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How to implement a compact and flexible automated test system

02 April 2024

The implementation of a multifunction automated test system for the design validation, component test, and production test of industrial, consumer, vehicular, medical, and other electronic systems requires a variety of test and measurement instruments. The large number of sensors used in modern designs requires multiple analogue and digital channels, and a given test bed must be able to scale easily and cost-effectively.

Meeting these requirements can be challenging using standalone test equipment. Instead, designers can opt for a modular approach using a standardised form factor, like PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXI). Doing so can provide the flexibility and productivity gains necessary for a rapidly changing, multifunction and multichannel test environment, while keeping costs to a minimum.

Why use PXI?
As test beds become more complex, the use of standalone equipment results in multiple screens, front panels, line cords, and slow instrument computer interfaces. This leads to confusion and unnecessary errors that extend test time and reduce productivity. Additionally, updating or reconfiguring “rack-and-stack” test systems to add features such as more channels can be difficult and expensive. Single-function instruments require the exchange of the whole instrument to change functionality, and the associated communication, synchronisation and reprogramming complicate the issue.

Read the full article in DPA's April issue

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