Pickering looks to pick up on NI test woes
Pickering Interfaces has announced a formal approach to tackling obsolescence when maintaining automated test equipment (ATE) as competitor NI is up for sale.
In highly regulated industries like defence and automotive, changing significant components, software, or processes in a test system can trigger a demand for that test system to be re-certified, a process that can cost anywhere from $1m to $100m.
Managing obsolescence and reducing the impact is key to Pickering’s growth in its modular signal switching and simulation business. This approach builds confidence in prospects and creates continued business, says Keith Moore, CEO of Pickering.
“Mission-critical products with long lifecycles have components that need to be tested decades after they were manufactured and their initial test systems were designed,” said Moore. “When instrumentation providers discontinue components in those test systems – these companies, often in aerospace/defense, railway transportation, or power, are left stranded, trying to find a replacement or facing an imminent and costly test system redesign.”
The approach has three elements.
The first is planning for obsolescence during the design phase. Pickering engineering teams evaluate complete plans and anticipate upcoming industry challenges to ensure there’s a test solution to meet full demands.
Using standardized platforms such as PXI and LXI modules allows for standard solutions that are more easily evolved.
The third element is to ensure long-term support. Pickering commits to support modules designed into customer system for the entire product lifecycle, even redesigning modules when necessary.
This comes as US PXI supplier National Instruments is up for sale.
“If customers previously standardized on competitor platforms and now face obsolescence without a path forward, Pickering often can adapt modules to match form, fit, and function of the original hardware,” says the company.
Pickering’s products are specified in test systems installed throughout the world with direct operations in the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, France, Czech Republic and China and additional representation in countries throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. It serves all electronics industries including, automotive, aerospace & defence, energy, industrial, communications, medical and semiconductor.