Critical electronic hardware development

Critical hardware development often includes devices such as CPLDs and FPGAs that include firmware. In many situations, it is not feasible to test firmware exhaustively for every combination of state and input. Therefore, critical hardware development requires a detailed and rigorous process to best assure that the final product is correct and as reliable as possible. Our process is based on stringent guidelines of widely accepted hardware development documents which address the entire life cycle processes for hardware intended for the most critical or vital applications.

Safety-Critical Systems are essential for detecting and mitigating abnormal hazards. Examples include x-ray control software, fire detection systems, and train signaling systems.
Mission-Critical Systems are essential to executing and completing a major objective. Examples include propulsion systems, defibrillators, and power grid control systems.

Design and toolset expertise

  • Analog (precision low noise, high speed detection, sample-hold, isolation, A/D and D/A conversion, signal conditioning)
  • Digital (discrete logic, CPLD, FPGA, Embedded Processors, DSP)
  • Communications (CAN, UART, USB, I2C, SPI, SSI, RS-232, RS-485, ARINC-429, MIL-STD-1553)
  • User interfaces (PC based GUI, Graphical and Character LCD)
  • Power supplies (AC-DC, DC-DC, high voltage, high power, isolated, multi-source distribution, single and three phase, power factor corrected)
  • Schematic capture, simulation, and PCB layout (OrCAD, Pads)
  • CPLD and FPGA designs (Altera, Xilinx)
  • Microprocessors, microcontrollers, digital signal processors (Microchip, Freescale (Motorola), Atmel, all derivatives of 8051)
  • Motor control (brush, brushless, stepper, synchronous (position, velocity, torque, PLL servo and micro-stepping controllers)

Analyzing mission critical hardware to improve products

  • System-level consequences of each possible type of failure (Functional Hazard Analysis)
  • Potential underlying causes and likelihoods of such failures (Fault Tree Analysis)
  • System-level effects, consequences and likelihood of every possible internal component failure (Failure Mode, Effects, and Criticality Analysis)
  • Internal components that may fail prematurely due to design errors (Stress Analysis)
  • Components most likely to fail and whether more reliable substitutes may be used
  • System availability, which is a combination of predicted reliability (Mean Time Between Failure - MTBF) and predicted repair time (Mean Time To Repair)
  • Whether system availability is acceptable for its intended use
  • Ways to improve system availability by improved design, redundancy, environmental control and others
  • Methods and effectiveness for ensuring continued operations in the event of critical system failure. Examples include design for operation in degraded modes, design to allow human takeover and use of backup systems

Hardware Development Partners

Omnicon is committed to developing the highest quality product. We put our customers first, and our goal is to deliver the best possible product to them. In order to do this, we have partnered with companies who have strong track records in engineering development and engineering excellence. Click on the company logos to learn more about each of our partners.

Free Whitepaper Download
The Role of Software Failure Mode and Effects Analysis for Interfaces in Safety and Mission Critical Systems

What’s Inside: Complex systems are often developed by independent design teams whose boundaries are defined by interface design documents. Software interface documents, in particular, can be incomplete and ambiguous without anyone realizing it. Such weaknesses can lead to inadequate and incomplete testing prior to system integration, prolonged integration problems, and expensive last-minute design changes. An important line of defense against interface errors and ambiguities in a safety- or mission-critical system is a software failure mode and effects analysis (SFMEA). This paper explains SFMEA and its use to help identify and correct interface problems Classic reliability analysis techniques, namely, Reliability Prediction, Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) and Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) are the framework for the aircraft certification process. These innovative technique have been utilized since the 1990s with the advent of the Society of Automotive Engineer’s Aerospace Recommended Practice 4761 (SAE ARP 4761). Today, SAE ARP 4761 is the defacto standard used for aircraft certification.