PXI: 20 years young – and still growing

Author : Loofie Gutterman, President of PXI Systems Alliance (PXISA)

04 May 2018

Credit: www.pxisa.org
Credit: www.pxisa.org

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of PXISA. Few people predicted the success of PXI in 1998, when the PXISA was formed with only a handful of products available. Initially perceived as a low-performance platform, PXI has since far exceeded users’ expectations – becoming the dominant modular standard for T&M systems.

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Today, PXI delivers high-performance products and solutions for a growing range of test applications, and as this piece explains, it is difficult to conceive of a new T&M project that would not include PXI components, with many test systems employing PXI as the core platform.

From its modest beginnings, with just four members in 1998, PXISA membership has grown to more than 65 companies, with vendors now offering thousands of PXI and PXI Express (PXIe) products. From initial simple data acquisition offerings, PXI has evolved to become a versatile, high-performance platform that supports all segments of the T&M market, including mil/aero, communications, semiconductor, automotive, IoT and much more.

20 years after its introduction, PXI is now the dominant modular T&M platform – and continues to grow at a faster pace than the general T&M market, with PXI annual sales growth of greater than 15% predicted from 2015 to 2022 (source: Frost & Sullivan).

So how did this all happen? The growth, the acceptance, the performance and the dominance of the PXI platform? PXI has certainly benefited from many advancements in electronic component technology. The pervasiveness of high performance FPGAs and advanced SoC (system-on-chip) devices has been a key enabler for instrument suppliers who have continually added more functionality and performance into compact instrument packages.

Similarly, technology advancements with RF components have enabled instrument vendors to develop new RF and microwave products that are compatible with PXI’s compact form factor. However, simply offering great products alone does not guarantee customer acceptance of a standard or technology.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

One of the primary factors contributing to PXI’s growth and acceptance has been the PXISA’s ongoing commitment to evolving the standard, while at the same time maintaining backward compatibility with current PXI products.

Indeed, over the years, the PXISA has continually upgraded and evolved the PXI standard to accommodate new technologies and capabilities into the platform, ensuring interoperability and providing a standard that is capable of addressing both current and future test needs.

Additionally, the PXISA’s website (www.pxisa.org) offers users and members a central location to learn more about the standard and its applications – as well as offering a monthly PXI newsletter, which highlights PXI applications, news and new products.

In 1998, few people would have predicted the types of advanced PXI products being produced today, or the test applications now being addressed by PXI. Today’s PXI products and systems are now addressing a wide range of applications for the semiconductor test, radar, 5G, automotive and IoT markets.

Ensuring interoperability, keeping pace with ongoing technology advancements – and of course maintaining relevance for emerging products and standards – are all key factors contributing to the success of PXI. And it is why we can expect to see continued growth and acceptance of this platform during the next decade.

Happy birthday, PXISA: 20 years young in 2018 – and still growing!

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