Recent Success Story: Using Pickering’s PXI and LXI Switching Products in an Automated, Highly Accelerated Stress Screening Test Solution
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Pickering Switching Success Story

Using Pickering’s PXI and LXI Switching Products in an Automated, Highly Accelerated Stress Screening Test Solution

The Customer:

TBG Solutions - Success Story using Pickering's PXI & LXI Switching Solutions

TBG Solutions is a national UK test, measurement and control business. TBG works with customers to understand their requirements and, on identifying the principle challenges, engineer robust solutions that combine hardware and software. The company has delivered over 300 successful projects over the past 15 years and has maximized the use of technology to meet its customers’ ever changing demands.

“Our team decided on using Pickering Interfaces’ PXI & LXI switching products in this test system as they provide both flexibility and maintainability so we will be able to take advantage of them both now and into the future.” - Steve Bale, TBG Solutions

The Application:

Manufacturing flaws and reliability problems can cause mission-changing and even catastrophic or fatal consequences, as well as significant financial penalties, in the avionics defense industry. To mitigate these problems, original equipment manufacturers are required to perform highly accelerated stress screening (HASS) testing to ensure on-going product quality and reliability by exposing latent defects in components and assemblies. HASS testing is a form of product stress test designed to improve reliability by characterizing failures and using the information to improve the design or manufacturing process. Temperature and vibration cycling are commonly performed during the HASS testing process.

TBG Solutions needed to develop a solution to test three avionics remote input/output printed circuit boards (PCBs) simultaneously. This necessitated performing multiple procedures per Unit Under Test (UUT) in parallel, each having 500 test points encompassing a wide variety of signal types while situated in a HASS chamber. The previous test system, which was GPIB and VXI based was just too slow to get the results needed in a timely manner.

The Solution:

Pickering’s 18-slot LXI Chassis with PXI Switch Modules
and LXI Matrix Module

TBG Solutions worked closely with Pickering Interfaces, who specializes in providing modular switching solutions for use in automated production test and measurement solutions, to design a fully automated test system that utilizes Pickering’s PXI and LXI switching products.

This test system performs 50,000 electrical tests, including voltage, resistance, current, capacitance, frequency, phase, and trip, on three parallel units residing in a HASS chamber. The test system generates and executes HASS profiles and operators can exclude or include specific tests and adjust temperature and vibration levels and ramp rates. The fully automated parallel testing involves aircraft simulation, a two-part firmware download, highly accurate capacitance measurements, and load trip testing.

TBG Solutions designed and built the complete system using CAD and computer-aided manufacturing, and controlled it via National Instruments’ LabVIEW and TestStand. They decided to utilize a Pickering 18-slot LXI Chassis (model 60-103B-001) incorporating a full suite of Pickering’s PXI switch modules, including high power, matrix, and RF switches, along with three Pickering LXI Matrix modules (60-551-024 256X4) with Built-In Relay Self-Test (BIRST) in order to facilitate extremely accurate, flexible and easy-to-perform measurements. TBG created an interface driver for each instrument within the system, and the commonality within the Pickering software API allowed them to combine these drivers and other components together seamlessly to create flexible test sections that could then be sequenced on the fly. TBG took advantage of switch parallelization to test the three units as a batch, starting and ending the testing simultaneously.

Read the rest of the story here >>  

LXI or PXI Switching for Automated Test Systems?
eBIRST Switching System Tools

Is there a better platform to use for switching in automated test system? The answer is no, both the LXI and the PXI standards bring different advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are trying to accomplish. For companies that embrace both the LXI and PXI standards for their switching systems, it is a question of what they decide is the appropriate solution for their application. PXI and LXI are sufficiently different - there will often be clear cases where one option is better for a particular solution than another.

LXI instruments are largely platform agnostic whereas PXI is very dependent on the PC architecture (and in many implementations, Windows). LXI devices do not have many mechanical or electrical constraints, but PXI products must conform to the PXI standard to benefit from the multivendor chassis platform. They also can have quite different data speed drivers.

To see more on the comparison of LXI and PXI switching for automated test systems, click here a look at this article in Evaluation Engineering

You can also visit our Knowledgebase for articles pertaining to switching platform selection.


We know that switching systems are an important part of many test systems and accidents can happen that can cause a faulty device. When this happens, you need to be able to get your system up and running as quickly as possible. 

This is where our eBIRST tools come in — they will:

  • Quickly determine if switching system has faults
  • Identify where that fault is located at relay level and allow you to take fast corrective action
  • Save repair costs 
  • Minimize downtime of the switching system

Learn more about eBIRST here >>

Pickering Interfaces designs and manufactures modular signal switching and instrumentation for use in electronic test and simulation; with the largest range of switching cards in the industry for PXI, LXI, PCI, and GPIB applications. Our products are specified in test systems installed throughout the world and have a reputation for providing excellent reliability and value.

Pickering operates globally with direct operations in the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, France, Czech Republic, and China; as well as additional representation in countries throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. 

Contact us to learn more about our products: or call +1 781-897-1710

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