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Shock and vibration testing - January 2012

The TFC Limited subsidiary, RFX Limited, have commissioned sophisticated shock and vibration test equipment to provide an enhanced Aviation and Space test capability for their range of precision quartz oscillators. With customer’s applications widely divergent and ranging from communication and laboratory use to defence based missile applications, an understanding of how the product would perform under adverse conditions is crucial to the future development paths of the business. 

Initial benefits of the system included knowledge gained through combining shock and vibration testing with near real time phase noise measurement using an Agilent E5052B signal source analyser. The resultant data gave valuable feedback on resonator G sensitivity with the advantage of providing repeatable test capability over many days, enabling enhanced resonator mounting techniques to be compared. Random sweep testing provided device sensitivity to be analysed and compared to static tests, changing to sine sweep testing to focus on areas of highest sensitivity. 

Survivability can be tested against specific criteria as defined in documents such as MIL STD 202.The system has the absolute capability of testing to 1000N Sine, 533N Random with a maximum bare table acceleration of 125g a maximum velocity of 1.65m/s and armature displacement of 12.7mm peak to peak with the upper frequency limited to 7000 Hz. Test software utilised by the system covers the majority of the required customer testing patterns with random, random Channel Averaging, sine, sine channel averaging, sine tracking filters and classical shock and transient patterns. 

Other combinations may be provided through software used to control the SignalStar scalar DSP centric signal processing hardware configured with two 24-bit inputs and one 24-bit output with the facility to add extra channels.Custom design of high-specification precision frequency references, to industrial and military standards, has been the forte of RFX Ltd, based in Livingston, Scotland, for over 15 years. The RFX OCXO designs are amongst the smallest in the world with very efficient use of power during warm up and operation. New versions, including SMD designs, are evolving from an on-going research and development programme to meet the increasingly stringent demands of industry. 

RFX recently acquired Laptech Precision Inc. ( ), established in Ontario, Canada in 1972, who employ many of the world’s finest precision quartz crystal design engineers and highly skilled production personnel. Laptech Precision provides RFX with a secure source of very high quality quartz blanks, particularly for the SC-cut units used in all of their OCXO’s. 

Applications of RFX Ltd products include precision measuring equipment, GPS satellite navigation systems, satellite positioning systems, airborne systems, fixed and mobile telephone base stations, ATM, SDH, STM, SONET, WAN and LAN Networks. 

RFX Limited Ltd, Oakbank Park, Livingston, Scotland, EH53 OTH Tel: +44 (0)1506 439 222 For further information:


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