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52 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2018 With all the buzz around automation, pa- perless operation, and integrated processes, it's time to think about how the connected systems work within an electrical test depart- ment. We are all familiar with computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufac- turing (CAM), but with electrical test we can also add computer-aided test (CAT) and com- puter-aided repair (CAR). Back in the '80s, Bob Whitehead, of Elec- tronic Packaging Company in Dallas, