Solution Spotlight: Cost Effective Functional Test Solutions with ATEasy®From Test Connections Newsletter - December 2015
|Test engineers are looking for more time efficient & cost effective functional test solutions for modern electronics. To achieve this, many are exploring the use of low cost equipment and/or alternative test strategies, such as eliminating ICT/Flying-probe test and instead, using simpler test methods including AOI and functional test work-flows. True time and cost savings however, do not come from just using low cost equipment or eliminating tests; there are many considerations to realize a cost effective test solution.|
In-house designed test systems often 'hide' the true time and cost of developing & maintaining the hardware, software, & mechanics associated with a test system within the company’s overhead expenses. The cost of test escapes and field failures, not to mention customer satisfaction, can often get 'buried’ deep in a company's general operating costs. The most effective “total cost solution” often comes from using high quality equipment, and a standardized, reconfigurable and reusable test platform.
One of the most important considerations when designing or selecting a test system is to choose the right software platform. Using a powerful and standardized software platform is the ideal goal, which offers the following key benefits:
- Reduced training time & costs
- Accelerated implementation of test programs because of standardization and the ability to re-use code
- Improved efficiency of test engineering resources by having a common programming / toolset environment
- Reduced test program maintenance and support costs
For functional test systems, the software platform should include the following features and capabilities:
- A focus on automated functional test
- A simple and easy to use coding language, structured coding environment and intelligent code completion to speed the overall coding process
- Easy code maintenance & re-use
- Backward compatibility with previous versions of the test program tool set
- Support for various communication protocols
- Extensive driver support for various instruments and a simple method for implementing new drivers
- Support for existing customer test code including graphical programming languages such as LabView. .
- A configurable and feature rich test executive.
Just as the software platform described above offers key features and benefits for functional test, the associated test system hardware needs to be highly integrated, flexible, reconfigurable and reusable, allowing its use on multiple projects within a company. Test engineers must also consider the test system’s mechanics at the outset. All too often this is an afterthought and the downfall of many a test system. A good test system interface solution should allow easy, quick, short, and reliable interconnection to the UUT while at the same time being easily reconfigurable and reusable.
- Expert support and training
Eiger Design GmbH, has recently introduced the J-Testr, a new, highly integrated, flexible & modular functional test system which includes the ATEasy® Lite software platform and offers the features and capabilities detailed above. J-Testr's compact size, versatility and safety features make it applicable for functional test applications ranging from commercial and industrial to military. In particular, the J-testr offers a simplified tester / UUT interface, by employing a special dual plugging mechanism and a simple interposer design for connecting test system resources to the UUT.
The J-Testr, provides a full range of peripheral stimulation cards which are all controlled via the ATEasy® Lite software and offer advanced test and safety features required for efficient, safe and quick testing of modern UUTs. The ATEasy® Lite product is designed specifically for OEM suppliers of functional test systems, offering a cost effective and full-featured test development and test executive environment that supports OEM specific instrumentation. With ATEasy® Lite, functional test suppliers can offer a robust, cost-effective, commercial software platform that supports their test system specific hardware as well as an additional “external” instrument.
When combining ATEasy® Lite's features with systems such as the J-Testr, test engineers can considerably reduce their 'true' functional test system implementation and support costs, as well as realizing moderate acquisition costs.