In this rapidly changing world, no volume of technological development is sufficient. Technological findings that might be “ground-breaking” at a given time become obsolete soon after the arrival of the next cut-ting-edge technology. Unceasing engineering and research perpetually give birth to new developments periodically, but the end use of technology remains unchanged. The oscilloscope has always been a valuable tool, integral to the designing of various instruments. With the passage of time, it has evolved to serve people more efficiently.
By Saurabh Sharma & Himanshu Yadav
Friday, March 20, 2009: Utility and advantages: An oscilloscope can show us the exact wave shape of an electrical signal. In addition to the amplitude of the signal, it can also measure the frequency, show distortion and the relative timing of two related signals. It is copiously employed in the science, medicine, telecommunications and engineering industries. An average oscilloscope can be used for maintenance of electronic equipment and laboratory work. Specific-functional oscilloscopes, however, are utilised for purposes such as the adjustment of automotive ignition systems and even to display the waveform of a heartbeat.
Oscilloscope is an absolute prerequisite when one is seeking accuracy and precision and command over design. Multi-meter is a handy device, which has been in use since a long time and has many advantages to offer. Yet, it hobbles far behind the oscilloscope in many aspects. Engineers require implements that are adequate for dealing with high speeds and high frequencies in order to accurately design and test the components in their high-speed digital devices. Here, the oscilloscope fits the bill.
Oscilloscope is a dynamic and innovatory contrivance as it allows you to see what the electronic signals actually look like. It is extremely crucial for the designing and testing of electronic devices. Oscilloscopes also assist in determining which component is working well and which one is not. Following the completion of design, the desired output can also be seen, which helps one to arbitrate if the output has turned out the way it was intended to or not.
Encumbrances and hurdles
The main force driving the augmentation of the oscilloscope market is their fabrication. Most brands of oscilloscopes are processed outside India and then distributed here. Only a handful like Aplab and Scientific Mes-Technik manufacture in India. The chief reason why oscilloscope makers are shying away from manufacturing in India is the cost it entails, combined with the government’s lack of encouragement towards local manufacturing. “The government can be a key influence on the oscilloscope market and the overall test and measurement (T&M) growth in India. Promoting more T&M investments and creating a robust ecosystem of research and development, manufacturing and distribution will be a good way to mete out support. Developing an ecosystem would require myriad changes though in government policies, imports, taxes, labour and infrastructure,” opines V Mahadevan, country sales manager, electronic measurements group, Agilent India.
Mohammed Ghouse, manager, Scientech Technologies Pvt Ltd, adds, “It is a tricky task to continue being ingenious while simultaneously attempting to raise the profit bar. Technological developments take place at an expeditious pace, leading to expensive research and development costs. Proficient analytical skills are needed to thoroughly comprehend market demands. Trading is a cheaper option, but exempts control over quality, support and innovation entirely.”
According to spokesperson from Goodwill, import policies need to be revised as they play a pivotal role in the reduction of import duties in the oscilloscope market. This step will greatly help in moderating the price of the product, thereby bolstering demand and consequently, growth. Manufacturing in India can be further enhanced if the government was to provide export marketing assistance to exploit the nation’s massive export potential.
The threat without
There are various types of oscillo copes available in the market, each with different features and specifications.A majority of oscilloscopes aremade outside India. However, some companies like Agilent have research and development activities going on in India as well. Chinese oscilloscopes too have penetrated the market and represent a threat to Indian manufacturers. The spokesperson from Goodwill says, “We are facing competition from Chinese manufacturers who provide false specification and offer very low prices. Presently, we are focusing on brand positioning—the lowest total cost per ownership (durable, high-efficiency products at reasonable rates) and reliable quality as a means to fight back. Prompt amendment in import policies can discourage and eventually put a stop to the import of unbranded oscilloscopes from China.” “Cheaper, unbranded and unknown oscilloscope brands from China with questionable quality, reliability and support are being seen all over the Indian market,” informs Joey Joseph, CEO and MD, TTL.
