Close co-operation between Pickering Interfaces and leading systems integrator, LGM Ingenierie, results in successful streamlining of multi-site aerospace validation and production test system

A hybrid PXI and LXI architecture delivers required industry-standard, flexible switching in a compact, cost-effective solution

The Customer:

Aircraft control unitA world-renowned player in the aerospace industry was seeking to streamline the development and production of its avionics LRUs (Line Replaceable Units) at multiple sites by specifying a new test system architecture that addressed both the design verification and production test functions. Pickering Interfaces, a leader in modular switching solutions for test, was approached by LGM Ingénierie, a leading Test bench integrator bidding on the project, to collaborate on the switching and cabling requirements for the new system.

The Objective:

The primary strategy of the avionics company’s program was to use reliable, industry-standard test and measurement resources to deliver compact, flexible, integrated switching solutions that were easy to use and sustainable over a long period, typically 15 to 20 years.

To cover all of the required (and future) testing requirements, the system architecture needed to allow various instrumentation to be flexibly switched to each LRU input/output channel (over 400 points in total), together with the ability to inject simulated faults (e.g., short and open circuits) on these connections. 

A PXI platform, supported by >60 suppliers worldwide, was the preferred option for the test system architecture due to its flexibility and widespread acceptance by the aerospace industry. In technical discussions with LGM Engineering, Pickering presented both its PXI BRIC large matrix family and modular fault insertion solutions. However, due to the large size of the matrix required (>1700 2-wire cross-points) and the end customer’s test system size and budget constraints, it was determined that one of Pickering’s LXI matrix offerings would potentially be a more appropriate solution. 

The ideal product selected was Pickering’s high-density LXI 4x448 2-pole switch matrix (model: 60-556-027) with dual internal analog buses and integrated self-test, housed in a compact 1U, 19” rack-mount enclosure. The unit is fitted with high-quality electro-mechanical relays rated at 2A/60W/300V.

Pickering’s high-density LXI 4x448 2-pole switch matrix with dual internal analogue buses and integrated self-test (model: 60-556-027)
Pickering’s high-density LXI switch matrix (model: 60-556-027)

In addition, Pickering proposed its PXI fault injection modules (model: 40-190B-002) to simulate possible LRU channel failures for the required design validation/verification testing. To minimize test system rack space, these were housed in the company’s LXI/USB 1U six-slot chassis (model: 60-106-001), as the size of the original test cabinet could not accommodate any additional 4U PXI chassis.

PXI fault injection modules (model: 40-190B-002)

Pickering's PXI fault insertion module (model: 40-190B-002)

LXI/USB 1U six-slot chassis (model: 60-106-001)

Pickering's LXI/USB 1U six-slot chassis (model: 60-106-001)


This hybrid PXI and LXI architecture delivered the required industry-standard, flexible switching in a compact, cost-effective solution. 

For the external interconnection to the test system, Virginia Panel’s Mass Interconnect solutions were chosen because of the flexibility and reliability of the interface between the test system and LRU. By using Pickering’s online graphical Cable Design Tool, in collaboration with the end customer, LGM’s engineers were able to design and supply all the required cables for the test system, incorporating all the Pickering and other vendors’ resources.

hybrid PXI and LXI architecture delivered the required industry-standard, flexible switching solution in a compact, cost-effective package

Final test system showing Pickering's switching and cabling

Aerospace production test system showing Pickering's PXI & LXI switching solutions

Close-up of Pickering switching and cabling

A highly positive collaboration

Thanks to the close relationship between Pickering Interfaces and LGM, the companies were successful in their bid, demonstrating a real benefit over competing options. LGM designed the test system, completed the wiring of the cabinet and developed all the application software. This was facilitated by Pickering’s easy-to-use common driver interface that is a feature of the company’s PXI and LXI products, together with comprehensive Soft Front Panels for manual control and debug.

Multi-site & multi-function bench (validation & production) 

The avionics customer will use the test systems developed by the collaboration between Pickering and LGM at both its production plant and by its validation/verification teams, which are situated at another location to optimize resources. Because both teams are using similar equipment, information exchange is greatly simplified. In addition, the same architecture will serve as the backbone for future generations of test systems and validation programs by the company.



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