Kontron Delivers Products, Services and Support for Cost-Efficient, Innovative and Lasting Medical Equipment Designs
Medical OEMs face many challenges over the lifecycle of their products — from performance and reliability requirements and passing certifications to ensuring their technology and products keep up with evolving needs. The continuing evolution of processors and the emergence of new high-speed serial differential interfaces challenge medical equipment OEMs to implement new capabilities while maintaining focused on their core business and meeting their time-to-market requirements.
Beyond the performance and scalability needs, equipment designed for medical use must meet extended longevity requirements, with some applications expected to last as long as 10 to 15 years. Time-to-market is also a concern. So, reducing implementation time, plus the time allotted for FDA and other regulatory testing and approvals, is also key a factor for consideration. Last but certainly not least, budgets for these products are not unlimited, so costs must be controlled whenever possible.
Selecting from the many choices of embedded computing solutions on the market is one of the most important considerations in the design process. However, it is also essential that the computing supplier provide more than just a computer board. The ideal supplier must also have a clear understanding of existing and future medical requirements, high reliability products and an understanding of the concerns needed for patient care. Suppliers must also have regulatory certifications expertise as well as a commitment to designing long product life. These supplier attributes will ensure a lasting partnership helping medical equipment OEMs to remain competitive in the market.
Breadth of Kontron Solutions for the Medical Market
Kontron offers a wide range of medical solutions to provide focused product segment support for imaging, diagnostics and therapy, patient monitoring and medical IT systems with off-the-shelf embedded computing solutions, single board computers (SBCs), embedded motherboards, box and rack systems, HMIs, high-volume application custom solutions and computeron- module, CompactPCI, and microTCA solutions. Medical solutions from Kontron offer highly integrated application-ready platforms – support that spans from basic IT to infrastructure to automation, plus all the way to full digital integration.
Kontron 6U CompactPCI CP6016
Providing new applications to improve medical imaging and diagnostics is one of the greatest challenges facing medical equipment designers. Sophisticated medical imaging systems require an immense amount of computational power to quickly process the massive of amount of data needed for proper and timely diagnosis. But these complex systems also require high availability, high reliability and low power consumption. The Kontron 6U CompactPCI® CP6016 board, based on the high performance and low-power 45nm Intel® Core™2 Duo processor T9400, provides up to 25 percent faster core speeds (2.53 GHz), and a 60 percent faster FSB (1066 MHz) compared to previous 65nm Intel® Core™2 Duo processor T7500-based boards, in a typical 50 watt or less power envelope. The board also enables out-of-band communication with all hardware components through IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface) for the management of high-availability applications. With 6MB of L2 cache and up to 16GB of registered DDR2 ECC SO-RDIMM memory, The Kontron CP6016 can meet bandwidth intensive image processing.
Kontron MediClient and KTUS15 mITX Motherboard
Continuous improvement of patient care and experience is a persistent requirement of next-generation medical equipment applications. Kontron has a wide variety of systems products that meet these needs. For example, the Kontron MediClient is an HMI solution that offers OEMs a highly reliable platform with flexible mounting options and features long product life required by the medical industry. The Kontron MediClient touch screen is 15-inch HMI panel PC which offers sharp graphics on a high-contrast 1024×768 TFT display. In addition, the Kontron MediClient features IP65 protection on its front panel, and is manufactured using extremely tough and light plastic housing (ABS UL94V0) that is scratch proof, corrosion resistant and chemical resistant for long life and easy cleaning. With its low power consumption and low heat dissipation, the new Kontron MediClient is also an optimal solution for mobile and battery-driven applications.
Additionally, with a combined thermal design power of less than 5 Watts for the processor and chipset, the Kontron KTUS15/mITX motherboard with the Intel® Atom™ processor is the ideal choice for battery powered and mobile medical applications that require low power consumption, excellent electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and a simple, rugged cooling concept. Not only does it offer the smallest miniITX compliant footprint, this motherboard features extremely quiet operation making the Kontron KTUS15 well suited for medical environments that want to enhance patient care. Adding to its versatility, the board’s low-profile height of only two USB stacks thereby gives system developers the freedom to design extremely slim and, as required, fully closed and highly protected systems.
The Computer-on-Module (COM) approach is becoming increasingly popular due to its distinct advantages of high levels of processing performance and I/O bandwidth in a compact form factor. Computer- on-Modules integrate an entire computer host-complex on a small form factor module that can be mounted on carrier boards containing application-specific I/O and power circuitry. All standard PC functions and buses can be added via an off-the-shelf module. A custom baseboard then is developed to interface with application-specific peripherals like storage devices, expansion sockets, and Computer-on-Module connectors.
Focusing on the application-specific portion enables a Computeron- Module-based design to be completed within 12 weeks, a mere one-half to one-third the time allotted for a custom design. Performance upgrades can be implemented without a single modification to the baseboard. Rather than redesigning the entire motherboard, a new module from the same family can be simply installed, and the device will be ready for the approval process. As a result, Computer-on-Module solutions can help medical system designers achieve faster-time-to-market, reduced development cost and minimize design risk, simplified future upgrade paths, scalability, and increased application longevity.
Kontron offers a broad range of standards-based Computeron- Module solutions including ETX®, COM Express™, Universal Graphics Module and E2Brain, along with a complete selection of custom carrier boards.
Increasing Emphasis on SWaP
As the demand for mobile point-of-care devices increases, design requirements for medical equipment OEMs are intensified as size, weight and further power constraints are added to the mix. Recent advances in processing technology are squeezing more performance and power efficiency into the ultra-small packages.
In 2006, Kontron introduced a cut-down version of COM Express™ known as microETXexpress designed to extend the specification with include a small module format (95 x 95 mm) with the commonly used COM Express™ Type 2 connector. The Kontron microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module based on the Intel® Atom™ processor (up to 1.6GHz) and the Intel® System Controller Hub US15W. Standard features include Gigabit Ethernet, Serial ATA, single-channel LVDS and USB 2.0. The Kontron microETXexpress-SP is ideal for small mobile and extremely energy-efficient devices as well as for mobile test and measurement applications.
As the demand for very compact, portable functionality continued to increase, the need for a smaller architecture became apparent. In response, Kontron specified an even smaller form factor based on COM Express™ interface specification, called nanoETXexpress. The nanoETXexpress specification is targeted to deliver extremely power-saving COMs with mid to high performance x86 technology on a footprint that is a mere 55 mm x 84 mm. Kontron offers the nanoETXexpress-SP based on the low power Intel® Atom™ Z5xx series processor which makes the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module ideal for ultra-mobile and embedded applications that require x86 processor performance, high-end graphics, PCI Express, USB 2.0 and Serial ATA combined with longer battery power.
With the release of this new ultra-small module, applications that previously faced barriers due to size, performance issues or power consumption limitations now can be developed using a standard COM implementation.
Going Beyond Products with Additional Infrastructure and Support
While performance, reliability, form factor and longevity are all certainly of critical importance, there are a number of additional factors medical equipment OEMs consider before finalizing their embedded computing solution.
Kontron’s commitment to the medical market extends well beyond supplying innovative products. The company has made substantial investments in infrastructure and services to offer a collaborative resource for everything from design services and customization to program management, testing, certification and manufacturing. In addition to its design expertise in solving thermal, power and ruggedization issues, Kontron also has the knowledge and ability to assist with regulatory certifications such as EN 60601-X, ISO 13485 and FDA. Additionally, medical OEMs can take advantage of a full range of customization capabilities and support. Plus, Kontron’s clear understanding of existing and future medical requirements helps eliminate reliability and other patient care issues that could arise.