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58 SMT Magazine • May 2014 feATuRe The electronics manufacturing industry, though a very mature industry with robust surface mount technology, is constantly evolv- ing as the industry faces new challenges—both technology-driven and people- or process-re- lated. These changes impact how test is done by each manufacturer. This article reviews the challenges and recommends key strategies for both OEMs and contract electronics manufac- turers (CMs). One of the big changes taking place is out- sourcing of PCBA test strategy and test develop- ment by many OEMs to CMs, and using final functional test as the key quality gatekeeper. Many OEMs are also considering eliminating PC- BA-level functional test to reduce their costs. This outsourcing process has resulted in OEMs quickly losing their test development resources and capa- bilities. OEMs now expect CMs to take responsi- bility of all PCBA test challenges and quality. From a technology point of view, the drive to smaller products is fuelling the trend towards more integration with package-on-package (PoP), system-on-a-chip (SoCs), complex high- speed connectors, and on-board high-speed memory devices being deployed on modern PCBA designs. All of these increase the com- plexity of tests and often test points may not be available due to the compact PCBA footprint. Simultaneously, increasing labor costs are driving more automation trends with the de- ployment of both robots and inline methods. A recent review of these new process changes at a key OEM with their CMs revealed a number of challenges and expectations: Availability and knowledge of advanced PCBA test Many CMs have relied on OEMs to direct the test strategy and may not have all the necessary skill sets and expertise to understand test re- quirements. Some CMs and OEMs may further outsource to third-party programming houses that may or may not have all the needed tech- nological know-how as well. Some of these test technologies include advanced boundary scan, Cover-Extend, embedded test and advanced vectorless test. Ability to collaborate with R&D on test strategies OEMs expect that an expert from the CM will review and suggest test strategies based on their PCBA design. by NK Chari agilenT TeChnologieS PCBA Test: Enabling the Right Management Practice

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