Series 15 – Episode 3 – 25 years of Pickering in PXI

5th July 2024
Paige West

Paige West speaks with Keith Moore, CEO, Pickering Group and Founder of Pickering Interfaces about 25 years of PXI.

As the company celebrates 25 years of supporting the PXI standard, Moore shares his insights on the evolution of the standard, its impact on Pickering, and the future of modular instrumentation.

When the PXI standard was introduced in 1997, Pickering quickly recognised its potential. "We learned from our earlier experience with the VXI bus that timing is crucial. With PXI, we decided to jump in early and develop a range of products to get a head start in the market. This strategy paid off," Moore recalled.

The PXI standard, originally based on PC technology, offered a more compact and cost-effective alternative to the VXI standard. "National Instruments did a great job identifying a gap in the market. PXI provided a smaller, less expensive solution that still delivered high performance," Moore noted. This smaller form factor, combined with the ease of product development, made PXI an attractive platform for companies like Pickering.

Pickering’s involvement in the PXI ecosystem has been significant. "In the early days, National Instruments invited us to develop PXI products. We focused on creating high-density switching modules, which were not available at the time," said Moore. This innovation enabled National Instruments to tackle more complex applications and expanded the capabilities of the PXI standard.

The PXI Systems Alliance, established by National Instruments, has also played a crucial role in fostering a collaborative environment. "The Alliance has grown to include around 60 members, each bringing their specialism to the table. This diversity benefits users by offering a wide range of products and solutions," Moore explained.

Pickering continues to innovate within the PXI space, recently expanding into areas like RF and microwave switching, as well as high-voltage applications. "We’ve launched modules up to 9kV, which is quite unusual for PXI but essential for new industries like electric vehicles and solar energy," Moore highlighted.

Despite its age, the PXI standard remains highly relevant. "PXI’s adaptability has been key to its longevity. The standard has evolved with advancements in technology, such as the introduction of PXI Express for higher bandwidth," Moore said. He believes that PXI will continue to be a cornerstone of modular instrumentation for many years to come.

Pickering has built its business around PXI, ensuring compatibility across various platforms. "We support PXI, but also offer solutions for LXI, Ethernet, and USB. This flexibility allows customers to use our products even if they’re not on the PXI bus," Moore explained. This approach ensures that Pickering can meet diverse customer needs while maintaining its commitment to the PXI standard.

To hear more about PXI and much more, you can listen to Electronic Specifier’s interview with Keith Moore on Spotify or Apple podcasts. 

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