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July 2016 • SMT Magazine 29 ADDRESSING NEW TESTING AND INSPECTION CHALLENGES Las Marias: It is now an accepted fact that ATE can be integrated into an automated electronic assembly line. However, testing in an automated environment provides new challenges, or opportu- nities, for both the ATE vendor as well as the end user. Having said that, what are the factors to con- sider before selecting a test/inspection vendor and implementing a functional test strategy? Chari: This is an interesting question. There are multiple factors to be considered when select- ing an appropriate test vendor to implement a functional test strategy. Firstly, the measure- ment science is a very critical base component which have to meet the needs of the products to be tested. Secondly, you need to look at the reli- ability of the solution, because in manufactur- ing, you don't want failures, you want your test solutions to be running effectively for long peri- ods of time, with the ability to identify product faults more effectively. Thirdly, you need a good strategy for fixturing and connecting the tester to the devices under test. For that, you have to be aware if your test vendor has considered this, and has the ecosystem to support your test needs during implementation. Las Marias: What best practices should customers consider to improve their PCBA testing and inspec- tion process? Chari: One of the best practices for improving PCBA testing starts with DfT—design for test. You need to plan for the test and enable the test. Keysight has recently introduced some very good DfT tools for boundary scan, which customers can deploy. This is very critical in order to have the most effective PCBA testing processes. The second best practice is to try and standardize your test strategy, especially for functional tests. Many customers like to develop custom solutions for every product, and this does not allow reuse. Innovative cus - tomers have created standard test platforms which can be reused for different applications. This also allows customers to plan their test assets more effectively. For instance, Keysight has a functional test solution for automotive based on PXI. We have helped leading auto - motive customers implement such standard- ized functional test platforms for their long term success. Las Marias: What are some of the mistakes you've seen others in your industry make that you're de- termined to avoid? Chari: In their desire to save costs, sometimes industry participants may compromise on their test strategy, which becomes a costly mistake. Cost of test is a small component compared to cost of customer dissatisfaction upon finding defective products. Thus, it is very important for the industry to avoid using strategies which compromise test in their pursuit to reduce cost. We can reduce cost of test via various other techniques such as automation, improving test coverage, integrating more testers into a single test environment. For instance, you could test a product with a manufacturing defects analyzer which provides basic testing, but it may not catch most of the defects found in the indus- try today. You could use an in-circuit tester and combine it with some functional test capabili- ties and multiple test stations, thereby reducing your cost of test, and enabling better quality. In the very cost-competitive consumer prod- ucts sector, we have seen some customers rely- ing on inspection and functional tests, only to experience defects escaping which lead to costly warranty issues. They have since re-introduced in-circuit test, which is a very viable and cost- effective quality assurance tool. Compromising on test is a mistake—the cost of escapes as well as the loss of customer faith and satisfaction will always outweigh the cost of test. Las Marias: Where is the test and inspection indus- try headed? What is your outlook for the industry? Chari: The test and inspection industry is a ma- ture industry with a few strong players. The in- dustry will continue to be challenged by new technologies such as the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, connected cars and 5G. With our strong focus on R&D and immense real-time experience in working alongside our customers, Keysight is gearing up to address these technol- ogy challenges. SMT

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