Each TAG solution is designed based on our proven engineering process. The process begins with intricate planning of the total project. These considerations include cost analysis, timeline management, component selection, environmental conditions, power budgets, software applications, and integration with current systems. This Concept Phase focuses on the development of technical requirements, and on the definition of the overall system architecture for applications in a rugged environment.
The actual engineering design is based on a full understanding of a customer’s overall system objectives – environmental, performance, longevity, power consumption, or other specific requirements. This understanding guides the development of a system specification, which becomes the governing document for all subsequent phases of development. Our strength lies in our ability to quickly, and efficiently develop resolutions to IT challenges with reliable hardware systems. TAG’s engineering methodology is built upon several processes: Multi-Disciplinary Optimization (MDO), Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC), and DoD Architecture Framework (DoDAF).
As a Multi-Disciplinary Optimization (MDO) company TAG engineering staff covers multiple engineering disciplines including but not limited to system, electrical, and mechanical engineering. These engineering disciplines then combine with manufacturing, and quality assurance to produce products that are manufactured to the highest standards. This approach is then integrated with rigorous design reviews throughout the engineering life cycle. In addition, TAG utilizes the industry-accepted Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) model. This model allows TAG’s engineers the ability to meet a customer’s requirements, the project schedule, and budget. TAG’s systems engineering approach aligns with DoDAF, which deals with how components are designed, and then evolve over time.
Although PMs help drive the schedule at TAG, Engineering leverages Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models, rapid prototyping processes, and diverse test equipment/facilities to ensure requirements are being met at every step of the design. TAG Engineering follows a proven design-review process, ensuring all entrance and exit criteria are met at each stage. Rigorous documentation is compiled to demonstrate requirement compliance, mitigate risks, and confirm decisions are prudent – throughout the design process. TAG prides itself on its engineering facilities, and has invested resources to ensure engineering at TAG continues to exceed our customers’ expectations.
TAG uses industry accepted best practices to fully define systems requirements so that we can develop products which meet customer specifications. We may conduct an initial system size, weight, power, and cost study (SWaP-C) to ensure the system meets specific customer requirements. TAG will then analyze functional, budgetary, and schedule requirements. This data is taken and incorporated with any studies that were conducted to develop a Requirements Document that becomes a roadmap for the rest of the engineering, and manufacturing process.
The requirements analysis helps to yield a concrete, understood, and customer-approved Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM). This RTM is used to ensure that the specific system requirements are mapped to components, and deliverables. The actual engineering design is based on a full understanding of a customer’s overall system objectives – environmental, performance, longevity, power consumption, or other specific requirements. This understanding guides the development of a system specification, which becomes the governing document for all subsequent phases of development.
Our design engineers use a proven system of collaboration that incorporates our expertise in various elements of design. The customer’s requirements are at the forefront of this entire process and the goal throughout is to evaluate design approaches that meet all of their program requirements. The principal responsibility of TAG design engineers is prototyping which covers multiple engineering disciplines including, but not limited to, electrical and mechanical. Prototypes are usually functional and non-functional. Functional prototypes are used for testing and the non-functional ones are used for form and fit checking. These testing stages are when design flaws are found and corrected.
In addition, finite component analysis techniques are applied in a Multi-Disciplinary Optimization (MDO) capacity leveraging electrical, mechanical, thermal, and systems engineering. This technique allows TAG to provide design verification prior to prototype assembly followed by physical tests to identify potential problems early in the development cycle which minimizes costs associated with implementing corrective actions. Once the prototype is finalized, after much iteration, the next step is preproduction. The engineering staff reviews an initial run of components and assemblies for design compliance. This is often determined through statistical process control. TAG utilizes statistical process control to successfully improve quality in the manufacturing of products where variations in the product are correlated to aspects of the process and eliminated. TAG’s design engineering staff follows the "cradle to grave" engineering principal which allows them to track products, make requested customer changes, and make corrections throughout that product’s lifecycle. By utilizing our robust engineering support, TAG has the ability to supply customers’ needs for a wide variety of projects.
