A networking and communicating vehicle is a big part of the future and gives the user the ability to access active traffic data, weather-, location information and even more, such as direct localizing and assistance in the event of breakdown or emergency. Additional advantages, the provision of a internet hotspot for passengers and mobile phone connections for telephony or entertainment. Different antenna modules are a basic requirement for a harmonized network and the collection and exchange of information. The communication is on various frequencies bandwidth, e.g. LTE, GSM, GPS, Wifi or Bluetooth starting by 600MHz to 6GHz. ENGMATEC have been specializing in the testing of RF modules in capable test chambers. These are used for reproducible, shielded and interference-free tests. ENGMATEC hardware can be used as a manual or fully automated test-chamber in inline test lines.
ENGMATEC presented such an RF chamber at this year's productronica. It is loaded and unloaded by a collaborating robot. A model of the VW T1 bus was used as the show test specimen to replace the original test unit and illustrate the car communication.
Shielded RF test chamber
The "ENGMATEC Testchamber RF" (ETC-RF) is a development for testing of various products, on PCB lever or as an assembly, in different frequency ranges starting by 600MHz to 96GHz. That includes not only communication modules, but also for example, products from the radar sensor technology sector for autonomous driving and so on. There are either different standard chamber sizes or individual designs, according to customer requirements, available. The tested product can be loaded or unloaded manually or by automated handling. After the test unit is placed in the nest, the presence and correct positioning of the device is checked by a sensor system.
The collaborating robot closes the drawer and the 4-point locking is done automatically through the chamber. From now on, the test object is located within a shielded test environment and is fully contacted. Thus, the test system can communicate directly with the test sample as well as via the antennas installed in the chamber. The test environment is specially adapted to the DUT and the absorbers are designed for the frequency range. Inside the exhibited chamber assemblies with dimensions up to 225x200x120mm can be tested.
After completion of the test sequence, a handshake with the handling unit is triggered. The Cobot opens the drawer by a vacuum gripper and unloads the product into a transfer nest. A model car of the classic VW-Bulli was used as a "test item" and provided for interested fair visitors as a souvenir.