AUTOTESTCON will be offering 4 tutorials on Monday, September 11, for an additional fee. Please find the tutorial fees on the Registration page.

VXI, PXI, IVI, LXI and AXIe Standards Improve ATE Systems Design

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Instructor and Moderator: Bob Helsel, Executive Director of VXIbus, LXI, AXIe Consortia, and PXI Systems Alliance. Director of Services, IVI Foundation
Bob Helsel, Bode Enterprises – Introductions and Overview
Charles Greenberg, Astronics Test Systems – VXIbus
Mike Dewey, Marvin Test Solutions – PXI
Reggie Rector, NI – PXI Express & PXImc
Chris Miller, Keysight Technologies -AXIe

Joe Mueller, Keysight Technologies – IVI
Steve Schink, Keysight Technologies – LXI
Bob Helsel, Bode Enterprises – Q/A and Close

Description: The VXIbus Consortium was formed in 1987 with a charter of defining a multivendor instrument-on-a-card standard. Since that time, the Consortium has defined system-level components required for hardware interoperatibility. The IEEE officially adopted the VXI specification, IEEE 1155, in March 1993.

The VXIbus architecture is currently a well-established architecture used extensively in military, aerospace and commercial applications. However, many test engineers have no personal experience with it, or would like to brush up on its basics, as it will be around for another 10-20 years. We will cover the approval in 2004 of the VXI-1 Rev 3.0 spec, which again doubles the backplane speed to 160MB/s. And we will cover the approval of VXI 4.0 and its improvements in speed and flexibility. VXIplug&play standards are the software equivalent to the VXI hardware specifications, and are the definition to which all VXI drivers are now written. This software standard has formed the bedrock for many other software developments, such as Interchangeable Virtual Instrument (IVI) drivers.

PXI is a rugged PC-based platform for measurement and automation systems. PXI combines PCI electrical-bus features with the modular, Eurocard packaging of CompactPCI and then adds specialized synchronization buses and key software features. PXI is both a high-performance and low-cost deployment platform for applications such as manufacturing test, military and aerospace, machine monitoring, automotive, and industrial test. Developed in 1997 and launched in 1998, PXI is an open industry standard governed by the PXI Systems Alliance (PXISA), a group of more than 70 companies chartered to promote the PXI standard, ensure interoperability, and maintain the PXI specification.

This modular instrument standard rapidly gained acceptance and can be viewed as a companion standard to VXI, (or by some as a replacement). This hardware standard will be discussed in detail, as will its expected impact on the market. An update will be provided on Enhanced PXI specifications and their implementation, including Low Power Chassis. PXI Express and PXI MultiComputing will be explained with a review of PXI express products and their potential applications.

The Interchangeable Virtual Instrument (IVI) software standard, which has been extensively revised and expanded, will be covered with the latest information available. The IVI Foundation was founded in 1998 and incorporated in 2001. The purpose of the IVI Foundation is promoting specifications for programming test instruments that simplify interchangeability, provide better performance, and reduce the cost of program development and maintenance. IVI Instrument drivers have been available for about 14 years. New Specifications for Digital Test, Counter/Timer, and Signal Oriented test plus LXI triggering and sync will also be discussed.
The LXI Consortium is 13 years old now, and was formed to standardize the way instruments can be connected and controlled via the Internet in a Local Area Network. Extensions for discovery, triggering and synchronization, browser interface, initialization, and programming are all part of the extensions being considered in this standardization effort. We will introduce the latest release of the LXI Specification as well as the introduction of new LXI compliant products that are now available. The LXI Consortium is the first T&M standards organization to release a reference design, LXI Reference Design, V1.3.
An emerging test and measurement standard called AXIe, AdvancedTCA eXtensions for Instrumentation, is expected to find wide acceptance within the Automatic Test Equipment community as it offers many key benefits. It is expected that a large number of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) signal conditioning, acquisition and processing modules will become available from a range of different suppliers. AXIe uses AdvancedTCA® as its base standard, but then leverages test and measurement industry standards such as PXI, IVI, and LXI, which were designed to facilitate cooperation and plug-and-play interoperability between COTS instrument suppliers. This enables AXIe systems to easily integrate with other test and measurement equipment. AXIe's large board footprint, available power and efficient cooling to the module payload allows high density in a 19" rack space, enabling the development of high-performance instrumentation in a density unmatched by other instrumentation form factors. Channel synchronization between modules is flexible and provided by AXIe's dual triggering structures: a parallel trigger bus, and radially-distributed, time-matched point-to-point trigger lines. Inter-module communication is also provided with a local bus between adjacent modules allowing data transfer rates up to 10 Gbits/s in each direction, for example between front-end digitizer modules and DSP banks. AXIe is a next-generation, open standard that extends AdvancedTCA® for general purpose and semiconductor test. First specifications were released in June 2010.
This comprehensive update on the development of commercial standards for the ATE community should not be missed by anyone concerned with current and future ATE systems design and integration.

Diagnostics and Design for Built-In Test

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Instructors:  Dr. John W. Sheppard, Montana State University and Dr. David Carey, Lockheed Martin

Description: With advancing technology and increasingly complex electronic systems almost every test approach has had to settle for lower fault coverage, more difficulty in diagnoses and all at greater costs. Today’s Production and Maintenance Test Engineers need to get involved with embedded test, diagnostics, and Design for Testability (DFT) enabled designs. However, the details of these test methodologies often remain a mystery. This tutorial leverages previous material, offered in the past at IEEE AUTOTESTCON, to provide a comprehensive overview of the Built-In-Test & Diagnostics challenges and solutions.

The Design for Built in Test section of the tutorial introduces terminology and concepts. Various implementation issues are addressed as the tutorial moves through test strategies, circuit implementation, and test methodologies. BIST developments, already in place for the past several years, and greatly accelerated in the past few years, have not only made component-level, board-level & system-level BIST possible to run after system deployment, but it has also made hierarchical BIST feasible. With hierarchical BIST, diagnostic resolutions can be greatly improved, and self-testing, self-diagnostic, even self-prognostic systems are achievable. Some of the topics included are: introduction to Built-In-Self-Test (BIST), Boundary Scan (JTAG), Fault Models, and Functional vs. Structural Test. This tutorial is designed to provide a foundation of knowledge that will enable you to take full advantage of the benefits associated with BIST and associated technology.

The diagnostics section of this Tutorial provides an overview of traditional and more recent approaches to system-level diagnosis and prognosis. The emphasis is placed on different system modeling approaches and the algorithms that can be applied using resulting models. The Tutorial will review the basic issues and challenges in system diagnosis and prognosis. Fundamental terms and concepts of fault diagnosis will be presented with focus being given to historical approaches and the needs from the perspectives of the Department of Defense. Central to this part of the Tutorial will be a continuing discussion of how one handles uncertainty in the diagnostic and prognostic process. It will include recent developments in applying Bayesian techniques and extensions such as hidden Markov models, dynamic Bayesian networks, and continuous-time Bayesian networks to fault diagnosis and prognosis. Prognosis will be related to the diagnosis problem in the context of “predictive” classification, and Bayesian extensions will be discussed. Within the context of the prognostics discussion, a new model emphasizing risk mitigation will also be introduced.

Throughout, the Tutorial will draw upon experiences of the instructors and participants to highlight issues related to diagnostic and prognostic development within defense and commercial environments. This Tutorial is aimed at professionals in all areas of support, including reliability, maintainability, and logistics, as well as engineers and managers from design, test, and quality assurance.

CANCELLED: Automatic Testing from A to Z

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Instructor and Moderator: Craig Stoldt, BAE Systems

Description: This Tutorial provides a complete overview of the world of ATE from a practical engineering and management viewpoint. Beginning by examining the ATE interfaces and their limitations, it offers managers and project engineers a quick and purposeful insight into the probable sources and causes of potential technical and management problems. Working from the interfaces, the Tutorial explores analog and digital test methods, examines the impact of new instrument technologies and covers the basics of switching systems and pin electronics.


The Tutorial will explore the elements of ATE Software, examining the role and the limitations that they impose at the TPS level. ATE languages will also be discussed and the different language types analyzed to determine their effect on ATE and TPS performance. Software now makes up over 50% of almost all military systems, so no discussion of Automated Testing would be complete without exploring the need to consider functional SW performance testing as an integral part of the ATS environment. The Tutorial will discuss the impact of the growth in SW, look at some catastrophic examples of what happens when we inadequately test software and discuss test requirements and methods. The Tutorial will conclude with a discussion of recent changes in DoD acquisition strategies and their potential impact on the future of ATE. Interoperability, net-centric operations, nanotechnology and smart sensors are high on OSD’s wish-list for new systems and will become an inherent part of the test and maintenance process.

