Radio frequency, or RF, and metrology testing systems have a wide range of uses in today’s world, from telecommunications to augmented reality. Metrology equipment allows RF testing to be incredibly precise and accurate, especially vital in industries such as aerospace, manufacturing, and automotive.
With the significant and rapid advances in wireless technology and communications in particular, RF testing and metrology equipment are more important than ever. Ensuring that products and systems operate within the proper electromagnetic environment and do not introduce potentially harmful interference or disturbances back into the environment is paramount.
Here’s a closer look at the RF testing and metrology equipment applications in the metalworking, aerospace, and automotive industries, and why they’re important.
Aerospace applications rely heavily on the use of RF components and the testing systems that monitor them. Due to the volatile nature of aerospace technology, the performance of RF parts is subject largely in part to temperature and environmental variations.
RF testing and metrology equipment are used by aerospace engineers throughout the entire life cycle of a product, from the beginning of the research and development phase to conducting real-time flight testing. RF testing and measurement in aerospace can be applied to many applications, including measuring power amplifiers and simulating electronic warfare systems on fighter jets. The diversity of applications in the aerospace industry dictates that flexible and scalable RF testing tools are increasingly in-demand to prevent obsolescence.
The use of sophisticated electronics systems using RF elements in vehicles has increased substantially in the last several years. Because many of these electronic systems in cars today play a significant role in passenger safety, the increased usage has led to the need for more testing.
Until recently, the automotive industry has primarily focused its testing on analog and digital sensor signals. However, with the advancement of Vehicle-To-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication systems, which include traffic infrastructure, new RF testing requirements are being introduced and scaled.
Common automotive RF components and applications include remote keyless entry, remote start, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
RF testing has many diverse applications in the metalworking industry, most notably in measuring material density and in the medical industry. While these are vastly different uses, each of them is critically important in its own way.
Radio frequency is a highly efficient method for measuring moisture and metal composition in components such as building materials and aggregates.
In the medical industry, RF testing plays a crucial role in RF shielding, which is the building of shielded enclosures to allow for accurate testing of equipment function and certain procedures. RF shielding prevents outside interference and is most commonly used in government and healthcare applications such as X-ray and MRI machines.