August Product Spotlight: The ALPHA Rugged Computer

Rugged Solutions for Rugged Environments 

Not all electronics are built to withstand the operational and environmental challenges faced in the mining industry. Balancing performance and durability in a setting that often requires continuous operation simply isn’t possible without a ruggedized solution. Today’s mining fleets demand electronics designed to meet modern computing specifications and built to comply with industrial environmental standards.

Digital Systems Engineering has spent the last 25 years doing just that. As a seasoned design-build manufacturer that develops products for military, aerospace and industrial applications, DSE has built a reputation on its rugged design.

In this month’s product spotlight, we’re taking a look at the ALPHA, a rugged computer engineered for industrial fleets. As one of DSE’s signature products, the ALPHA family of computers have proven their performance both in the lab and in the field on haul trucks, fracking trucks and excavators. Keep reading to see what makes the ALPHA the ideal rugged computing system for the mining industry.

The ALPHA Rugged Mission Computer: Key Product Features

Upon first glance, it’s clear the ALPHA was designed with extreme environments in mind. Its aluminum enclosure is fully-sealed to meet the IP67 standard, preventing ingress of dust and water. Going beyond its durable enclosure, the ALPHA’s modular architecture allows for the use of the latest Quad Core 7th Generation Intel i7 processors, proving rugged design doesn’t require compromise when it comes to computing power.  The ALPHA Computers can easily accommodate Atom and ARM based CPUs.

The ALPHA also features a 10-36VDC wide range power input and battery backup. Should the ALPHA experience power loss while in use, the 120 second backup protects and shuts the system down properly. 

Anticipating high vibration and shock applications common in the field, the ALPHA was designed without moving parts or fans. Its solid state hard drive provides additional durability and is expandable up to 1TB.

When it comes to the system’s inputs/outputs, the ALPHA offers peripheral support through 5 USB, 4 serial and 5 GPIO ports. To support interconnected network communications, the ALPHA also features a fully integrated ethernet hub and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch. Additional on- board systems, that include dual channel GPS, WiFi, Cellular, Dual CANBus, 3D Accelerometers, and Mini-PCI Express (mPCIe) expansion slots make the Kodiak an ideal all-in-one solution for a variety of applications.

Field Tested Rugged Computing

With a variety of robust features, on-board systems and opportunities for customization, the Kodiak appears to be a powerful solution for the mining industry. But, before a product can be fully validated, performance in the field and in third-party testing is critical.

As with any of its rugged electronics, DSE applied strict scrutiny to the ALPHA in a variety of testing scenarios to ensure environmental compliance. The ALPHA was operationally tested at temperatures between -40°F to 160°F (-54°C to 71°C), simulating the conditions that would be experienced by a product used across the globe. 

The ALPHA was also subjected to multiple 3 axis vibration tests, similar to off-road MIL-STD 810 profiles. While affixed directly to the shake table without isolating mount provisions, the product performed high-end computing processes without the slightest malfunction.

Finally, the true measure of the ALPHA’s performance under environmental stress is best demonstrated by its use in the field. Throughout 2020, ALPHA products have accumulated over 30,000 hours in the mining industry without failure. 


The ALPHA is the perfect candidate for employments in heavy industrial fleets and military vehicles alike. Partners working in open pit mines have utilized the ALPHA to run fleet management software, monitor thorough-put efficiencies, manage safety systems, store and and report vehicles diagnostic health and deliver the touch screen interface to the vehicle operator (in tandem with the rugged DLX08 touch screen). 

Additionally, the ALPHA finds utility in military applications, supporting battle management systems, allowing Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and permitting countless communication channels for auxiliary devices. Mission objectives such as ISR, situational awareness and vehicle status can all be accomplished with one system.

Balancing power and performance, the ALPHA offers an all-in-one system engineered for rugged applications.

If you want to learn more about the ALPHA, or any of DSE’s rugged solutions, we encourage you to contact our team at