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Standardisation for the 21st century

18 December 2018

Test organisations have strived for standardisation for years. Early technology standardisation projects aimed to limit the variety of test equipment used in test solutions across the organisation.

With the design and deployment of a modular hardware set, modular hardware has led to higher equipment reuse, better integration of test solutions, fewer obsolete components, and a streamlined process for replacing technology. More maintainable and reusable test systems hold promise for aerospace and defence industry test groups, where there is a large array of products and assets that can remain in service for many decades.

With increasing pace of change and demand for security, modern test organisations need to go far beyond just hardware standardisation and turn to the software layers and the practices used to develop them. In order to keep up with today’s product development teams and maintain project schedules, test engineering teams must begin to adopt and standardise on iterative software development.

Standardisation that doesn’t cover software is incomplete

The basis of abstraction is essentially to identify and separate common elements that can be addressed together. This could be, for instance, the case of identifying shared inputs and outputs across functional components and missile programs to define the requirements of its modular hardware system.

Wider standardisation efforts and a move towards off-the-shelf technology have resulted in modular hardware standards such VXI, PXI, PXIe, and AXIe. These are used in test organisations across many industries. Standard modular hardware platforms abstract redundant elements, such as power supplies, cooling, and user interfaces to single points within the system.

Read the full article in the January issue of DPA

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