A look into the world of Keithley Instruments

Founded in 1946, Keithley Instruments, a Tektronix company (which specializes in ac items), was purchased by the Danaher Co., in 2010. Keithley specializes in power supplies, dc items and DMMs (digital multimeters). This company designs solutions for test and measurement needs. In electrical measurement solutions, its research in production test technology and through partnerships has developed innovative instruments and products in global communications, semiconductors, components manufacturing, signal analyzers and generators, and plug-in boards. Keithley’s top three competitors are Agilent Technologies, Inc., National Instruments Co., and KLA-Tencor Co.

The company is growing as a partner with Tektronix. Both sales teams work together on ac/dc needs, promoting the company’s growth. Because of its history of working in low-level measurement, Keithley’s goal is to increase the density of its DMM, while keeping costs down. Creating new instruments, and giving the customers what they want while coming out with innovative instruments and products, is part of its growth strategy.

Because markets are moving towards green products, there is a demand from customers for these products. Keithley found that there were three challenges involved with manufacturing green products. In resolving these challenges, the company meets customer demands by:  addressing users needs; fulfilling their needs; and making instruments reusable. Getting the right balance of all three took its specialized research and development department. Keithley’s researchers determined that users sought easier use of the instruments while having enough features to accommodate their needs. One resolution to the challenge was the development of the Series 2600B SourceMeter. If a customer had a previous source meter with code, the 2600B has a built-in emulation mode that allows previously written code to be synced onto the new hardware.

One thing most customers likely do not know about Keithley is that it does more than manufacture and produce general-purpose instruments, such as power supplies, and DMMs. With a comprehensive and complete catalog of dc items, the most fascinating thing about many of its instruments, when relating to the area of precision, is that they can measure down into the attoamps and even electrons. Keithley has been doing this for years, which has made them a leader in engineering sensitive instrumentation of low-level instruments.

Jerry Janesh-Market Development Manager and Steven Burns-Product Manager demonstrates the Series 2600B System SourceMeter SMU and the 2110 Dual Display Multimeter.

In its corporate culture, the employees work closely with customers and the details of the applications to  their exact needs. In doing so, Keithley is more prepared to create an instrument and product with the customer in mind. Jay Shah, Marketing Manager for the Keithley Brand, states, “To achieve the highest customer satisfaction comes in two parts. Innovation is one and simplicity is the other. It is important to see satisfaction from our partners, customers and employees alike. Because our culture is focused on satisfaction, I think about how is everyone benefiting from our products and instruments, which helps me to connect with the end result.” As with any business, customers want their needs satisfied without additional costs. Keithley is developing instruments and products that meet its customers’ requirements. The biggest challenge for this company over the next year is making sure that its customers’ needs are met.Over the past five years, that need has been for its customers to get their product out timely as it relates to market demand. Many of its customers know what they want and they want the instrument to be easy to use. Therefore, the instruments and products are tailored to customers’ needs so that they can freely use the equipment instead of spending time learning how to use the equipment.

The Series 2600B System SourceMeter SMU and the 2110 Dual Display Multimeter

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