CANCELLED: ATE and TPS Management

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Moderator: Craig Stoldt, BAE Systems


Tony Conard, US Navy

Craig Stoldt, BAE Systems

Richard “Rick” Foyt, US Marine Corps

Dan Christenson, US Air Force

Description: This four-part Tutorial is designed to cover the controversial and challenging issues of managing ATE and TPS development. This session is a must for all industry and government ATE/TPS managers. As with the morning ATE session, it focuses on real world situations and explores areas of frequent problems.

The presenters represent leaders in both government and industry.  Their experience includes managing ATE specification, acquisition and implementation for industry applications ranging from dedicated Avionics development testing through long term production support activities. The government perspective focuses on the acquisition and sustainment of widely distributed ATE systems and TPSs that must be acquired, rigorously tested, fielded and maintained for many years with new applications implemented as the needs dictate.  They will discuss the inherent problems with long term maintenance of fielded ATE, acceptance of TPSs, logistics planning for both station and TPS upgrades over their fielded lifetimes and TPS rehost as ATE systems become unsustainable.

Part I - TPS Acquisition – Tony Conard, US Navy

This session explores processes and challenges facing the government Acquisition Manager, associated with implementing policy while attempting to deliver rapid capability to the warfighter.  It provides in-depth insight on acquisition topics and processes from Acquisition Planning, including the implementation of Systems Engineering, RFP development, Acquisition oversight, testing and fielding.  The NAVAIR Generic OTPS RFP (NGOR) is a crucial component of the NAVAIR acquisition process that provides a standard tailorable RFP for the procurement of Operational Test Program Sets (OTPSs).  Tailoring Program requirements to fit the appropriate support posture will also be addressed. While this session covers requirements and issues faced by the military in acquiring TPSs from a Navy perspective, the acquisition topics and challenges covered focuses on areas that are common to DOD OTPS procurements and management.

Part II - TPS Development Management - Craig Stoldt, BAE Systems

This session will discuss the various challenges that a TPS development program must overcome to be successful.  We will define the measurable objectives to be obtained in the technical, schedule and quality arenas.  These objectives can only be met through the management of resource availability.  Each discipline involved requires timely access to documentation, physical assets and various support personnel.  We will outline the flow of this development process from contract inception through the phases of TRD design, review cycles, ATE acquisition, ITA fabrication, software coding, personnel scheduling and acceptance.  As each contract or internal project is different, this modular approach should help the user assess those areas that are pertinent to their needs and apply the “lessons learned” presented to their own needs to facilitate a successful TPS development project.

By planning a program as if it were its own design and development product project, an organization can minimize the loosely controlled concept of test development being just a tail end of the “real” development effort of the prime hardware.  This session will highlight the phases of development and the points in the process that can be assessed for review to prevent false starts and major cost and schedule impacts. 

Part III - Managing in a Dynamic Environment - Rick Foyt, US Marine Corps

This part discusses the various reasons a TPS Engineer, Quality Engineer and Management will encounter changes with the development platform and environment during TPS Development. It will focus on the various management tools, programmatic actions and options that are available to the TPS & ATE developers and managers.  Each of the ATE change categories from relatively simple to a system in Engineering Development will be reviewed and discussed along with evaluating the corresponding impact to TPS management and product acceptance of both the ATE and the TPS baseline.

It will provide a candid discussion of the magnitude of the challenges from each type of change category, along with the options of how to best overcome them with minimal impact to the project. Real world examples experienced by the US Marine Corps will be shared, highlighting the final results. Options and examples of TPS product acceptance and lessons learned will also be shared.

Part IV - Depot TPS/ATE Management – Dan Christenson, US Air Force

This session covers the tasks and challenges faced by the USAF in managing its Depot ATE and associated TPSs.  It will lead attendees through the roles and responsibilities of a variety of stakeholders involved in the management of these two interdependent commodities. Included will be the distinct paths available to the Depots and their customers for replacement or acquisition of Depot ATE and TPSs.  One avenue to be explored will be that of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) process.  The CIP is frequently used in USAF Depots when replacing obsolete ATE and re-hosting the associated TPSs. We will also explore how Depot ATS capability may be acquired using the Depot Maintenance Activation Planning (DMAP) process used when transitioning or starting up a Depot repair workload from a weapon system OEM or Prime.  From weapon system, supply chain, Depot, and product group managers, this session will seek to provide information on how Depot ATE and TPSs are managed throughout their lifecycle.

 In addition to the four major parts covered, the tutorial instructors represent four major players in TPS and ATE, namely, the US Navy, a civilian contractor, the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force.  Questions peculiar to any of these entities can be addressed by someone close to the issue.