NIWeek formally convened May 22 with a press conference coupled with an academic session and alliance partner meetings. At the press conference, Shelley Gretlein, vice president corporate marketing, said NI has 1,000+ alliance members, serves an online community of 300,000+ members, and offers 10,000+ instrument drivers and 1,000+ sensor and motor drivers.

At a keynote session the following day, Alex Davern, president and CEO, welcomed attendees with a promise to help them shrink time to productivity and time to market. He also led a standing ovation for company cofounder Dr. James Truchard, who has retired as CEO and remains chairman of the board.

CompactDAQ with TSN
Courtesy of National Instruments

A key product release at the event was LabVIEW NXG 1.0, the first release of the next generation of LabVIEW engineering system design software. The company said LabVIEW NXG bridges the gap between configuration-based software and custom programming languages with an innovative new approach to measurement automation that empowers domain experts to focus on what matters most—the problem, not the tool.

“Thirty years ago, we released the original version of LabVIEW, designed to help engineers automate their measurement systems without having to learn the esoterica of traditional programming languages. LabVIEW was the ‘nonprogramming’ way to automate a measurement system,” said Jeff Kodosky, NI cofounder and business and technology fellow, known as the “Father of LabVIEW.” “For a long time we focused on making additional things possible with LabVIEW, rather than furthering the goal of helping engineers automate measurements quickly and easily. Now we are squarely addressing this with the introduction of LabVIEW NXG, which we designed from the ground up to embrace a streamlined workflow. Common applications can use a simple configuration-based approach while more complex applications can use the full open-ended graphical programming capability of the G LabVIEW language.”

The company said LabVIEW customers will have access to both LabVIEW NXG 1.0 and LabVIEW 2017.

NI introduced several other new products throughout the week:

  • A series of 28-GHz radio heads for NI’s mmWave Transceiver System includes the mmRH-3642, mmRH-3652, and mmRH-3602, which will help further 5G development efforts—enabling the first commercially available full transceiver of its kind that can transmit and receive signals with up to 2-GHz bandwidth in real time, covering the spectrum from 27.5 GHz to 29.5 GHz.
  • ATE Core Configurations deliver core mechanical, power, and safety infrastructure to help users accelerate the design and build of automated test systems in industries ranging from semiconductor and consumer electronics to aerospace and automotive. ATE Core Configurations help simplify the design, procurement, assembly, and deployment of smarter test systems at a lower cost and shorter time to market by empowering test organizations with a platform for standardization. These 19-inch rack-based configurations are available in various rack-unit heights and offer scalable power profiles to match the needs of nearly any application and geography.
  • The integration of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) into CompactDAQ builds on NI’s announcement at last year’s NIWeek to add TSN capability to CompactRIO. The integration results from the introduction of the new cDAQ-9185 and cDAQ-9189 multislot Ethernet chassis.

Other companies also introduced products and technologies:

  • Astronics Test Systems debuted its ATS-3100 PXI integration platform, which the company describes as a “starter system-in-a-box” that enables engineers to create and configure new test, measurement, or other systems based on the PXI architecture.
  • Bloomy Controls demonstrated its new EFT Module for TestStand, which, the company said, helps automated-test customers accelerate the process of moving functional test into production. The company described the new software as a complete functional-testing framework for the NI TestStand test executive.
  • imec and Cascade Microtech, a FormFactor company, announced the successful development of a fully automatic system for prebond testing of advanced 3D chips. Prebond testing is important to increase the yield of 3D stacked chips. The new system enables probing and testing of chips with large arrays of 40-µm-pitch micro-bumps on 300-mm wafers. The system won the “Electronics and Semiconductor” 2017 National Instruments Engineering Impact Award.

A closing panel discussion gave industry luminaries opportunities to comment on what inspires them. “Dr. Truchard commented that not everyone will be working on autonomous vehicles, but all of us will be affected professionally and personally by the underlying technology. Radar, LiDAR, and other technologies used in autonomous vehicles will become available for other applications. “If you don’t want to be disrupted, you better understand how these technologies affect you, your company, and your job,” he said.
NIWeek 2018 is scheduled for May 21-24 in Austin.

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Rick Nelson
Rick became Executive Editor for EE in 2011. Previously he served on several publications, including EDN and Vision Systems Design, and has received awards for signed editorials from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He began as a design engineer at General Electric and Litton Industries and earned a BSEE degree from Penn State.

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