Increasing reuse no longer applies to just large automated test systems. Electronic design and validation engineers are experiencing similar needs for improved productivity through increased measurement efficiency and reuse in the lab. One of the key factors driving the need for increased productivity in the lab is the rising complexity of today's electronic devices. The rapid growth in device functionality results in longer design verification and validation cycles that often cause delays in new product introductions or result in poor design quality.
While design and test engineers share a similar need for test reuse in the lab and on the production floor, their means for achieving increased reuse differ. Reuse in automated test typically involves maximizing the investment in software development efforts and measurement hardware. It is difficult for design engineers to measure themselves exactly by these guidelines because the majority of their time is spent adjusting knobs and dials on benchtop instruments and recording measurements rather than programming test code. Thus, design engineers should focus their attention on how they can perform more measurements in a shorter amount of time to maximize their use of lab time.
Improving measurement efficiency in the lab begins with identifying aspects of the design verification and validation process that consume the most time. This includes tracking time spent on repeated measurements, correlating measurement signals, programming instrument control applications, and reconfiguring shared instruments. Next, design engineers can apply new tools, such as National Instruments SignalExpress™ software, to reduce greatly the time spent in each of these areas.
NI SignalExpress is an interactive measurement environment for performing ad hoc and automated measurements in the lab. Using SignalExpress, design engineers can control multiple instruments and perform a variety of measurements from a single software user interface. In addition to performing single measurements, engineers can save instrument configurations and measurement routines for repeated measurements as SignalExpress projects that they can easily reuse. Engineers also can use SignalExpress to quickly correlate signals acquired from multiple devices or channels on a given device. They can import simulated results from SPICE software tools for side-by-side correlation with measured results. The SignalExpress sweeping and limit test operations also save engineers time when they perform stimulus and response measurements across a range of frequency, voltage, or current settings.
Design engineers can greatly increase measurement reuse and productivity in the lab by identifying the major bottlenecks and applying measurement automation tools such as NI SignalExpress. To learn more about SignalExpress, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/3860-539.
Reusability: For design engineers,
it is essential to be able to save instrument configurations and
measurement routines for repeated