Design engineers and technicians are quickly incorporating new methods for accelerating the product development process. Minimizing the amount of time spent on redundantly developing common test tools is one approach that many engineering teams are using to drastically speed new product development. The results speak for themselves in a faster product introduction and a 30- to 50-percent reduction in test development costs. Reaping the rewards of accelerated product development requires today's engineering teams to maintain focus on using limited development time for programming design specific tests and avoiding the temptation to spend countless hours developing tools that are readily available off-the-shelf.
National Instruments provides a variety of off-the-shelf, integrated test software tools for streamlining product development. In addition to LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, and Measurement Studio for Visual Studio .NET test development environments, National Instruments offers NI TestStand test management software, DIAdem data analysis and management software, and NI Switch Executive switch management software to eliminate key bottlenecks in the product development cycle.
National Instruments TestStand (www.ni.com/teststand) removes a key bottleneck associated with organizing, controlling, and executing automated prototype, validation, and manufacturing tests. TestStand eliminates the hundreds of man hours in development effort traditionally required to program common test executive tasks through a ready-to-run test management software framework. With TestStand users can quickly assemble test sequences by calling tests written in any programming language including LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, Visual C/C++, Visual Basic .NET, and C#. TestStand is also built on a high-speed, multi-threaded execution engine to deliver the performance to meet users' most rigorous testing requirements.
Processing test data into results needed to drive engineering decisions is another common bottleneck slowing the product development process. National Instruments' DIAdem (www.ni.com/diadem) addresses this bottleneck with an off-the-shelf tool for managing, inspecting, analyzing, and reporting test data. NI DIAdem includes a powerful data management interface that imports data from many different file formats and industry-standard databases. In addition, DIAdem can be used to visually inspect and interactively analyze data sets with over 1 billion values. The DIAdem reporting capabilities also save a significant amount of time creating publication quality reports to assist others in understanding users' test data.
Another bottleneck involves automating the connection of hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of test points in a product under test to measurement and stimulus hardware. National Instruments Switch Executive (www.ni.com/switchexecutive) greatly simplifies this process through an interactive switch routing tool. Using NI Switch Executive, users interactively define and name switch routes that they later call from their test programs. To define a switch route, simply choose the endpoints to connect within the route editor and NI Switch Executive finds an available route, even across multiple switch devices. Users can also input signal characteristics and alias channel names to further simplify the management of your switching system. Once a route is defined, it remains constant to ensure calibration accuracy.
Incorporating integrated, off-the-shelf test software tools such as NI TestStand, DIAdem, and Switch Executive will quickly accelerate users' product development process by delivering application-specific features based on feedback from thousands of engineers and hundreds of man years of development effort.