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Amplicon

Automated Test System Amplicon

Channel Master, the world's largest manufacturer of satellite antenna systems, is now enjoying the benefits of an automated test regime developed for its Low Noise Block Converters (LNBs) thanks to Amplicon's system intergration expertise.


 

Featuring VEE Pro data acquisition software from Agilent together with arbitrary waveform generators and USB to GPIB converters - all specified and supplied by Amplicon - the new test platform has been designed to replace a previous manual measurement system.

As a result, Channel Master is now assured of faster processing speeds and improved data analysis capabilities, thereby enhancing production efficiency and significantly shortening design cycle times.

"Responsiveness and technical expertise have been major factors in the success of this project," comments Stuart Roberts, Channel Master's Project Engineer. "Right from the outset we looked to Amplicon as a key partner, offering us full design-in support and product knowledge in developing our new test processes."

The Project - A Route to Automated Testing

With a relationship that dates back four years, Channel Master approached Amplicon to assist in developing a test procedure for its LNBs that could provide fast and reliable data analysis at its UK Research & Development facility in Blackburn.

Roberts observes: "We first went to Amplicon to help find a solution that would enable us to secure data from the test rig and store it for evaluation using an effective software platform. The result had to be a process that could be adopted globally across all our sites, including our production unit in Shanghai."

A combination of a low noise amplifier technology, and a microwave downconverter for optimum noise performance, the Low Noise Block Converter is the key component in Channel Master's satellite antennas for domestic broadcast markets, principally in the USA. Converting a high frequency band between 3.7GHz and 4.2GHz to a lower frequency band between 950 and 1450MHz at the antenna feed, each LNB provides high performance satellite television reception.

"It was therefore essential that Amplicon have a complete understanding of our needs," continues Roberts, "since we looked to them to work with us in providing full management of any technical issues and to respond quickly to any problems that might arise.

Amplicon identified Agilent VEE Pro as an ideal solution, eventually combining it with 33120A arbitrary waveform generators and USB to GPIB converters from the same manufacturer. The result is faster data processing speeds and greater measurement analysis capabilities, enabling Channel Master to maintain its dominance in the market.

"We are delighted with the outcome of this project," concludes Roberts. "During the development period we were able to take an outline concept through design to implementation and draw on the technical expertise of both ourselves and Amplicon to translate that potential into a viable testing procedure."

 
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