TAG’s engineering methodology is based on the industry-accepted Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) model. This model allows TAG’s engineers the ability to adapt to any customer’s unique requirements while applying the discipline necessary to complete a development cycle. The SDLC methodology directly aligns with TAG’s program management methodology resulting in projects that fully meet the customer’s expectations.
TAG’s systems engineering approach aligns with DoD Architecture Framework (DoDAF). The basic premise of DoDAF can be defined as: The structure of components, their relationships, and the guidelines governing their design evolution over time. TAG applies the technique of using knowledge from various branches of engineering, and science to introduce technological innovations into the development stages of a system. Systems engineering at TAG is to support the desire to improve performance. This improvement is generally obtained through the definition, development, and deployment of technological products, services, or processes that support functional objectives, and fulfill needs.
TAG uses thermal simulation, and finite element analysis, performed using thermal analysis software, to ensure that systems are built to survive the full range of harsh thermal environments encountered by land, air, or sea. TAG engineers have advanced knowledge of component specifications enabling them to design products that are rugged, and meet military standards (MIL-STD) for operating in extreme temperatures. TAG utilizes Thermal Engineering to create systems that are both Convection, and Conduction cooled.
Convection cooling is movement of air through the veins of a heat sync, cooling the system’s processor, and critical components. Conduction cooling is the transfer of heat through a body (heat sync attached to CPU), that can be then dissipated by standard convection airflow. Utilizing an efficient conduction cooling system, TAG has developed Small Form Factor (SSF) rugged systems that do not need any fans to keep them cool. This fan less design allows SSF rugged systems to be sealed, and meet rugged MIL-STD, while using less power.
TAG’s thermal design services include advanced thermal simulation modeling, which allows us to design solutions that combat the harsh climatic conditions to which our products may be exposed in the field. TAG’s standard mechanical engineering services take full advantage of sophisticated Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) and fabrication techniques, which helps to reinforce the overall conceptual design of our products. Thermal simulation and finite element analysis, performed using Flowtherm thermal analysis software, ensure that systems and instruments are designed and built to survive the full range of harsh thermal environments encountered by land, air, or sea.
The mechanical engineering process develops technology and solutions for structures, sub-systems, and survivability. Using three-dimensional Computer-Aided Design (CAD), TAG Tactical Systems’ research, design, develop, and fabricate customer-centric products using high-performance materials to house and protect a wide range of sensitive devices and controls. The TAG Mechanical engineers involved in designing prototypes are also able to understand and apply concepts from the chemistry and electrical engineering fields. TAG Mechanical engineers are able to apply current technologies and principals to machine and product design, production, and manufacturing processes.
For example, the MIL-STIK® was mechanically designed by TAG to serve the purpose of anchoring PWB boards down into their prescribed slot, which solved a potential customer issue of boards becoming unseated and provided risk mitigation for mission critical systems and programs. MIL-STIK’s are constructed of black heavy duty plastic and are of two differing types that accommodate varying manufactured board styles. The bottom part of the MIL-STIK is designed to take double sided tape allowing for easy removal, yet at the same time giving a shock proof clamp on a specific board. The board clamp slides down from the top and also has the ability to slide up and down a rack and lock into place. The whole part has been tested to MIL-STD-810 Grade A shock.
The electrical engineering process actively engages in research and development of advanced Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) computing technologies for military applications with particular focus on rugged COTS adaptation technologies, thermal monitoring, embedded systems, power supply designs, and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). TAG’s extensive COTS experience includes component selection, analysis, and qualification for rugged environments.
TAG’s extensive COTS experience includes component selection, analysis, and qualification for rugged environments. TAG understands the importance of building products that meet exacting requirements, can survive in harsh environments, and are both reliable and cost-effective. Our electrical engineers primary focus is to build customer specific systems that supplement existing COTS technologies, deliver high-speed digital systems, design Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), and provide power systems analysis.