PXISA President's intro: PXI marches on...

Author : Bob Stasonis | President of the PXISA

01 May 2020

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Hello, fellow PXI supporters! I’m Bob Stasonis, President of the PXI Systems Alliance (PXISA) – and in my second year of stewardship of the PXI standard, I still see plenty of activity, despite the COVID-19 lockdown that much of the world is currently in. PXISA members continue to innovate, introducing new instrumentation, chassis, switching, mass interconnects & other supporting accessories.

This viewpoint was originally featured as the intro to EPDT's 2020 PXI for T&M supplement, included in the May 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Let me talk about one somewhat recent trend. PXI test systems have traditionally been seen as DIY (do it yourself) – in other words, buy the modules, PC, cables, and so on and build it yourself. But it’s interesting to note that in recent years, several PXISA (PXI Systems Alliance) members are creating total systems that have a PXI core. These test systems address devices and subassemblies ranging from automotive, cellular and semiconductor applications. This marketing strategy broadens PXI’s market reach and increases confidence that PXI is the solution for more and more applications. I only wish these members would create a campaign like the ‘Intel Inside’ marketing promotion and mark ‘PXI Inside’ on the test rack!

Bob Stasonis, President of the PXISA

As you read this column and the articles in this annual EPDT PXI supplement, you’ll see evidence that PXI is a still very much a living standard. Even though the standard is now 21 years old, there is an article on recent enhancements in both hardware and software. The PXISA Technical Committee has upgraded specifications to ensure that PXI backplanes have adequate power for the newest measurement instrumentation, upgraded to the latest and fastest version of the PCI Express bus, added Linux support, and made certain that first generation hardware is still compatible with the latest generation chassis. And we continue to recruit more companies to create new PXI modules, both in the west and Asia. PXI is truly a global standard.

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That brings up a point. I want to thank all the people on the Technical and Marketing committees over these last 21 years for their efforts in keeping PXI a relevant standard in T&M. It’s important to note that, apart from one paid employee in the Alliance, all of us are volunteers. Yes, besides our day jobs – and many of us work for competitors in the industry – we engineers and marketers work together to make the standard better for the industry. It is truly an honour to work with these folks.

Last year, I talked about growth in Asia, primarily in China. Well, since then, the China Computer Automatic Measurement & Control Technology Association (www.chinamca.com) has taken an interest in PXI. Founded in 1992, the Association is a mixture of instrumentation vendors, systems integrators and academia. Their goal is to spread knowledge of test & measurement standards and techniques to other Chinese companies, with the hope of having some home-grown standards in time as well. They have reached out to me, asking for help to ensure that anything they do in PXI is compatible with the western standard. The PXISA will likely be joining the association in order to foster closer ties to their members and their plans. I would recommend to PXISA Members with a strong China presence to consider looking at the Association.

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Speaking of China, this year, there will be no physical PXI shows in 2020. The pandemic has caused many events to be cancelled or greatly delayed. The PXISA and I will look into ways we can do something to promote the standard digitally. Plans are still in the early stages, but we hope to host a country wide series of events in the fall. Other shows that have been cancelled are finding lots of interest in these virtual events.

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As you can see, the PXISA and its members are still busy. All in all, when we recover from this pandemic, I expect to see more innovation from PXISA members. If you have questions or comments, please contact me at bob.stasonis@pickeringtest.com – and in the meantime, good luck with your test strategies, stay safe and healthy, and don’t forget PXI!!

Meanwhile, our annual EPDT PXI for T&M supplement (p17 digital issue) includes: a case study explaining how the PXI platform can go from design to test with minimal system changes, adapting to changing requirements & shrinking timelines (p19 digital issue or web version); a review of the recent changes to the PXI specification, including increased module & chassis power capabilities & using PXI on Linux (p21 digital issue or web version); hints & tips on the selection of measurement device for testing electronic assemblies (p24 digital issue or web version); a discussion on the challenges of multiport test (p28 digital issue or web version); and an exploration of how compact, complex switching systems can be created, using signal routing software to guarantee safe programming of interconnected PXI switch modules (p30 digital issue or web version).

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