embedded environment.
The main computing part is the embedded motherboard,the idea being to pack all the features required into the smallest of areas. Note the flexibility of the system to the left with add on boards.
Any specialist inputs or outputs that are required such as video capturing, communication ports, or signal ports are connected onto the board for the system to work.
The embedded system or platform generally requires an embedded operating system, which will allow the application software to operate the required features of the board to provide the required functionality. Please see below for further information.
What else does the system require then?
At Animal Systems we only use the Vecow embedded boards as their quality assurance is second to none. Although these boards are compact they can and often are customised to meet specific clients’ needs or uses. Because harsh environments these are designed to be used in, we would normally recommend industrial quality RAM and SSD (Solid State Drives) rather than the slightly cheaper versions available because of the harsh conditions these are designed for.
As mentioned before , the embedded platform does not normally use a normal operating system like Windows 7, 8 or the like, so depending upon what the systems is being used for, depends on the operating system is used. As a brief overview Linux or Windows embedded would be used but if real time data is required then again you would need to speak to your manufacturing partner. The most widely used programming language utilised would be C++ in our experience.
What are the embedded system design specifics then?
The embedded systems or platforms are specifically designed to operate in harsh environments unlike your everyday office computers. They must be able to operate more demanding environments such as those with wide temperature ranges,
potentially fluctuating power supply situations, in operations that shock and vibration must be considered such as our railway monitoring units.
Another reason why we work closely with Vecow is that cooling the unit is essential as fans cannot always be used. Conducted cooling is one method or the use of heat pipes is another!
This show how the unit could look and the photo below demonstrates how compact these units can be if needed.
So bottom line, what are the advantages of an embedded system or platform?
Embedded systems or platforms offer many benefits to industry:
ü The power they use is much less than a normal computer, which means less or no cooling required
ü They are built for a specific task or use.
ü They are more reliable than conventional PCs
ü They can operate in far more demanding work environments
ü They can be more cost efficient, depending upon the requirements.
ü They can be of a fanless design and therefore no noise.
If you would like further information please contact us:
Tel: 01747 820111
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