VTI’s products and systems are used to monitor and record data that characterizes the physical integrity and performance of aircraft, engines, and other large structures, and help to automate the functional testing of complex electronic systems where signal switching subsystems play a critical role. Knowing we address applications that range from flight safety to troop security to critical infrastructure defines our ongoing commitment to product performance and quality. Customers demand measurement fidelity and performance from their test equipment; whether the signal type is a voltage, current, resistance, temperature, pressure, or strain, few companies can match our capabilities.
Our modular Core switching and I/O products address a broad range of applications, regardless of platform, allowing our customers to pick the best product for their application.
What Is Switching?
Switching generally involves using relays, contactors, or solid-state components to open, close, and route circuits for testing purposes. These relays can be small-signal data acquisition switches, devices used in high voltage switching, or anything in between.
Why Is It Necessary?
In a manufacturing environment, production test determines whether a product is meeting a company’s quality standards. Therefore, test results must be accurate and reliable otherwise the quality of the product can come into question. By automating a test, errors associated with human intervention are eliminated. Automated tests also have the additional benefit of reducing test cycle times, thereby increasing production throughput capacity. At VTI Instruments, our switch products are beneficial to a variety of automated test applications:
Precision measurement switching usually involves dynamically routing signals to a high accuracy measurement devicesuch as a 6.5 digit DMM. For example, a switch/measure system may be used to monitor the voltage across each cell in a battery string with a single DMM. In this application example, the switch is used to sequentially connect the DMM across each individual cell.
VTI switch/measure systems incorporate advanced triggering functions that facilitate communication between the switch and measure device to significantly reduce overhead and increase the overall speed of the measurement cycle.
High Speed Switching Solutions
When test cycle time is of paramount importance, or when a test system stresses a switching system through repeated use in a high-volume manufacturing environment, solid state switching is often used due to its inherent fast on/off times and virtually infinite life. Because there are no moving parts, solid state switches can be used without concern regarding mechanical failures.
Solid state switching typically is used in low-level data acquisition applications where the switched voltages are less than 10 V thereby limiting the scope of use. VTI incorporates solid state relays capable of switching signals up to 250 V, providing a very versatile switching system that can be used in a variety of applications.
Most pieces of electrical or electronic equipment require power to be operational. During automated tests, the most practical way to connect or disconnect power or turn on or off discrete signals is through relays controlled by the testing software to properly sequence power on/off cycles. With solutions that extend to 30 Amps, VTI covers a wide range of power switching requirements.
High Voltage Switching Solutions
Switching high-voltage signals (>500 V) requires specific design techniques that must be considered. Connector I/O and traces on boards must be spaced appropriately in order to ensure that there is no arcing between pins.
VTI offers high density switching solutions that extend to 1000 V. Our high-voltage switching systems are deployed in many systems across the world.
A crosspoint matrix switching architecture allows the connection of many inputs to many outputs and is therefore the most flexible switching architecture as there is no restriction in the number of simultaneous connections that can be made. However, there are trade-offs relating to signal integrity that can make or break the success of a test system. Matrices introduce unterminated stub paths that can cause reflections that degrade a signals. Increased channel densities can result in signal carrying traces that are too close together thereby increasing crosstalk.
At VTI, we design our matrix switching solutions on platforms that allow us to maximize channel density without sacrificing the integrity of the signal being switched.
Certain applications require switching signals that operate at extremely high frequencies. These applications require specially engineered relays that don’t degrade the signal or cause interference. We have mastered the art of switching signals with frequencies from DC to 40 GHz and beyond.
What Sets Us Apart?
AT VTI, our goal is to help you get the right data the first time and every time. We do everything we can to ensure integrity in our instrumentation that will provide you with switching solutions sure to produce quality data for years to come. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today!