As companies trim their engineering staffs, engineers are burdened with connecting, verifying, and checking test setups. Such tasks, which can often take weeks, are "low-value" jobs and often relegated to non-engineering staff. As a result, engineers have little time to spend on "high-value" customization and optimization.
Recognizing this, Agilent Technologies came up with a standards-based test kit that shortens the time low-value tasks take to just one hour. The kit consists of a USB/GPIB converter, Test Express software, a Test Module with a wiring harness, 200 example programs, and two hours of consultation with Agilent systems experts.
"We've just eliminated weeks of low-value automation test setup time," says Dave Karlin, R&D planning manager. "They can now create new test systems much faster, optimize the speed of execution, and adapt the system to new modules rapidly."
The kit works with a variety of graphical languages, including VEE, LabView, Excel, VB6, C#, and VB.Net. It hooks to a wide range of Agilent test equipment and can be connected to other vendors' instruments via GPIB cables.
With the USB/GPIB converter (Agilent part #82357A), there's no need to disassemble the I/O connection. The Test Express software loads drivers, identifies and configures systems, and runs tests for the above languages.
Agilent also will make available the test kit with an economy configuration test setup of Agilent instruments for under $10,000 as well as a high-capacity rack-mount configuration for under $20,000. The kit costs $1995.
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