Instrumental Technologies
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Our Expertise



Instrumentation Technologies offers the knowledge and skills in the development of RF and digital electronic devices, including hardware, and low and high levels of software.



In more than 20 years, we have gained a lot of experience designing, developing, producing, testing and delivering electronic devices used for high-performance applications. We deal with synchronized multiple-board systems with real-time digital processing of large amounts of data on a daily basis. We love our work.

 

 

We could help you to design, develop and produce electronic systems that require expertise in:

  • Analogue electronic circuits, including up to 12 GHz RF signal processing with shielding solutions on up to 20-layer PCBs
  • Digital electronics engineering
  • Optical-fiber-based communication, RF-to-optical and reversed transformation
  • Software development (from application level down to Linux kernel level)
  • Extensive FPGA programming for high-volume real-time digital signal processing
  • Support and consultation for developments and device industrialization
  • Cost-optimized prototyping and production
  • Cost-optimized series production
  • Manufacturing, software and final quality-control series testing
  • System integration
  • Implementation of high-frequency analogue circuits, digital electronics and optics on a single board
  • Systems and data synchronization
  • Compliance to various safety standards
  • Control system integration.

 

 

Some of the typical application areas in which our domain knowledge can make a significant contribution include:

  • Particle accelerators (beam diagnostics, beam stabilization, etc.)
  • Medical applications
  • Telecommunications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Astronomy
  • Fast feedback control systems
  • Meteorology
  • Synchronization.

 

 

ITS offers a full suite of hardware and embedded software capabilities to help you with any stage of development you need.

 

 

Ideation

Instrumentation Technologies Solutions works with many customers who have great ideas that don’t yet have a lot of definition to them. Sometimes, those ideas come to them on the “back of envelope” with a minimal understanding of how something might work in the field or for their customers. Other ideas are well-formed with specific requirements that must be adhered to. In either case, ITS has professionals on staff who can deliver. Understanding the business needs of customers is of extreme importance to ITS. Before ITS builds anything, a first meeting with a customer might be spending time with the team who can help the customer define exactly what is needed, document their understanding and start to formulate ideas for a design.Because ITS has worked with many customers in various industries, they offer a unique perspective and often introduce ideas to the customer that they had not considered. At the conclusion of this process, the customer should be equipped with a complete specification, defined project scope, deliverables, deadlines and cost to ensure all factors of the project are known and feasibility can be determined.

Design

When designing a product, the entire solution must be considered up front to ensure that the product is ready for manufacturing when the customer needs it. This goes beyond the boards and components in the product and extends to the development of its enclosure, shields, labeling required, printing and cooling standards as well. ITS engineers understand from an electrical, mechanical and computer engineering standpoint what technology limitations are and how to create the best possible design to achieve the results required. An experienced Solution Architect leads the project from beginning to the end, is well versed in technical engineering as well as solution delivery and can take quick action during the project and mitigate risks accordingly. Another key component in ITS's success is the great collaboration between engineering, quality control, procurement and supply chain teams. These experts on staff can source components and subcontractors where required in a short timeframe or well in advance, reducing unnecessary delays. Certification requirements are envisioned up front and managed throughout the design and development process to ensure the product will pass certification. Design expertise includes: Radio Frequency (RF) and Wireless, Analog, Low Power FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), Embedded Software Radio over Fiber (RoF).

 

 

