By Rebecca Abbott | February 27, 2024

Trends in Ruggedization; ZMicro Discusses Top Trends with Military Aerospace Electronics

SAN DIEGO – February 27, 2024 –ZMicro’s

Jason Wade (president) sat down with John Keller of Military Aerospace Electronics (MAE) to discuss the top trends of rugged, military application hardware. Let’s take a look at the trend’s breakdown:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Thermal Management

AI is increasingly vital due to the growing number of sensors and the need for real-time data processing, with companies like Nvidia, Intel, and AMD playing crucial roles in providing enabling technologies.

“Customers are looking to leverage AI. From a hardware side, SWaP [size, weight, and power consumption] always will be important, but is no longer the sole focus and driver.” Sic “AI is a common trend, and we see that constantly,” Wade continues. “Collection of data is critical, and the ability for high-end GPGPUs to process data is important. ZMicro has seen evolution of GPGPU as an integral component — sometimes even more important even than the CPU.”
-John Keller, Military Aerospace and Electronics 2024

As the military increases its need for data collection and analysis, GPGPUs are becoming more important to aerospace and defense rugged computing. This creates a unique challenge to the ability to ruggedize computing; GPUs make a lot of heat, making thermal management a significant challenge. Due to the deployed environment of the hardware, innovations such as liquid cooling become difficult, while adding more fans creates challenges to SWaP considerations.

To address this issue, ZMicro designed the ZM3 rugged mission computer, a lightweight and compact powerhouse that packs in a 16-Core, Intel® Xeon D™ processor, giving you powerful processing that addresses stringent SWaP and thermal management considerations.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is emerging as a promising method for creating intricate designs and lightweight components. While it offers potential benefits, its current adoption in rugged computing remains relatively low, but it’s expected to increase significantly in the coming years.

“’It’s an open question when additive manufacturing will have a big influence on rugged computing design. We are aware of additive manufacturing to improve efficiency in components and products,’ says ZMicro’s Wade. ‘ZMicro does not use additive manufacturing yet because we haven’t hit that sweet spot in cost. It’s a trend that always seems like it’s tomorrow, and tomorrow eventually will come when we can meet the price points.’”
-John Keller, Military Aerospace and Electronics 2024

Innovative Ruggedization

An exciting innovation that ZMicro is a leader in is nanocoating, which is a process that coats electrical components with a layer of thin protective coating that protects against corrosion, water, ice, friction, and bacteria.

“’Ruggedization is what we do; it’s our business,’ says ZMicro’s Wade. ‘there are a couple different approaches we are taking. One is we transitioned away from the process of conformal coating to nanocoating technologies. Instead of using traditional conformal coating of sensitive components, we use nanocoating.’”
-John Keller, Military Aerospace and Electronics 2024

This is an improvement over conformal coating as it’s a seamless process that provides enhanced protection to electronics in challenging environments, especially those in the aerospace and military sector.

As AI, thermal management, ruggedization capabilities, and additive manufacturing continue to evolve, ZMicro continues to be an active participant in that evolution.

Read the Full Article HERE

About ZMicro

ZMicro provides rugged computing solutions for military and industrial applications. The company offers off-the-shelf, customizable, built-to-spec military-grade computers, displays, storage, and video enhancement systems. All products are manufactured on-site at ZMicro’s AS9100-certified facility at its San Diego, California headquarters. In business since 1986, the company’s rugged computing products have been deployed in military, industrial and medical platforms worldwide. For more information, visit

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Media Contact:


Pauline Shulman


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