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Expertise

Critical Link invented the System on Module (SoM) concept based on years of experience in developing embedded systems for customers across the commercial, industrial, medical and military sectors.

Our engineers have an average of over 15 years experience in embedded systems and electronics. That experience, combined with high-level technical skills and proven project management methodology, make Critical Link your elite force for electronic product development. Our capabilities span the product development lifecycle, including:

Systems Engineering

Critical Link stands apart from other engineering services organizations in our ability to provide complete system engineering services. Not all of our customers ask us to take on this level of responsibility, but when they do they can be sure a high quality system will be designed, laying a solid foundation for smooth implementation. When we design components that are part of a larger system, we take into consideration all external interactions, and the constraints they impose. Our systems engineering expertise includes:

  • Requirements analysis
  • Standard systems engineering process
  • Sensor input algorithm design
  • Photonics
  • Control system design
  • Communications system design
  • Digital signal processing
  • System test

Hardware Design

Critical Link’s hardware development capabilities cover the full scope of the embedded electronics arena. We can support our clients along every step of the hardware development cycle, from product concept through manufacturing hand-off and beyond. You can count on Critical Link for small to medium volume production.

Critical Link is continually designing new hardware — as a result, we release approximately one board design each week. In addition, we make use of FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) in many of our hardware designs. As a result, programming this hardware in VHDL is second nature to our team.

  • PCB Design tools include Altium, OrCAD, Allegro
  • VHDL for FPGA development
  • High speed, low noise analog data acquisition
  • Sensor integration
  • Processor subsystem design including TI, Intel, Freescale
  • High speed bus architectures including PCI, PCIe, USB, LVDS
  • Switching and linear power supply design

Software Design

Critical Link’s software development capabilities cover a wide range of operating systems, languages, development environments, and protocols. Wherever possible, we employ a best-of-breed, object-oriented approach that helps ensure that our software is of proven high quality.

As you might expect from an electronics product development company, our software development skills on embedded platforms is extensive. However, a high percentage of the embedded systems we develop also require a PC based graphical user interface, as a result we provide the talent necessary to deliver quality PC based applications that complement our embedded platforms.

  • Programming languages include C, C++,  C#, Assembler, Java, Ada; variety of scripting languages including Linux shell scripts, Perl scripts, Windows batch files
  • Embedded Linux and BSPs
  • Real-time Operating Systems
  • DSP software / optimization programming (C67x, C64x, OMAP, etc)
  • Device drivers – embedded and PC
  • Ethernet TCP/IP and serial based communications
  • Embedded software on a variety of embedded hardware platforms
  • Graphical User Interfaces
  • Software design methodologies including OOD, SA/SD

Mechanical & Manufacturing

Rounding out our product development skills is our ability to assist with mechanical phases of the design and the transition to manufacturing. Our team can help with your mechanical product development issues, including everything from integrating the electronics into your mechanical enclosure to assisting in fully developing the mechanical aspects of your design.

The end of every project culminates in a transition to production. This includes securing the appropriate set of agency approvals for your product — CE, FCC, UL, hazardous area approvals, etc. Critical Link assists in making sure the manufacturing transition is smooth.

Whether it’s to your internal manufacturing facility, your contract manufacturer, our contract manufacturer, or our internal manufacturing facility, we help insure that the design can be reliably reproduced in quantities of tens, hundreds, or thousands.

Our mechanical & manufacturing expertise includes:

  • Mechanical concept development
  • Precision opto-mechanical/electro-mechanical
  • Enclosure design
  • Agency approvals
  • Manufacturing test fixtures
  • Transition to manufacturing
  • Low volume production

Project Management

We have a core group of senior engineers on our staff who are seasoned project managers with expertise in budgeting, scheduling, product requirements, product content and product quality. We manage for success, and this almost universally translates into successful products for our customers.

Critical Link has developed an in-house project management system that has worked well for jobs both large and small. Key components of this system:

  • Online collaboration tools
  • Weekly customer update / coordination meetings
  • Task breakdown, time and cost estimates: provided with every proposal
  • Frequent status reports to the customer
  • Weekly resource allocation: each project monitored to ensure correct skill sets applied and proper staffing levels maintained
  • Management of cost and schedule: monitored via estimate to complete