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VXI Tests Swedish Company's Welding Machines

Professional quality welding machines are used in virtually every phase of manufacture, from home appliances to automotive and aircraft to steel mills and shipbuilding yards to nuclear power plants. ESAB designs and produces a variety of these systems, including manual and semi-manual machines, fully automatic welding systems, and individual units for hobbyists.


During the past few years, the test group at ESAB's AB division for standard welding machines has worked with automated test equipment (ATE) to conduct final testing of its products. The first ATE systems were bought turnkey from external consulting companies who put together unique configurations for each product. At first, these systems worked well.


Eventually, however, the systems became inflexible as products changed. In order to achieve more flexible production and eliminate the need for external help at product switchout, ESAB decided to acquire the knowledge to build test systems on its own. An important requirement was that the new systems had to be modular so as to be readily changeable. Another was that they had to be insensitive to noise and vibration.


If the company's welding machines were not routinely tested, it would not be known if they were in good working condition when shipped to customers. If defective units were sent out, they would malfunction, customer quality issues would arise, and damage would result to ESAB's excellent reputation for quality. Other companies would eventually step in and erode the company's customer base.


Keysight VXI was chosen exclusively for the new test systems. The first one built was for final testing of ESAB's new small rectifier for manual welding: The Caddy 110/150. This test system was specified to manage welding currents up to 200 amps. The next four systems were designed for functional test of PCBs: Three in Electronic Production, and one in the After-Sales department for testing PCBs sent in for repair. A final system is used to test ESAB's new wire feeders. VEE was selected for test development after evaluation of several graphical programming languages. ESAB considered VEE the easiest to get started with. ESAB also installed a custom test executive from Keysight Technologies with the help of Keysight's consulting service.

Keysight's consulting service also helped with the first test plan for the Caddy 110/150, and with implementing the CAN interface. A special "broadcast" bus developed specifically by the car industry and used in place of the normal RS-232.

Keysight was chosen as the supplier because of its excellent reputation for knowledge and support.

For the complete Case Study describing the Keysight E1302A VXI test system configuration and results, please see the attached document on this page.