Features - Test/Measurement

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      Simulating the tough challenges with PXI (03/05/2018)

      The testing requirements nowadays include factors such as increased sensor simulation, fault insertion, higher data rates and increased precision. All of this must be accomplished while increasing test throughput and lowering costs. As this piece explains, in many cases, the solution has been PXI – which has proved a remarkably flexible platform.

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      Applications that benefit from PXI oscilloscopes (03/05/2018)

      Oscilloscopes offer a variety of features that are optimised for capturing, displaying and analysing signal waveforms, making them the tool of choice for many benchtop test applications. But as this piece explains, thanks to PXI, ATE environments can now benefit from these same features – including large displays, touch operation, waveform zoom and simple controls that enable the acquisition of difficult-to-capture errors and anomalies.

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      Thermochromism compensation enables 100% inline inspection in plastics production (07/03/2018)

      Naturally, for consumer devices, colour (or multiple colours) is a key consideration, both from a branding perspective and to make the product as appealing as possible to consumers. However, verifying correct colour consistency via inline inspection is challenging for manufacturers. This piece discusses a potential solution for production lines.

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      Cellular connectivity for IoT: the case for NarrowBand-IoT (06/02/2018)

      As the economies of scale provided by the 3GPP ecosystem help drive down prices, NB-IoT will apply well to long-range connectivity of devices with low data rate, low mobility requirements. This piece reviews why testing of low cost IoT devices is still critical to ensure optimum battery performance and minimal interference.

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      Do more, with less: the challenges of maintenance in a digital & wireless world (02/02/2018)

      As the IoT continues to proliferate and touch nearly every point in our lives, the need to manage the maintenance of millions of wired and wireless endpoints in hugely complex networks becomes a daunting task. This piece outlines some of the key challenges and potential solutions.

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      The benefits of cloud computing in the manufacturing industry (16/01/2018)

      The domestic canary isn’t what many of us would consider an obvious tool for industrial labour. Today, connectivity advancements and cloud computing are making industrial environment monitoring much more sophisticated than the former. As we enter the era of the smart factory, COPA-DATA discusses the benefits of cloud computing for the manufacturing industry.

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      Testing and deploying the next generation of technology (02/01/2018)

      NIDays, National Instruments’ annual graphical system design conference and exhibition, brought together several hundred like-minded engineers and scientists from many industries at a brand-new venue, Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher. This piece reports on the event.

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      How to manage test & measurement flexibly in these rapidly changing times (04/12/2017)

      Enabled by technology, many areas of industry and society are arguably now experiencing the fastest rate of change in human history. As this piece explains, the core technologies, including electronics, that underpin most modern devices and systems are becoming ever more complex – and this accelerating innovation is putting additional strain on test functions.

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      Challenges in wireless test system design (10/11/2017)

      People are increasingly relying on their wireless and mobile devices to manage email and banking – and even to download or stream music, on-demand TV and movies. With consumers demanding ever higher mobile data rates and better signal integrity, wireless providers are developing new techniques to improve connectivity and achieve higher peak mobile data rates.

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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