The ongoing recession has caused the economic arrest of many industries and has drastically impaired demand for many products across sectors. The oscilloscope manufacturers too have not been left unscathed by this lull but are still faring better than manufacturers of other machines. Goodwill believes that the prevailing financial stagnation has not affected the oscilloscope market in India heavily. “The pangs of global recession have been experienced on a smaller scale by India than other countries. Goodwill, on the contrary, has been growing from strength to strength over the last two years, owing to the new DSO on the market,” says a Goodwill official.Ghouse too, volunteers that recession has not created much of a ripple in the commerce of Scientech technologies till now.
Other manufacturers, however, have a different take on the matter. “There has been quite a slowdown in the last few months, which is expected to continue through this year,” admits a spokesperson of Mithra.
According to Joseph, “The manufacturing sector has really cut down on most capital purchases and the market is riding on a chary wait and watch policy.”.
According to Manoj Sharma of Cambridge Instruments & Engineering Co, “The oscilloscope market is witnessing some slump due to the affect of recession. Though I would say that it is not too much. Actually, in the last two years, oscilloscope market has been witnessing tremendous growth and presently that growth is missing. We are now growing as the market used to grow three years back. Demand for oscilloscope is never going to stop as it is a requirement for any industry. Manufacturers today are concentrating on providing quality product at an affordable price because that is the only way we can counter any slump in growth.”
In India, the burgeoning manufacturing and service industry is leveraging the position of the oscilloscope. Recession has been unable to maim the growth path of this instrument. Its popularity will continue as its usage is vital to many industries and segments, such as the semiconductor industry, digital design, validation segments, computer peripherals, automotive electronics, electronic components, energy and battery-related telecom systems and equipment.
According to Ghouse, “The market for oscilloscopes is enormous and nearly all the segments use them.” Mahadevan adds, “Oscilloscopes, being amongst the fundamental test and debugging tools in all spheres of product development and manufacturing, find application across most industry segments. Owing to its wide scope of application we foresee steady growth of this product in the Indian market in times to come.”
A Mithra spokesperson says, “As of now there are good growth prospects for these products in the Indian market, which have been fueled by the education segment. However, it remains to be seen how recession will impact the market this fiscal.
The future of oscilloscopes in India seems propitious despite the impediments that dog the oscilloscope market. With succour from the government and strategic movement towards combating unbranded oscilloscopes, the market for this dexterous instrument will continue to prosper and magnify.
support and innovation entirely.” According to spokesperson from Goodwill, import policies need to be revised as they play a pivotal role in the reduction of import duties in the oscilloscope market. This step will greatly help in moderating the price of the product, thereby bolstering demand and consequently, growth. Manufacturing in India can be further enhanced if the government was to provide export marketing assistance to exploit the nation’s massive export potential.
Oscilloscope has come a long way since the time of its inception in 1897. The earlier batch of oscilloscopes were very large in size. Now, technology has made it possible for them to be hand held, miniaturising them over the years with the help of new, sophisticated technological developments. Now the analogue to a digital converter display has been developed, which is diminutive in size. This display converts the analogue signal into a digital one depending on the data fed into it. This instrument has been constructed using the cathode ray display and is much tinier than the previous versions.
The oscilloscope was earlier commonly known as the cathode ray oscilloscope (CRO) because it used to have a display system made from the cathode ray tube. The electrons strike the phosphorus plate to produce results in accordance with the input given to the CRO. The CRO had just one beam and was incapable of measuring two inputs simultaneously. That is how the the two-beam oscilloscope came into being. It can measure two inputs at one time, making it easier to compare them. As the trend for increasingly smaller devices spread, the oscilloscope too kept losing its girth over the years and finally metamorphosised into a refined, new product—the hand-held oscilloscope.
The hand-held oscilloscope uses the LCD display, which significantly reduces its size. Although the oscilloscope in itself is a complete instrument, developmental activities are in progress concerning the construction of a PC-based oscilloscope with USB features. This advancement will take the oscilloscope to the next level by boosting demand and sales. Some manufacturers have foreseen its bright future and taken a quantum leap by venturing into oscilloscope production in India.
Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine