Big Challenges Require Big Changes
January 22nd, 2019
By Tom Klouda, VP Engineering
Being a leader in a high-tech industry requires diligent attention to new technology, emerging markets, and evolving customer needs. To keep pace means we have to continually invest in our staff and resources. We can’t take our foot off the gas and still be the kind of company our customers expect so we channel a significant percentage of our success back into our company.
2018’s investments brought many new improvements, initiatives, and additions to Elite. Here’s a brief look at a few of the more notable steps we took to fuel the Elite Advantage:
“Technical Expertise, Quick Access to Lab Services, and Best Value”.
New CISPR 25 Chambers
Since our clients rely on Elite’s best-in-market scheduling we added two additional chambers, for now six total CISPR25 Ford/GM/FCA approved rooms. This addition is key to enabling flexible scheduling in helping clients meet rigid validation deadlines.
New CI Test Stations
Elite now has six (6) TESEQ conducted transient immunity test systems. These instruments incorporate signal generators, arbitrary waveform generators, and software that speed setup time and facilitate peak schedule demands.
Nine ESW Receivers
Elite completed the roll-out deployment of its nine (9) Rohde & Schwarz ESW receivers and test automation software. These systems incorporate the latest in swept and time-based FFT receiver technology and are already in use shortening our RF emissions tests.
New Staff & Training
We added two EMC test engineers, bringing our total to 25 qualified personnel just for Automotive EMC testing. Having such a significant manpower resource ensures quick access to services and timely completion of validation tests.
EMC training is another key to success and no other lab provides the depth and breadth of EMC training as Elite. From our efforts, we see better setup and testing consistency, improved troubleshooting, and the ability to quickly identify issues with results. The technical competence of Elite engineers consistently ranks highest in feedback from our customer surveys.
Because projections cite nearly 50 billion wireless connected devices by 2022, Elite has added the personnel and resources to help clients bring their wireless enabled devices to market.
Joining the Elite team in 2018 were Firass Badarazzuman and John Peters. These Moto alumni bring an impressive resume to lead our cellular test and wireless design services.
Firass and John complement our well-established FCC/CE Mark Global services by integrating existing regulatory services with antenna optimization and RF system performance tests for CTIA OTA certification.
CTIA-Compliant OTA Chamber
Elite’s new fully anechoic antenna chamber is configured with the R&S CMW500 cellular emulator for antenna testing and over-the-air cellular metrics like Total Isotropic Sensitivity (TIS) and Total Radiated Power (TRP). Watch Video
ISO 61000-4-x Transients
Our new Teseq transient system reduces setup time and allows Elite engineers to couple pulses on test items that draw higher operating current.
Three Lightning Test Systems
Our commercial aviation clients will benefit from Elite’s third lightning test system for DO-160/MIL-STD-461G. The additional capacity provides more flexible test scheduling and ensures having reliable backups in case of equipment downtime.
60kVA Programmable Power
Commercial aircraft systems are more-and-more electrified than ever. The new Elite 60kW programmable power supply is available for clients having high current single or three phase 400Hz powered systems. Plus this system provides tremendous versatility since it is re-configurable into four separate 15kW units.
Software Upgrades Speed Test Time
MIL-STD-461G radiated emissions software is ready to pair with Elite’s new FFT time-based receivers. This new receiver/software combination will help clients test quickly and efficiently, especially for electric actuators that are not able to operate continuously for lengthy periods of time. Plus, Elite’s radiated susceptibility software now enables more flexibility for starting and stopping RS scans during tests that have long operational run times.
Photometrics Lab Now ISO 17025 Accredited
By having our photometry lab accredited, Elite provides one-stop for all the validation steps required for exterior lighting systems; EMC, environmental stress, and now photometry. In addition, we’ve leveraged our photometry expertise so pre/posttest measurements of photometric properties during EMC or environmental testing can easily be made at Elite, rather than having to return items to the customer for posttest measurements.
Elite provides custom built fixtures and test automation solutions, but now with our 3D printer Elite engineers can build lower cost, highly efficient test support solutions.
New Staff & Equipment
Our environmental team grew by the addition of two new test engineers and our largest temp-cycling chamber came on line. This new chamber provides significant airflow for massive test items and our LN2 cooling and electric heating provides cycle ramp rates upward of 20C/min. Plus a new vibration table was ordered and is expected to come online by February 2019.
Elite’s Other Notable Process Improvements for 2018
Beyond the highlights mentioned above, Elite’s continuous improvements are always in process and occur across all departments and at all levels. The following is a summary of other recent changes, improvements, and initiatives at Elite:
• The efficiency of DO-160 mode-stirring and mode-tuning has been greatly enhanced by using the field intensity calculation of DO-160G.
• A new Absorber Lined Shielded Enclosure was installed to replace a legacy chamber. It’s ready for MIL/Aero or automotive EMC testing. The new chamber will provide Elite clients quicker access to our lab and increases our CISPR 25 chamber lineup to 6 approved facilities.
• Five chambers are now retrofitted with updated equipment test stands to improve test equipment access and to make working space more efficient.
• High definition fiber optic cameras placed in four chambers with others available as needed. Having equipment ready for use saves time and improves productivity.
• We have two approved RI 115 systems, with a third available for GM, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and various other specs with variations on this method.
• We have capability for the new Nissan and Volvo near field magnetic field emissions test from 2Hz to 230MHz, and soon to be 400MHz.
• We have added more fiber optic transceivers for LIN, CAN-FD and SENT communications.
• Elite’s Toyota noise long duration transient testing has been optimized for test processing and efficiency.
• We engineered calibration references for BCI and RI to allow staff to quickly verify test setups and ensure our systems will provide accurate results the first time through. Our SPC efforts show RI verifications are within +/-3dB window (typically 2 dB), RADAR pulse RI is 2dB or less, and BCI is +/- 1dB. We take pride in the quality of our work but these efforts ensure clients can count on Elite when successful test completion matters.
• Test process metrics for BCI and RI continue to improve. All room/rack performance for these two tests can be shown to be within +-4dB max for RI, +/-3dB for RADAR, +/- 2dB for BCI, over at least 95% of the frequency range.