Why is National Instruments the global leader in automated test and measurement solutions? It’s because they continue to develop and produce flexible, reliable tools that are useful for a variety of industries. One such example is National Instruments’ SLSC platform. This product solution was the 2018 winner of an Engineering Impact Award in the Aerospace and Defense category.
What is SLSC?
SLSC stands for Switch, Load, and Signal Conditioning. This add-on solution works seamlessly with other NI solutions like PXI and CompactRIO. The basic set consists of a chassis with RTI modules and several simple cabling attachments. NI and various other partners produce components that can be used with SLSC.
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The SLSC chassis provides the necessary framework and support to pair various components together for test and measurement solutions. Larger than a standard PXI chassis, an SLSC chassis can hold more and handle communication and cooling tasks.
SLSC modules are where the real test and measurement magic happens. A variety of NI or partner-designed modules fit within the chassis to provide signal conditioning, switching, or load simulation for your chosen signal paths. In fact, companies can choose from a variety of third-party modules or create customized modules using a hardware and software module development kit (MDK) from NI. Modules share data and draw power from either the SLSC chassis or outside connections.
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Rear Transition Interface (RTI)
This is a choice feature that allows for standard connections between SLSC modules and commercial off the shelf (COTS) cables and other modules. This allows for faster, simpler plug-and-play versatility when combining and switching test and measurement components.
Cables are not usually considered part of a test or measurement solution, but it is one of SLSC’s greatest strengths. With this platform, there won’t be slow and error-prone wiring between different banks of modules. SLSC allows for a variety of cabling solutions so engineers can split out and combine a virtually endless array of signal paths.
Uses for SLSC
Modern technology continues to use embedded software in more and more applications. One such example is in the aircraft industry. In the case study mentioned above, Saab partnered with NI in developing SLSC for use in creating testing solutions for new Gripen E fighter aircraft. By using SLSC solutions, Saab can perform real-world simulated load testing on critical flight control and safety systems without putting an actual aircraft and pilot in the air. This saves valuable time and resources and is much safer.
Saab has plans to integrate SLSC into more simulator equipment for testing Gripen E platforms, resulting in a lower cost of testing while speeding multiple test applications. This is due to a faster build time using the standardized COTS SLSC platform, ready-use cabling, plug-and-play modules and interfaces, and easy availability of all needed components through NI.
Any industry developing products that use embedded software will find the SLSC platform a cost-effective, reliable, and easy-to-integrate test and measurement solution for real-world, under-load simulations.
Growing the SLSC Ecosystem
National Instruments can leverage a global array of experience from a broad range of industries as they create new technology. This, in turn, allows them to design reliable COTS solutions that serve a variety of industries. At the same time, many NI solutions, like SLSC, are open platform in design, allowing other partners and companies to create their own custom solutions for specific applications. This only means great versatility and usefulness as the SLSC ecosystem expands to serve more companies and their unique needs.