The full name of PXI is PCI Extension for instrumentation. It is a widely used modular electronic instrument platform. The main use of this platform is that it forms the basis of building electronic test equipments, scientific laboratory instruments, automation systems, etc. It is not rigid when it comes to building equipments, in fact it provides the builder with a lot of flexibility in this process.
Modules with custom software are fitted so that it becomes easier to manage the system. The platform was originally introduced by National Instruments in 1997. It has a number of sponsors, namely Geotest, Pickering Interfaces, Aeroflex, ADLINK, Teradyne, Agilent Technologies, etc. Agilent technologies and Keithly Instruments entered the market in 2006, which was a major boost. Later in 2006 Keithly Instruments launched a whole range of as much as 35 data acquisition and Instrumentation PXI cards.
The PXI market is colossal; there are large sums of money rolling around. In 2007 the worldwide PXI market was estimated to be around 284 million US dollars. It has continued to grow since then; the market was more than 520 million US dollars around 2010. The PXI market has left behind the VMI and LMI market. This growth is absolutely humongous.
PXI offers measurement and automation of applications which require a high-performance industrial form factor. One can integrate the number of modules from different vendors with the help of PXI. There were as many as 1150 module types available in 2006. PXI modules are available for almost all measurements, tests and automation applications. Different companies are working very hard to write and produce software for PXI modules, plus there are a number of companies involved in providing PXI hardware and software integration services. PXI products can be used in PXI chassis or CompactPCI. In 2009 PXImc standard was launched, and this helped in enabling multiple processors.