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Application Note 5992-0832EN :: One Size Does NOT Fit All / Choosing the Right Instrument Form Factor.
Choosing benchtop, modular and hybrid test systems
The term, test system, represents millions of different possible configurations of test instruments, software, and device under test (DUT) specific test execution programs. Each test system is created based on a specific technology, application, and phase of a product under test development whether it is in research, validation, verification or manufacturing. Some test systems are created for consumer products such as smartphones and tablets and maintain goals of fast throughput, low cost, and easy to configure and update. Others such as satellite payload test, cost several million dollars to manufacture, are complex and must provide high quality measurements to ensure functionality, accuracy and repeatability of the payload while in orbit. With these examples and the endless possibilities for test systems in between, one type of test system cannot provide the answer for all test needs. When it comes to test system development, one size does NOT fit all. This application note discusses how test system configurations benefit from a choice of hardware form factors and software products.
Test systems may be benchtop only, modular only, or a combination of both (hybrid) platforms. There are benefits provided by each of the benchtop and modular instrument platforms that suit specific use models. As a consumer device or specialized instrument moves through its life cycle from inception to final test and production, the test needs evolve. Many research and development test systems benefit from easily adjustable benchtop instruments with front panels. As the device approaches its final design, the measurements become routine and there is an expectation for more repeatable results. Test systems often evolve from benchtop to modular configurations for higher volume test as goals shift to fast throughput, more connections for channels or devices, and smaller size.
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