Getting to know Ridgetop Group, Inc.

Founded in 2000, Ridgetop Group, Inc. was established to develop advanced tools, IP libraries, and design services for mission-critical applications operating in harsh environments. Achieving functionality and reliability under adverse conditions — whether the stresses stem from extreme temperatures or intense radiation exposure — requires “best of class” solutions. These solutions may involve “radiation hardening” or shielding for microelectronics, and/or “prognostic-enabling” critical systems.

As the firm has grown, commercial firms have realized the value of engaging Ridgetop design capabilities for less-severe environmental conditions as well. Ridgetop has completed many diverse design projects, from high-speed CMOS and SiGe ICs, and digital-to-analog converters (DACs) for MP3 players, to laser rangefinders.
Ridgetop has also successfully entered the test and measurement marketplace. Beginning with the acquisition of Brugge, Belgium-based Q-Star Test in 2011, Ridgetop now provides precision instrumentation to engineering laboratories and production facilities around the world. Ridgetop has leveraged that investment further by developing tools for semiconductor design and manufacturing organizations to characterize the very fabrication processes that they use to create incredibly powerful and complex integrated circuits. In 2013 Ridgetop created a hand-held avionics power bus troubleshooting system and is currently developing advanced tools and methodologies to dramatically reduce the incidence rate of “no fault found” (NFF) conditions when testing suspect boards and modules.

Below are some interesting and unique facts about Ridgetop:

  • Ridgetop has specialized in the development of advanced diagnostic methodologies and products, CBM+, and Prognostic Health Management, ensuring precise identification and isolation of system anomalies and advance notice of impending system failures at the integrated device level for hardware and software for mission critical systems.
  • Ridgetop’s engineers are experts in the field of multivariate data; signal processing – data fusion, data and domain transformation, noise filtering, and mitigation; and processing the data into system state-of-health (SoH), and Remaining Useful Life (RUL).
  • Ridgetop has a unique collaborative design portfolio of IP, specializing in services and products whereby predictive reliability, diagnostics, and prognostics software create value-added results ranging from integrated circuits to complex system design, applicable to both commercial and military applications.
  • Ridgetop has embodied its innovation into a range of products and has been the leader in addressing difficult problems such as “No Fault Found” occurrences in testing of boards and modules, as well as troublesome intermittencies on cable harnesses. The resulting NightHawk™ and SJ BIST products serve to reduce mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and increase operational readiness.
  • Their staff of highly experienced engineers – coming from organizations such as Honeywell, IBM, Tektronix and Texas Instruments – understands how to meet client challenges, providing design and reverse engineering services for complex systems used in harsh aging environments.
  • Ridgetop Group is a privately held company based in Tucson. Arizona. Ridgetop is an AS9100C and ISO 9001:2008 compliant company and is authorized to provide – under GSA System Design – Engineering and Integration and Test and Evaluation, SIN871-3 and SIN871-4, respectively.

Solutions for Every Challenge

Ridgetop Group excels at employing innovative solutions through a broad range of sensor arrays that identify, isolate, and diagnose degradation and qualification though three specific areas:

  • Electrical – Through electrical data analysis, our sensor arrays isolate and obtain degradation data, analyze that data, transmit data wirelessly using our proprietary Sentinel Suite software platform, and allow users to properly measure that information for State-of-Health (SoH) and Remaining Useful Life (RUL) of components such as circuit card assemblies (CCAs) actuators, RF subsystems, power electronics, and I/O interconnects.
    • NightHawk™ NFF Reduction Tool – This next generation of fault detection software uses advanced anomaly detection algorithms to isolate and identify “soft” faults that conventional TPS, such as the USAF’s VDATS, are unable to find. NightHawk™ augments existing program sets with increased test coverage that reduces lifetime maintenance costs, repair time, and needless equipment replacement.
      • Key Features of NightHawk™:
        • Employs user-friendly interactive interface for users to accurately identify and isolate hard to find “soft” faults.
        • Improves test coverage of existing TPS.
    • SJ BIST™ – Solder Joint Built-In Self-Test (SJ BIST) accurately detects and reports instances of high resistance – including intermittent opens – in field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs)-to-board interfaces, connectors, and cables and other high-density electrical interconnection systems. Used for detecting cracks in IC substrates and IC package qualification, SJ BIST detects damage prior to catastrophic failure, is independently tested and verified, works with new processes and equipment, and is endorsed by leading automotive and aerospace customers.
    • ARULE™ – Adaptive Remaining Useful Life Estimator (ARULE) is a powerful state estimator that can determine the RUL and SoH of complex systems through acquired sensor data and employing advanced prediction methods related to extended Kalman filtering (EKF) to produce new RUL and SoH estimates for each new sensor data point.
    • SMRT Probe 4000 – A resonant voltage-sampling sensor that is attached to a module or assembly to extract degradation signatures by injecting a voltage stimulus to measure effective resistance and capacitance, enabling prognostic and degradation analysis.
    • Sentinel Suite™ – This family of tools provides advanced diagnostic and prognostic capabilities for complex critical systems, power systems, and rotational/vibrational systems, interconnects, and network management that can dramatically reduce life-cycle costs.
      • Sentinel IoT – A versatile, low-power sensor that can be used in lab, industrial and factory automation sectors, utilizing its small footprint to be adopted for helicopter gearbox monitoring, composite material monitoring, and railroad rolling stock installations.
      • Sentinel Power – An innovative product line that includes power signature monitoring sensors, prognostic reasoners, and a visualization tool, allowing for the measurement of degradation signatures to provide advance warning of impending failure.
      • Sentinel IT – The product line within Sentinel Suite that provides solutions to improving IT network reliability and network health management (NHM) for the large enterprise deployment and management overview for quick decision making.
  • Physical – Our diagnostic solutions extend throughout a number of applications including heavy industrial applications, diagnosis through profiling air temperature probes on aerospace vehicles, monitoring of rotational, vibrational, and temperature parameters in X-Y-Z axis, photonics-based detection systems that measure stress and strain, and detection technology for determining open and shorts on cables quickly, aiding in the data logging or complex cable harnesses. Most recently, we have developed the CellSageRT™ Lithium-Ion battery monitoring system for power applications.
    • RotoSense – This advanced rotational vibration sensor (RVS) enables easy extraction of high-resolution acoustic signatures from rotating components in harsh environments.
    • RailSafe – This new way for operators of railway rolling stock and tracks measures wheel and track degradation signatures and wirelessly transmits them in real-time.
    • Sentinel SHM™ – Using Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors, structural real time degradation signatures are read from an aircraft, providing more accurate diagnostics than from other stress and strain testing methods.
    • CellSageRT™ – An advanced battery and electrochemical analysis tool that assesses battery condition based on the specific chemistry, usage conditions, and the environment in which it operates.
      • Key Features of CellSageRT™:
        • Can take into account more than 10 environmental and operational parameters, including battery chemistry, temperature and thermal cycling, as well as cell string topology and calculates more than 20 vital health metrics such as aging effects to calculate useful life (RUL).

How Ridgetop Can Work With You

Ridgetop Group products are designed for use by many of today’s most demanding applications and platforms. Our world-class electronic prognostics and semiconductor solutions are used by aerospace, automotive, medical device, industrial, renewable energy, and many more of today’s most demanding automation industries.