Improving Test Efficiency on a Limited Budget – A Measurement Timing Case Study

Authors: Steven R. Nichols, Rick Burge, Steve Stafford

Antenna test facilities are large investments that are expected to be used for decades. Some facilities are wellmaintained with periodic upgrades to the latest equipment, while others attempt to minimize changes to the existing system due to the difficulty of recertifying test procedures or lack of sufficient budget. Meanwhile, antenna designs and test processes continue to evolve and require more extensive antenna performance data packages than ever imagined when the test facility was initially installed. As a result, total test times may grow exponentially, thus limiting range throughput. The size of collected data files can also become extremely large, even exceeding the capacity of some common commercial databases.

This case study illustrates that periodic evaluation and optimization of system test processes and measurement timing can sometimes pay large immediate dividends in range throughput and productivity. In addition, by creating an accurate system measurement timing model, sensitivity studies can easily be conducted to provide guidance in selecting the most effective alternative test plans or incremental investments in new equipment.

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