RF and Wireless Design

Wireless connectivity protocols like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LoRa are in high demand due to the explosion of Internet of Things (IoT), personal devices like smartphones and wearables all with a myriad of cloud connectivity requirements. Radio Frequency (RF) systems are rarely designed to perform a single function. Complex integration is required for things like RF plus analog to digital conversion and data processing. Nowadays systems must operate at higher frequencies with much wider bandwidths in more crowded RF spectrums. High EMI (electromagnetic interference), reduced antenna efficiency, failed regulatory certifications or excessive power consumption are problems companies face when trying to develop this on their own.It is difficult for customers to know what components should be used: The understanding of mixed signal design interference issues are of key importance. Besides this, the equipment to measure these phenomena in-house is expensive and most customers do not have this or the engineering experience to solve problems quickly. ITS engineers are experts with high frequency, analog, digital and mixed-signal design and can submit an all-in-one solution. The ability to partition designs between RF/analog and digital components to meet the performance and efficiency requirements of emerging technologies is critical. They make intelligent design choices in early phases of development to provide the greatest flexibility, from the antenna design (PCB, array, etc.), to the active and passive RF components (filters, strip lines, mixers, and amplifiers, etc.) to algorithms implemented for signal processing or control logic. Computer simulations and rapid prototyping are used to find early design flaws prior to production saving time and money. The team has a wide array of skills from design to system architecture, DSP, RF, antenna, mixed signal, digital hardware, manufacturing, PCB materials and embedded software.

 

 

Analog Design

Getting the desired performance, meeting the specifications and constraints of low power, temperature, supply and processing capabilities make analog design an extremely challenging engineering discipline with long timelines and high costs to develop. There are complex design rules like noise level control, preventing possibility of oscillations, reducing distortion and increasing power efficiency, cooling issues of high performance designs, shielding solutions and isolation/crosstalk requirements must also be taken into consideration. The variability from device to device being built is significant and the complexity of interactions between digital, analog and RF is very demanding. Having the right measurement equipment is important as is access to EMC laboratories for certification. All of this combined can be very costly. ITS engineers have expertise with the materials and technologies on which the circuit is built. They have a strong network for mechanics, machining and PCB manufacturing, as well. In-house test and measurement equipment can be used for system verification, optimization and validation: system is disassembled to subsystems, which are verified and optimized; the system is then reassembled and validated. All in all, experience is the key for efficiency in this area and ITS has plenty of this!

 

 

Low Power Design

Power consumption is considered one of the most important factors in embedded systems, sensor systems and is especially important for IoT devices which are placed in the field and expected to last an extended amount of time so frequent battery replacement is not required. The most common solution requirements are to minimize both the power consumption for the design of the power supply and voltage regulators as well as minimizing the energy consumption of the circuitry that performs the required functionality due to the limited availability of energy, limited battery capacity and high cost of cooling. Also, managing this power load is extremely important to reliability and to extend the battery life as much as possible to keep costs down and performance high. To develop a successful system, power related design decisions must be balanced against system constraints like size, cost, performance, usability, testability, time to market, lifetime of device, etc.ITS creates high performance designs and circuit structures using efficient techniques for low power optimization. They understand that selecting the correct components and battery management systems are critical to the success of a device in the field. They also consider optimized software design for low power consumption where the software is used to manage the hardware in such a way that power consumption is low. ITS keeps track of innovation in this space to ensure engineers are using the latest technologies to exceed the pace of the industry.

 

 

FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) Design

The FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) contain modular digital circuit blocks that are comprised of combinational and sequential components. Application can consist of many modules, where much time and effort is needed to verify signals behavior and pins’ connectivity. It is prone to errors in design, mapping and timing. Design in this space is challenging and requires specialized knowledge in digital logic and clock domain crossing. It is also difficult for engineers to debug issues and to get the performance necessary related to PCB physics such as set up and hold times, capacitive loading and impedance matching. ITS provides architecture and software programming support for every FPGA-specific logic synthesis to allow increased design portability, improved design implementation tools, support for system level simulation, and overall framework integration. Their exceptional design practices, early prototyping and reference design development ensures high quality performance for every customer.

 

 

Embedded Software Design

ITS engineers are proficient in embedded programming languages with knowledge of hardware components and the efficient use of resources. This is helpful with the multitude of operating systems and middleware available to use and communication interfaces to consider with backwards compatibility requirements. If a customer needs mobile device connectivity to the embedded device, ITS can provided the required connectivity with mobile application development. The greater the complexity of the application, the more lines of code created and the higher the cost of updating and maintaining or testing it. The hardware and embedded software development engineers work in tandem to ensure that their respective areas are developed with the most efficient code possible. If knowledge and expertise leads the team to believe that hardware could be a more efficient place to run the code for the project, they nimbly make this trade-off. They also understand the importance of well documented specifications, quality control processes and automated testing tools to maintain traceability, quality and efficiency of all embedded software components. In addition, they always have the feel for the user of the end device in mind to ensure the right functionality and experience is included from design to manufacturing.

