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Quarterly Bulletin
Custom Development versus Standard Products

With the wide selection of standard products (COTS) on the market today, a general misconception is that using a custom solution in product development will be more costly.

The fear of long development processes and steadily rising costs makes many decision makers take a step back and start the development process by looking for a standardized product instead. But what if adapting to the requirements, rather than adapting to what’s available, could be the most cost effective way of solving the problem? Let’s take a look.

Hectronic recently helped a company in the mining industry. For many years, the company have been using a Hectronic COM module in one of their embedded products. As one of their COM modules was nearing end-of-life, Hectronic developed a smarter solution.  Rather than replacing the COM module, the COM module was integrated onto the carrier board.

Building blocks reused

The proven and reliable H6071 COM module from Hectronic was used as a starting point. The processor platform from the COM module was copied and pasted onto the carrier board; Hectronic then added the functionality required by the customer. In this way, the final product perfectly matched the customer’s desired specifications, and avoided the previous solution’s compromises. By using existing building blocks from the COM module in the development process, the time to market was reduced by months and non-recurring engineering costs, NRE, were kept to a minimum.
Hectronic H6071
• AMD G-series SOC
• Quad/dual core CPU
• Extended/Industrial Temperature, optional
• Soldered DDR3 RAM
• AMD Radeon HD 8000 graphics
The COM module used in the project, the H6071, was already in use by other customers and had been tested and approved for its performance. 
The COM module used in the project was already proven in use by other customers and recognized for its fine performance. Thus, Hectronic’s engineers could shift focus from the COM module alone to its integration with the carrier board.

The integration of the COM module and carrier board resulted in additional improvements: a more compact design, and additional functionality. With the new custom design, Hectronic’s developers could improve the final product’s cooling and mechanical design and at the same time improve the general performance. The final result was a faster and more cost effective manufacturing process with shorter bill of materials.

The reuse of building blocks was not only present in the hardware; the H6071 COM module’s software was also largely reusable. The result: quicker software development for BIOS, drivers, and I/O functionality.  Since the H6071 is based on the second generation AMD (Steppe Eagle) Embedded G-Series SOC platform, the product’s life cycle is anticipated to be more than 10 years. For the foreseeable future, investments in NRE can bekept at a minimum.

Adapting to requirements

By proceeding from the customer’s needs, instead of patching off-the-shelf parts together, Hectronic’s solution provided the customer with a fast, flexible solution with better performance. The perception that using a custom solution is more costly proved to be wrong. In this case and others like it, Hectronic’s custom solution has helped to reduce the cost of development and implementation. By choosing a custom solution rather than adapting to a common device on the market, the customer gets a product that is perfect for their requirements.

Do you have a project that’s about to start or is planned for the future? Are you struggling to get a standardized product to work straight out of the box? Consider giving us a call to see what we can offer in terms of solutions that are tailored to your requirements.

If you are looking for more information, don’t hesitate to give our sales department a call on +46 18 660 700 or send an email to sales@hectronic.se.

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