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August 20, 2014

Study: PXI Lowers Costs; Manufacturers Try to Ease Integration


A recent study shows that PCI extensions for instrumentation (PXI) can lower testing costs within various industries but that some business customers are still finding it hard to switch from legacy testing methods. In response, supporters of PXI are trying to break open the market my providing services and tools that will make use of the standard more appealing and easier to use.

New market analysis from technological research firm Frost and Sullivan, "PXI Market to Change the Face of the Test and Measurement Industry," shows that the PXI market reached global revenue of $563.3 million in 2013, and the firm expects the industry to continue to rise to $1.75 billion by 2020. This growth will affect the aerospace, defense, and electronics industries, the company says, but it may not come easily because not all customers are ready to adopt the PXI platform.

Frost & Sullivan Test and Measurement Industry Director Jessy Cavazos, mentioned the industries that may drive this growth.

"Besides the uptake in RF wireless communications, the global PXI market will get a leg up from new programs in aerospace and defense and integration of wireless technologies in the industrial and consumer electronics industries," Cavazos said. "Additionally, it is finding opportunities in the semiconductor automatic test equipment market."

This growth, however, may be stunted by the long history engineers have with legacy systems. Cavazos points to "rack-and-stack test systems" versus PXI. Understandably, engineers are comfortable with certain technologies, and even though PXI may provide benefits above and beyond what legacy systems can achieve, it can be hard for anyone to step outside his or her comfort zone.

Providers of PXI systems are trying to sweeten the deal of adopting their systems by providing engineers with services and tools that will make switching as simple as possible. In addition to stand-alone PXI testing systems, software and hardware providers are also bundling their products with built-in support for new testing methods so there is no hindrance from the internal architecture of engineers' products they use most often.

Considering ease of use, one recent example of this embedded support comes from ADLINK and its new PXI express embedded controller. The controller offers a design that allows it to easily connect to standalone instruments and reduce maintenance with dual BIOS backup capabilities. This sort of extra effort made by device manufacturers will certainly be necessary if PXI is to continue on the path that Frost and Sullivan expects. Devices will need to be easily compatible with other hardware and software in order to get engineers to switch more quickly to the new technology that may offer them savings in testing they regularly complete.




Edited by Rory J. Thompson


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