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Quarterly Bulletin
Rapid product launch through reuse of building blocks

Reuse of embedded building blocks is a key strategy in Hectronic development. In this brief example from a customer project the strategy resulted in a faster delivery of a custom computer board prototype.

A well-tried existing COM module on an enlarged board surrounded by additional components and functionality met the customer's requirements for increased performance in a prototype delivered in a couple of weeks.
- Usually an embedded hardware takes months to design, says Mats Arnlund, Hardware Architect at Hectronic AB.  
The customer, a large Swedish industrial company needed to replace an existing hardware to increase performance and add functionality. The form factor had to remain unchanged to minimize mechanical adjustments.
The COM module was already in use by other customers and it had been tested and approved for its performance by the customer but the physical dimensions were to small and the on-board functionality didn't meet the needs.
- We enlarged the board and used that extra space for the additional components and functionality that the customer needed, says Mats Arnlund.

Adding functionality to the computer board

The 16 layer PCB of the COM module was placed unchanged in the middle of the new board. A couple of CAN controllers, a PLD, additional SRAM, a TFT connector and a hard disc connector for future possibilities were placed on the board surface surrounding the module.

Adding functionality to an existing COM module PCB to save time

The custom board was based on the PCB of the existing COM module to save time.


Rapid development of the prototype was one advantage of the approach reusing an existing design. Unproblematic EMC approval was another.

- The H6036 not only has an EMC approval but also has shown to be really "silent". Altering that design risks introducing EMC problems that need time to be taken care of.


Reusable building blocks shorten time to market

Reusing ready-made building blocks is a key philosophy at Hectronic and not only includes hardware. Project libraries are full of BIOS, OS drivers, test systems, I/O functionality and complete computer boards and modules designed and tested ready to be used again. Adjusting and adding merely what is necessary to meet the requirements in the application shortens the time required for development and the time to market for the customer.


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