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Happy birthday, PXI!

The PXI Systems Alliance is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the PXI (PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation) specification, the PC-based modular I/O platform for test, measurement and control systems.

The PXI standard was introduced in 1997 as a modular instrumentation platform for measurement and automation applications that require high performance and a rugged industrial form factor. With PXI, engineers and scientists can select chassis, controllers and modules from multiple vendors and integrate them into a single PXI system.

Today there are more than 1,500 PXI products available from over 70 companies, including Agilent Technologies, Geotest, Keithley, National Instruments and Pickering.

“The success of PXI over the past 10 years is evident not only in the number but also the diversity of applications using the platform,” said Loofie Gutterman, president of the PXI Systems Alliance. “From testing the controllers of the Microsoft Xbox 360, to testing the electronics on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, to operation in nuclear power plants, PXI has a proven track record of delivering highly reliable and flexible automated test systems.”

With PXI already being used in a wide range of industries and applications, the future of the platform in new applications looks just as encouraging with the integration of PXI Express. Announced in 2005, this new addition to the PXI specification offers the highest bandwidth, lowest latency and best timing and synchronization of any test platform, and will contribute to the rapid adoption PXI has experienced in its first 10 years.

“By integrating PXI Express into the PXI platform, we are giving engineers and scientists the ability to address challenges that previously required expensive, custom proprietary systems,” said Mark Wetzel, technical chair of the PXI Systems Alliance. “PXI has become the standard for measurement and automation applications, and we look forward to continued growth of the platform.”

According to industry analyst S Vidyasankar, from Frost and Sullivan, more than 13,000 PXI systems were deployed in 2006. Frost and Sullivan projects that the PXI market will experience more than a 23% compound annual growth rate through 2012, with a 2012 revenue of more than $671 million. The rapid expansion of PXI is expected to continue well into the future with more and more vendors adopting the platform to solve an increasing variety of application challenges.

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