MEN Micro Inc. – Profile and Mission
Embedded Solutions - Rugged Computer Boards and Systems for Harsh, Mobile and Mission-Critical Environments
Established in 1998, MEN Micro is the United States subsidiary of MEN Mikro Elektronik with sales, technical support, and production. Since the founding of the headquarters in 1982 - and with more than 250 employees worldwide - MEN has focused on innovation, reliability and flexibility to develop and produce standard and custom computing solutions that employ the highest technology levels. The company provides a robust offering of highly reliable embedded COTS boards and devices widely used in extreme environmental conditions found in industrial and safety-critical applications.
MEN Micro's catalog product offering comprises a huge selection of:
For individual requirements, starting with development, through design-in and beyond, MEN provides its customers with advice and support as well as with system design and configuration and environmental qualification services in accordance with industry standards.
The company's core competencies include x86 and RISC processor architectures, development rules for safe applications, analog I/O design, FPGA technology and Windows®, Linux and real-time operating systems, and RAMS and obsolescence management, and the development of hardware computing solutions for operation in harsh and extreme environmental conditions.
MEN Micro's computer solutions are used in harsh and mission- and safety-critical environments in transportation (rail, road, air, sea) and industrial (automation, power & energy, medical, mining) markets.
MEN is certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 (environment), EN 9100 (aerospace), IRIS (railway) quality management systems and provides systems according to ISO 7637-2 (road traffic) requirements.
The company is a member of several industry associations, consortiums and alliances, including VITA and PICMG.
Development for rugged and mission-critical products is demanding. At MEN this is strictly process-driven and follows the V-Model. Configuration management and requirement tracing are of course standard.
The Product Management defines the roadmap for standard products and develops the concepts for custom solutions. It delivers the project validation, requirements specifications, time/costs and risk estimates and is in charge of the obsolescence management.
The PCB Design creates layouts which meet the specific electrical requirements of all the assemblies. To ensure the quality of products this department works in close cooperation with the mechanical design and production departments.
The Hardware Design is the core department for product development. Here is the central know-how concerning board development based on high-end processors and real-world I/O.
The core competency of this department is to build complex functions in FPGA. This technology makes it possible to develop hardware functions flexibly according to the highest safety standards and is an important contribution to obsolescence management.
Operating system adaptations for Windows, Linux and real-time operating systems, BIOS firmware, protocol stacks and drivers are developed in this department. A close relation between hardware and software guarantees the functionality of the complete computer.
Based on 3D design tools, this department develops the mechanics from board-level to complex system solutions with specific expertise in the areas of convection cooling, conduction cooling and conformal coating.
This department stands for Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety and guarantees that costly mistakes in the planning phase of standard and custom products are avoided. RAMS includes risk analyses, risk rate determination and safety verifications.
Highest quality, totally transparent processes and traceability in production is a must for reliable computing solutions that face the demanding requirements of industrial and transportation markets. Based on fully automated equipment manufacturing of electronics parts remains cost-effective even if it takes place in Europe or North America.
Production in Germany
Board Assembly SMT
Two fully automated SMT lines are used in several shifts. The equipment is AOI-controlled and guarantees complete traceability based on data acquisition by time stamping during the whole production process. The lines are optimized for high production diversity and designed in a way to avoid errors before starting the production process.
Board Assembly THT
Connectors, front panels and similar electromechanical components are assembled in this department. Production processes like press fitting and selective soldering are supported here.
The ever growing number of complete system shipments requires a production process according to the Kanban principle.
Production in the USA
MEN Micro performs full system integration and test for air cooled and conduction cooled 19" rack based computer systems, rugged intelligent displays and HMIs, box computers, and compact rugged computer systems based on MEN Computer-on-Modules (COMs). Upon customer request, MEN Micro is able to provide services such as burn-in test, integration of 3rd party hardware, software load, custom labeling, and refurbishment.
International norms and regulations that are specific for every vertical market define precisely the impacts that a computer in these environments has to withstand. Environmental laboratories are used at MEN to verify the computer functions under defined conditions, to simulate them already during the development phase, and to gain pre-qualification status before getting the official approval from accredited laboratories.
Temperature & Humidity
Temperature tests reach from -70 °C up to +180 °C, at a humidity of 10 % to 98 %. Temperature variations are simulated up to 10 K/min. Standard operating temperature ranges go up to -40 to +85 °C, depending on the product, and distinguishing between screened versions and versions with qualified components. Products are either prepared or already conformal coated for humid or dusty environments.
Shock & Vibration
A vibration test system and a vibration controller are used to guarantee the required endurance. Standard product minimum values are 15 g / 11 ms (shock), 10 g / 16 ms (bump) and 2 g / 10 to 150 Hz (vibration). They highly depend on the application. According to EN 50125-1 for railways the values for shock are 50 m/s² in longitudinal direction, for vibration over 15 minutes and additionally at 50 Hz for 2 minutes in all 3 directions according to EN 50125-1.
Tests are performed regarding ESD (IEC 1000-4-2), burst (IEC 1000-4-4) and radio disturbance (EN 55022).
Values are calculated according to IEC TR 62380, and related to a temperature of +40 °C.
The testing process is characterized by total transparency, based on routing documents. Every single product passes a precisely defined board- or system-specific test procedure. Both, automated in-line and manual inspection is applied, depending on the type of product.
Final inspection includes all functional and electric tests of the boards and systems. A first visual inspection is followed by a boundary scan test (incl. programming of components) and a 100% functional test per product. Occurring errors are recorded electronically and evaluated regularly to deduce possible improvements.
On request specific test protocols are prepared, for instance for burn-in, high-voltage tests (3CR protocol in transport engineering etc.) or certificates such as COC.
The preparation of the test equipment is an integral part of the development process. In close cooperation with hardware, software and mechanical design it follows the "Design-for-Test" concept.