21 Jun 2012
NI Highlights Trends in Test
At the NI Automated Test Summit held on 21st June at Madejski Stadium in Reading UK, Luke Schreier outlined some of the main trends that National Instruments are seeing in the test scene these days.
The increasing complexity of devices and a growing number of RF devices creates some very challenging test scenarios for engineers.
To meet these challenges there are a number of techniques and technologies that can be adopted. One of the main areas is in adopting a system level approach because the increasing complexity means that board level test is not always a viable approach.
However to successfully fully test many modern devices at system level requires a good understanding of the test techniques available. For example it is necessary to have a flexible reconfigurable hardware platform for the instrumentation, and this needs to be paired with an equally productive software environment that enables the developer to take full advantage of the hardware.
Another element is that test needs to be considered and integrated at the earliest design stages. This speeds up the validation process of physical prototypes as well as ensuring a much better test coverage.
In addition to this, sharing of algorithms between the development and the test also ensures faster development, faster discover of issues and more speedy handover to the final test solution.
It is also necessary to view test as a strategic asset. Traditionally test has been viewed as an unwanted cost centre, not adding value to the product. In today’s environment, companies that see test as taking a vital role in adding to their competitiveness are able to utilise the dividends that an integrated and up to date test philosophy can provide. For example there have been companies that have built a test philosophy that enables them to undertake a 100% test of the functionality of each unit. This has enabled them to ship very high quality product or which they are able to charge a premium, thereby more than paying for their investment in test.
Said Luke Schreier: “Given the complexity of today’s devices under test, engineers need to take a proactive approach in understanding future trends that will affect automated test so that they will be able to have a much better competitive edge.”
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