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Modular testing gains popularity due to DUT sophistication

Posted: 11 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:modular instrument? test equipment? PXI?

A research from Frost & Sullivan has unveiled a change in how tests are being performed by engineers. The data has revealed an increasing adoption of modular instruments that are due to higher device under test (DUT) or product sophistication and the integration of RF in many devices.

The market for modular instruments that has achieved $524.3 million revenue in 2010 is forecast to reach $1.17 billion in 2017. Apart from changing the way devices need to be tested, Frost & Sullivan stated that Moore's Law is improving the functionality of modular instruments. For instance, while RF with PXI was almost an impracticable concept a decade ago, today this type of instrumentation in small forms offers high performance.

"PXI instrumentation has strongly benefitted from technology innovation in semiconductors and more specifically, processors, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and data converters," said Frost & Sullivan industry director, Jessy Cavazos. "Advancements in FPGA capabilities are extremely useful in test and measurement applications, wherein customers need highly deterministic and fast processing capabilities."

Although these product improvements bode well for the modular instruments testing market, manufacturers are challenged to replace traditional instruments. While users are expected to shift to modular instruments, they still predominantly use traditional rack-and-stack modes due to product familiarity and ease of use.

Last year, traditional instruments accounted for almost 85 percent of the total market revenue for general-purpose test equipment worldwide. Even though its revenue share is decreasing, it will continue to remain a prominent revenue generator in the next five years.

"Modular instrument vendors should not only convey the instrumentation's ability to lower the costs of tests and address specific needs, but also focus on lesser-known advantages such as scalability," added Cavazos.

As the complexity of devices will increase the need to integrate the test at the beginning of the design process, customers will be attracted to the products' ability to scale, leveraging R&D investments, and bridging the gap between R&D and production throughout the product lifecycle.

- Colin Holland
??EE Times

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