By Larry Desjardin, Modular Methods
The modular instrument industry just became a bit more interesting. Cobham will be introducing a suite of modular products based on AXIe. Expect the introduction in early 2016.
For those of you without a scorecard, Cobham purchased Aeroflex in 2014. Aeroflex has been a major player in modular instrumentation for many years, focused on mil/aero and wireless test applications. In 2003, Aeroflex brought their first RF instruments to PXI.
If you are unfamiliar with AXIe, please read my recent tutorial here. Essentially, AXIe is the big brother of PXI. It shares similar PCIe fabric on its backplane, but offers higher power, cooling, and module volume. It is aimed at high performance instrumentation and processing. It also promises higher rack density, a point that is well illustrated by the Cobham products.
AXIe is an open standard where modules and chassis from multiple vendors can be mixed and matched. The standard is managed by the AXIe Consortium. It was at a recent AXIe Consortium summit meeting that Cobham unveiled their upcoming products. After all, the products can’t be kept a secret and guaranteed to be interoperable at the same time; they must be tested. I am pleased to have been given permission to write about this, even before the formal launch. This column, Test Cafe, focuses on architectural and industry topics related to modular instruments. Cobham’s introduction has implications for both.