Minimal complexity, maximum result

Minimal complexity, maximum result

The servers made by newcomer OnBoard make maritime ships smart, registering relevant data and sharing them in real time with the home base and the fleet. On a small budget, Spark improved the design of the servers significantly.

Active cooling   

OnBoard initially asks Spark only to review and improve a design proposal that incorporates active server cooling. In addition, they are looking for a new supplier for the electronics in the server. Could we help them out with that as well? ‘Of course!’, we say. ‘But about that active cooling...’


‘Active cooling uses a small fan that, apart from fresh air through an opening, also draws in dust,’ says Ruud Schatorjé, project manager at Spark. ‘That makes it more maintenance-sensitive; the opposite of what you want in the maritime industry. You want something robust, something you don't have to give another thought.’

Limited resources

In a few design sessions, we overhauled the cable management, added a display to the casing, made it more compact and adjusted its orientation. That last modification was significant, Schatorjé explains. ‘Now it fits in a 19 inch rack, the industry standard. And because it is less deep, there is more space for free air behind it, allowing us to keep the passive cooling with cooling fins. No dust and much less maintenance. In addition, those ribs give the OnBoard Server the ruggedness one associates with maritime shipping.’

OnBoard is a young company with limited resources. But that doesn’t need to be a problem, says Schatorjé. ‘This project is a perfect example of how to get your product to a maximum result with minimal complexity.’

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