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64 SMT Magazine • May 2014 A new brand of ICT production test sys- tems removes the traditional barriers associated with automating electrical test. Zero footprint and multisite design concepts are changing the economics of ICT in dramatic ways for manu- facturers of high-volume printed circuit board assemblies. The Role of Test & Inspection Test and inspection equipment used on the production floor of high-volume PCB manufac- turers generally includes automated optical and X-ray inspection (AOI & AXI) imaging systems and one or more electrical test systems com- monly referred to as manufacturing defect ana- lyzers (MDA), in-circuit test (ICT) or functional test (FCT) systems. Each of these technologies is adept at detecting certain defects, and the Venn diagram shown in Figure 1 indicates that com- bining these techniques at various points in the manufacturing process provides the best level of confidence that the products being built are free of defects. To support trends toward automated assem- bly of PCBs, the makers of test and inspection equipment have developed versions of their systems that are specifically designed to be inte- grated into various in-line production environ- ments. The success of these in-line automated versions has been met with mixed success. Imaging inspection equipment has expe- rienced a much higher adoption rate into the automated line and it is common to find de- dicated imaging systems that are integrated di- rectly into the assembly line to perform speci- fic tasks such as paste inspection, checking of component placement and proper soldering of device pins. Electrical test systems like ICT have been adopted into the automated line at a much slower rate than imaging systems and it is still common for electrical test systems to remain isolated from the main automated production line—islands of test operating independently of the automated assembly line. [1] by alan albee TeRADyne The Changing Economics of In-Circuit Test feATuRe

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