October 28, 2011

National Instruments Expands High-Density Switching Capabilities for PXI


National Instruments today introduced eight new relay cards that expand its NI SwitchBlock line of high-density switching solutions for PXI systems. The new cards offer additional simultaneous connections and new differential measurement capabilities for high-channel-count switching applications. Engineers can choose from the expanded selection of NI SwitchBlock cards to create a custom matrix of relays that meets their specific requirements. Designed specifically for demanding automated test systems with large numbers of channels, the NI SwitchBlock cards provide an intuitive option for switch configuration, routing, programming and maintenance in a variety of test applications in military and aerospace, transportation and for general-purpose automated testing. 

The set of new relay cards includes multiple two-wire switches for differential measurements and 16-row switches that give engineers an increased number of simultaneous connections for large switching applications. All cards take full advantage of the innovative NI SwitchBlock architecture, which simplifies connectivity through internal column expansion. The NI SwitchBlock comprises an expandable carrier that accommodates up to six relay cards while occupying just four slots in a PXI chassis. Engineers can combine up to four NI SwitchBlock carriers to create internally routed matrices with as many as 8,832 crosspoints in a single PXI chassis.

The new cards also integrate with NI Switch Executive switch management software to give engineers the ability to graphically configure their switch systems one relay at a time for total control, or automatically route signals across multiple relay cards simply by specifying endpoints. This high level of abstraction helps engineers to quickly and efficiently begin developing their application. By combining NI Switch Executive with NI LabVIEW system design software, engineers can abstract numerous route groups to easily configure, program and maintain large matrix configurations. All NI SwitchBlock solutions also include the new NI Switch Health Center software, which increases long-term system reliability by automatically running onboard diagnostics that verify relay continuity and display relay count information.

Additionally, engineers can combine the NI SwitchBlock with mass interconnect solutions from MAC Panel and Virginia Panel, which provide a single rugged connection point between multiple NI SwitchBlock connectors and a test fixture. This further simplifies wiring for large matrix configurations and helps engineers streamline hardware integration and reduce test setup time.

To learn more about the new relay cards for NI SwitchBlock, readers can visit www.ni.com/switchblock.

About National Instruments
National Instruments (www.ni.com) is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype and deploy systems for measurement, automation and embedded applications. NI empowers customers with off-the-shelf software such as NI LabVIEW and modular cost-effective hardware, and sells to a broad base of more than 30,000 different companies worldwide, with its largest customer representing approximately 4 percent of revenue in 2010 and no one industry representing more than 15 percent of revenue. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has approximately 6,100 employees and direct operations in more than 40 countries. For the past 12 years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.