Features - Test/Measurement

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      Scoping portable requirements (25/10/2017)

      All products need testing, both in the design and development phase, as well as once they move into production – with different requirements at each phase. Another consideration sometimes overlooked is the need for engineers to test products post-manufacturing in the field.

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      Laser-based PCB assembly inspection (20/09/2017)

      Electronic products typically have stringent testing requirements, particularly as the PCBs that power them have become more complex, miniaturised and mass-produced. Accurately and repeatedly inspecting PCB assemblies improves product quality and ensures reliability in use, helping to reduce the negative impact of field failures and product recall events, ultimately improving brand reputation. But doing so has traditionally been both difficult and costly.

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      Q&A: the pros and cons of renting T&M equipment (13/09/2017)

      As technology evolves, even everyday devices are becoming ever more complex, with electronics, connectivity and intelligence being built into ‘smart’ versions of virtually everything we own or use. This increases demands on R&D and test functions, necessitating a wide range of specialist test equipment and making it vital that it is kept up to date and fit for purpose. This can be a challenge for companies investing in T&M kit – and renting can provide an alternative option.

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      Experience solves legacy test problems (25/08/2017)

      The test function has always been among the most challenging processes in electronics manufacturing. How can test equipment keep ahead of the sub-assemblies it needs to validate? In theory, it should be easier when testing legacy products, but successfully developing futureproof solutions requires not only knowledge of the new, but also experience of the old.

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      Are you in safe hands? (17/08/2017)

      If you had to nominate a safe pair of hands, healthcare and medical practitioners might rank at the top of your list. However, the medical technology (MedTech) they rely on is in a vulnerable state.

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      Identifying RF interference sources with automatic IQ capture (17/08/2017)

      IQ (in-phase/quadrature) capture is a feature of modern spectrum analysers that helps engineers with in-depth analysis of RF signals. However, while it allows engineers to analyse the signal type being captured, it doesn’t always easily meet user requirements for triggering the capture in an automated way. This article explains how SCPI programming can be used to capture signals that exceed specified thresholds to help identify sources of interference. 

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      The role of DevOps in electronics design and test (28/07/2017)

      Turn the pages of any IT publication right now and it’s hard to avoid the term ‘DevOps’. An increasing number of firms in the electronics and semiconductor industries are also beginning to adopt this software development methodology.

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      Accuracy in aerospace (18/07/2017)

      During the late 19th century, the Wright brothers began experimenting with  the concept of air travel. After years of research, observing the angle of birds’  wings and the engineering of bicycles and motors, they finally succeeded in 1903.

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      Testing MIPI interfaces with the R&S RTO oscilloscope (15/05/2017)

      Many components in modern smartphones communicate with each other via interfaces standardised by the MIPI Alliance. R&S RTO oscilloscopes can analyse these interfaces’ signal integrity and data content with maximum efficiency to quickly locate errors.

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      EMC Regulatory Compliance does not ensure functional safety (12/05/2017)

      One of the biggest problems faced by all electrical and electronic equipment is that of electromagnetic interference (EMI). However, what's peculiar is that, despite the rising use of devices that are susceptible to EMI, until recently there have been no clear guidelines for EMC as regards functional safety. Here, Keith Armstrong, worldwide EMC specialist at EMC Standards, looks at how engineers can ensure that EMI will not cause excessive functional safety risks.

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      A new approach to highly parallel wafer-level reliability systems (12/05/2017)

      With semiconductor content increasingly appearing in everything we use today, it is becoming even more important to ensure that semiconductor devices maintain their performance over a given lifetime. Reliability testing has long served as a method for semiconductor manufacturers to ensure this. Not only is the number of semiconductor devices growing, but their complexity is also increasing as innovative processes reduce device geometries and add integrated technologies, such as wireless connecti

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      Addressing Legacy Test System Replacement (12/05/2017)

      Companies and government entities continually struggle with ways to extend the life of their test equipment and systems. Military contracts require test support for the life of the program which can be a 15 to 20 year requirement. Similarly, high value, mission-critical electronic products which rely upon functional test also exhibit extended lifecycles.

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      Drive down the size and cost of test with PXI and AXIe (12/05/2017)

      Across many industries, manufacturers are transitioning from standalone benchtop instruments to modular test platforms. For some, the move towards modular is essential as they address the test challenges of multichannel technologies, cost and time-to-market.

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      PXI – 20 Years of growth and evolution (12/05/2017)

      20 years ago, National Instruments proposed a new standard, PXI (PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation), and the following year, the PXISA (PXI Systems Alliance) was established as responsible for managing the specification and evolution of the standard.

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      Impact of security trends on test equipment (03/04/2017)

      As organisations look to shore up their defences against cyber-security threats, special-purpose test systems present unique challenges. A test system that is compromised can have a significant impact on an organisation’s reputation and revenue, so it is reasonable to take steps to reduce that business risk.

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      DisplayPort over Type-C – Overcoming cable assembly test challenges (06/01/2017)

      Immediately after the release of the USB Type-C connector specification, VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) readied the DisplayPort technology to operate as an Alternate Mode (Alt Mode) over this new connector.

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      Time-correlated analysis of signals found in embedded designs (15/12/2016)

      The staggering need for cost-­efficient and powerful communications and control electronics for ­industry, motor vehicles and the entertainment and smart home sector is driving the integration of electronic circuits.

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      Throughput testing in TCP/IP based networks (15/12/2016)

      Communication networks have evolved greatly in recent years to the extent that all-IP wired and wireless hybrid networks are now a reality.

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      Product complexity causes over testing (15/12/2016)

      As well as being fit for purpose and functional, products must be able to meet the applicable regulatory standards in order to be legally brought to market.

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      How do you ensure that medical devices are functionally safe? (03/11/2016)

      Ensuring the functional safety of medical devices is critically important for designers and manufacturers as these devices can impact the health and wellbeing of the operators that use them and patients that rely on them.