Crystal Group Develops Custom Rugged Computer for UK Ministry of Defence

6/21/2004 - The contract for a custom-developed ATE rugged computer was awarded to Crystal Group, through Acal Electronics, Crystal’s UK-based business partner, from Racal Instruments Group. Crystal Group will perform this work at its Hiawatha, IA headquarters. In November 2003, Crystal received the Notice To Proceed for the custom design and provided prototypes of the finished design in December. In May, Crystal received an order for 90 production units to be delivered in July and August of 2004.

Test instruments within the ATE have a service life considerably less than that of the ATE itself and it is the replacement of these instruments, especially in legacy systems, which usually necessitates costly re-writing, updating and revalidation of Test Programs. In order to counter these issues, Racal Instruments Group pioneered a technology known as TILS (Technology Insertion into Legacy Systems) to preserve the investment in Test Programs used in high-value ATE.

The Crystal-developed rugged computer runs TILS technology, which intercepts commands sent for the test programs that were originally destined for the now-obsolete equipment. The program incorporates specific translators which dynamically convert the “old” commands to those understood by the new upgraded instrumentation, providing a cost-effective means of countering obsolescence.

“Crystal understands the issues that governments face with using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) systems. This opportunity aligned with Crystal’s goal of bridging the gap between COTS and custom by easing the pain of obsolescence.” said Scott Kongable, President of Crystal Group.

Acal's Ian Richards stated, “Acal chose to partner with Crystal for the Racal opportunity because of their proven ability to produce high quality custom chassis products with the life cycle support demanded by customers in this market space.”

“We chose the Acal Electronic/Crystal Group team because of their quick-turn ability. We needed the system developed within a very short time frame and Acal and Crystal Group really came through for us. We look forward to working with Acal and Crystal on future projects.“ said David Arbuckle, Project Manager of Racal Instruments Group.

About Crystal Group
Crystal Group Inc. provides space efficient, rugged server solutions for mission-critical telecommunications and military installations worldwide. Crystal is a server manufacturer, a systems integrator and a custom design and manufacturing services provider with services that include a 3-year warranty and configuration management. For more information about Crystal Group Inc. products and services, visit

About Acal Electronics, Inc.
Acal Electronics Ltd. is a specialist company acting as a manufacturers' representative or exclusive agent for a wide range of companies in the electronic component, microsystems, power supply and aerospace & defence industries. Acal Electronics is part of the financially strong Acal PLC group. The group is a leading value-added distributor, dealing with many international suppliers and blue chip customers.

About Racal Instruments Group
Racal Instruments is a world-wide supplier of test instruments, automated test systems and support services to civil and military markets. Test solutions range from turn-key factory systems, depot and mobile workshops to rugged man-portable test sets for use during design, production and through life field support. For further details of Racal Instruments Group products and service, please view

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