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Our name and website have changed to reflect our growing range of capabilities and offerings -- pre-owned test equipment sales and leasing, test & tooling calibration and repair services, and asset management solutions for your entire inventory.
What hasn't changed? We're the same company and people that you've come to rely on since 1992. MAT delivers Assurance across the Test Equipment Lifecycle.
Last week, we began analyzing the economics of test automation by discussing its cost, from development to deployment to operation. But looking solely at cost can make the decision to adopt test automation both intimidating and lopsided, so we should also consider the benefits that we can reap from automation.
This week, we look at 5 benefits that test automation can bring to your organization: higher workforce productivity, yield improvement, better test throughput, high scalability, and quality improvement.
Perhaps your organization has been manually testing products over the years and is now mulling over the possibility of automating these tests. The decision to switch from manual to automated testing can often be a tug-of-war between management and engineering. From a management standpoint, costs and ROI are of considerable concern since it involves a certain amount of investment to make the switch. From an engineering perspective, automated testing should lead to better yield, higher productivity and improved quality, which would ultimately translate into cost savings.
When you are deciding to buy a piece of test equipment, you would very likely look at its datasheet to ensure that it can perform within certain key specifications important to testing your product. After the purchase, you rely on this equipment to ensure the quality of your products. Over time, you need to make sure that the equipment continues to perform within its original specifications, in order to ensure the validity of your product test results. In other words, can you be sure you are actually shipping only good products, and rejecting every bad one?
This is where calibration comes in.
Welcome to our series of Step-by-Step posts - a no-frills series that gives you a general, illustrated step-by-step guide to get your job done. This, our first post in the series, guides you on how to make filter measurements using a network analyzer.
Calibration is a traceable process that ensures your measurement instrumentation is performing reliably within its specifications. It is also one of the unavoidable costs of test equipment ownership – a cost that you continue to carry as long as you operate the instrument in an environment that demands reliably accurate measurements. The pressure to reduce maintenance costs in any business is a reality, and even more so in those organizations that use multiple test instruments. So can the cost of calibration be reduced in the long term? Some companies have done so by extending the calibration interval time or time needed for recalibration.
Have you ever been in the uncomfortable situation of needing to take electrical measurements of a high voltage inverter while it is in operation where you are at risk of incurring an electrical jolt? Perhaps your job requires you to monitor electrical measurement for some duration at high places which are difficult to reach? How about making measurements in a hazardous environment with unbearable heat, intolerable audible noise level and surrounded with poisonous gas? If some of these risky situations describe your job, you may be pleased to know that there are some measurement instruments that can help you do your job with better safety, by staying away from it. Literally.
In the first part of this series, we saw that using an attenuator in a high RF power measurement scenario posed several disadvantages and may require quite a bit of effort to minimize those problems. So, is there a more robust and advantageous method to perform high power RF measurements with your power meter? The answer is yes.
Power is perhaps the most frequently measured quantity in RF measurements, typically done using an RF power meter. What do you do when you are armed with a power meter (rated up to +30 dBm) and have to measure the output power of a 100 W transmitter? Intuitively, you might try to plug in a high power fixed attenuator to bring the power down to a safe level measurable by your sensitive power meter. Sounds sensible right? On the contrary, you may find yourself getting frustrated over unstable and inaccurate power readings.
Cable faults can happen both during site installation and over time. Despite the best effort to protect these cables, they are still susceptible to the various environmental stresses and sometimes, extreme weather conditions. Eventually, degradation of cable performances or even physical damages occur. Since the combined length of the cables between the antenna and transceiver equipment could reach hundreds of feet, the sooner you know where faults occur along the line, the sooner you can resolve the problem, and the better your customer satisfaction ratings.
Power supplies are such basic tools, with many options commonly available to consumers, that it’s easy to overlook their finer points. For example, many include multiple outputs. Also, multichannel units with high output accuracy are available at increasingly economical prices. Still, no equipment budget can afford every “bell and whistle” so it makes sense to determine which applications really demand a multichannel power supply and which ones don’t. Here, several questions to ask when determining your power supply needs.
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