 

 

Radio over Fiber Design

Another area ITS is excited about is the Radio over Fiber (RoF) technology and development advancements currently being used in mobile signals like mobile networks (GPRS, 3G[UMTS], 4G [LTE], 5G, etc.) where light is modulated by a Radio Frequency (RF) signal and transmitted over an optical fiber link. By using these technologies, customers can benefit from higher bandwidth in single line or cable, increased range between two devices due to lower tranmission losses (both are useful for devices in remote locations), precise signal-delay stabilization, increasing immunity to electromagnetic interference and natural lightning protection. ITS can design for electrooptical devices, fiber optic systems and delay control mechanisms. They can also stabilize and measure optical and RF power, wavelength, signal delay and phase noise. This allows the customer's product to be primed for use on emerging networks like 5G and other broadband wireless access services or on custom synchronization systems as well.

 

 

Product Development

If the goal is to bring a new product to market or to extend an existing product with new capabilities, ITS is with the customer every step of the way. They understand that building a new product and bringing it to market can be a time consuming process filled with twists and turns that can increase costs or reduce the products’ opportunity to reach the market at all. Early in the process, customers receive the support of multiple departments at ITS (engineering, procurement, supply chain and quality control) to ensure that their needs are understood, requirements are clear and objectives are well-defined. ITS also has a vast network of verified ecosystem partners that complement their work if additional expertise is required for a certain project. As previously mentioned, an experienced Solution Architect is responsible for ensuring the transition from each phase of the project is successful, on-time and to budget goals. ITS feels that this hands-on approach to development removes a lot of errors from the process as mistakes are caught sooner and precious time is not lost after hardware is delivered for high volume production. Also, having an experienced engineer on hand from ideation to certification ensures that at no time will the project veer off course.

Certification

When customers consider the time it takes to design and develop a product, they are often surprised that it could take anywhere from 2 to 18 months to obtain the certification needed to launch the product in even one country with one certifying body (e.g. FCC certification can take 8-12 weeks, CE certification for medical devices can take 12-16 weeks, best case scenarios). The global market for testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) is projected to surpass a valuation of US$285 billion by the end of 2024 based on different end use applications (Market Research Reports Search Engine (MRRSE) - “Testing, Inspection and Certification (T.I.C.) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2016 – 2024”). The complexity of this field is daunting for customers. Many “smart” products in the market today have wireless connectivity which mandate certification regulations for radio frequency transmissions and interference, at various levels. There is no one, global certification body so testing must be performed at accredited labs for each notified body before a product can be sold in that particular market. Use of a product without appropriate certification could result in removal of the product from the market and penalties. It is extremely important that the engineering design accounts for these certifications long before paperwork submission to the certification bodies and functional product samples are ready for testing. ITS helps guide customers through this process from design to certification. ITS can help select the right pre-certified modules or verified design that will expedite certification for existing products, upgrades and new versions. In addition, ITS uses a well-established network with multiple certification bodies, interpreting specifications and work with international certified testing houses and labs which enables them to speed up the measurement and improvement loop. Pre-compliance testing is essential to ensure all values stay in the appropriate range under changes of environmental parameters dictated by the governing certification bodies. It is important to get as much right as you can up front to ensure that retesting is not required or additional delays and costs do not occur.

Rapid Prototyping

When bringing an idea to market a functional prototype can be key to determining solution viability, hardware design, and embedded software testing. It may also help end consumers understand the vision for the product to see it working in a control environment, even if the enclosure is 3D printed for demo purposes only! Very often product specifications are modified with the findings from successful testing of early prototype devices in the field.

 

 

Share the ideas and challenges that you would like to realize in a rapid, professional and cost-effective manner. Contact us to help find a solution for your challenge.





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