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Specialized Testing Solutions: RF Functional Testing Design

RF functional testing designSome types of solutions that are designed and manufactured through our functional test division have more specialized requirements than others. One example of this is radiofrequency or RF functional testing design. EMC Technologies has become highly proficient in these types of custom test solutions, overcoming issues that can impact the integrity, reliability, and repeatability of RF functional testing for industry. Our team of highly trained and experienced technicians, engineers, and designers work closely with each client to ensure that all of their unique needs, requirements, and industry-imposed regulations are met. We strive to meet or exceed expectations for quality and customer service for every single project that we take on at our Southeastern Massachusetts facility.

What is RF Functional Testing Design?

In response to the demands made by various industries and individual clients, our design team at EMC Technologies has worked to develop a variety of test adapters and test stations that are created specifically for RF functional testing design. Testing of RF circuit assemblies and microwave sub-assemblies can pose many challenges that our general functional test division does not have to overcome. The techniques and strategies used by our team with these custom test solutions include the use of a complete six-sided metal enclosure that is sealed with electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielded gaskets and radiofrequency silicone. This helps to isolate the unit under test (UUT) from any type of electromagnetic interference during the testing process.

Some of the designs that we have created at EMC Technologies include semi-rigid triple shielded coax or tensolite cables and rigid coax cables, as characterized by lab. We have also used SMA and BNC connectors, matched impedance traces in printed circuit board (PCB) design, and have used PCBs that were fabricated with Rogers Material. Our team is also highly trained and experienced in RF functional testing design that includes the use of radiofrequency rotary switches and power sensors, as well as specialized coax switches. We have custom designed and built wage guide adapters for the many RF applications that we have undertaken in our functional test division throughout the years.

Why EMI Shielding is Necessary

EMI shielding is instrumental in the testing process for RF functional testing design, working to prevent any type of electromagnetic or radio frequency interference (RFI) from impacting the UUT. The metallic screen that we use absorbs the EMI or RFI that is being transmitted through the air. If the shield is not included, interference can interrupt, obstruct, or otherwise cause the part, product, or component to under-perform or even sustain damage. This is instrumental during the testing process for our functional test division, particularly for clients who require these types of custom test solutions to achieve their goals.

EMI shielding is also necessary to prevent a stronger RF signal from leaking out and interfering with the surrounding electronics, including custom test solutions. EMI shielding is frequently used to cover printed circuit board (PCB) elements, including integrated circuit chips or microchips and active components, connectors, and cables that are used between PCBs. Within the industry, the term EMC stands for ElectroMagnetic Compatibility, which simply means that this type of shielding has been used in the design of a circuit to prevent disruption. The overall shield effect is based on the principle that is used in the metallic screen known as a Faraday cage, which completely surrounds sensitive electronics that might be impacted by other electronics or by the transmitting electronics to prevent them from affecting other electronics in the area.

Challenges Posed by RF Functional Testing Design

Our clients come to us with many different requirements, based on the product in development and the industry that they serve. Overcoming these challenges is instrumental in the overall success of the finished product. Cost, lead-time, performance, and issues with components or subsystems can result in issues with quality control or lead to expensive delays. However, the challenges that are posted by RF functional testing design can be extremely significant, particularly because of the technology that is being used. Custom test solutions are often needed, especially when it comes to new developments for projects that just cannot be effectively tested and served using a standard functional test interface.

Our knowledge and understanding of how the wireless transmitter functions within the signal spectrum is used to avoid many issues with transient signals and other common problems that can impact RF functional testing design. EMI problems, as described at length above, can be a frequent problem for wireless developers who need to overcome challenges posed by regulatory compliance requirements in a dense signal environment. Broad measurement ranges for today’s ever-expanding wireless standards, and increased regulations can be a real challenge for many developers. Power consumption issues and other consumer or user-based complaints must also be overcome during the development and testing phase to ensure the best return on investment.

To learn more about our RF functional testing design services within our custom functional test division, contact EMC Technologies by calling 508-672-0808. We can answer any questions that you might have about our custom test solutions and services or help you to get a FREE estimate for any services that you need for your product development project.

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