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White Electronic Designs tailors CompactFlash cards for medical demands

White Electronic Designs : 08 November, 2007  (New Product)
White Electronic Designs offering a range of CompactFlash (CF) cards tailored specifically to the medical applications.
White Electronic Designs (WEDC) had been manufacturing CF cards for industrial applications for many years when they began getting enquiries from OEMs in the medical market to meet specific design and performance requirements.

WEDC designed the new family of CF cards to meet the particular needs of the market’s emerging diagnostic devices, such as Ultrasound and equipment for video imaging and drug infusion systems.

WEDC’s history as a defence industry supplier created the foundation and understanding to appropriately support the growing medical electronics market.

One of the key issues in defence electronics is the ability to track part changes and notify customers if any changes occur. This is important for the medical community as well. Reliability is key, and one type of component may interact differently than another. The components in commodity memory may be different each time it is acquired, which creates a risk and opportunity for application failure.

WEDC provides customers with notification when a part changes, using processes developed for stringent defence manufacturing requirements. The rigorous source and revision control processes, combined with a strictly controlled and locked bill of material (to component level) and firmware procedures, ensure WEDC customers consistent access to high-quality products with the correct density, memory, controller and firmware configuration.

“The systems to control the criteria for traceability and customer notification came from our military heritage. It is why we’re able to understand the requirements. The medical design mindset is not that much different from the defence design mindset,” said Mark Downey, director of marketing, high performance computing. “Each of these market segments has a certain level of expectation. The medical community wants a good price, but they, like the defence sector, are also not willing to sacrifice quality and performance for price.”

In a power-down situation, there may be data corruption in commercial cards. With a power loss, some CF cards lose data and functionality. WEDC CF cards provide data protection during power cycling and perform extremely well, with field-proven risk mitigation. The cards are constructed with top-grade single level cell (SLC) NAND devices that provide a specification of 100,000 write/erase cycles per cell - a cell life endurance 10 times longer than that of multi-level cell (MLC) grade components. Utilising a proprietary technique at both the hardware and firmware level, these cards have built-in protection to mitigate power down related failures.

Other medical CF card features include error detection and correction (EDAC) and an optional conformal coating that provides protection and chemical resistance in sensitive medical environments.

WEDC’s CompactFlash can be used as a standard fixed disk with an embedded system disk. The device can run an operating system and can be used as a solid-state drive in an embedded environment. WEDC CompactFlash is available in densities from 128MB to 8GB on standard removable and fixed-device products.

Earlier this year, WEDC was awarded a contract worth more than $3 million for the design and manufacture of a test strip for a blood monitoring application, underscoring the company’s focus and commitment to the growing medical electronics market segment.
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