A world leader in the development and supply of intrinsic safety explosion protection devices.
The customer wanted to develop a fully automated version of their existing functional test rig for a new range of Intrinsic Safety Isolators. One aspect of this was the replacement of the existing VXI-based low-thermal EMF switch matrix due to its slow switching speed and obsolescence considerations.
Constructing a matrix of this size (55x33) is cumbersome using small form factor modules such as those used in PXI. Connecting multiple modules together to expand the X and Y axis dimensions requires many modules and awkward cable assemblies that result in the solution being both large and expensive. The large size and complex interconnect would create the opportunity for the generation of thermal EMF's - a parameter the user was concerned about since the matrix was to be used to work with low voltage signals as well as larger voltage signals.
With no COTS solutions available on the market, Pickering agreed to design a new product to suit the specific switching requirements. Due to the large number of crosspoints (>1800) and the stringent thermal considerations, the new matrix was housed in a 2U high 19- rack-mount LXI-compliant chassis. Following successful integration into the customer's test rigs, this product is now commercially available fitted with either reed or electro-mechanical relays.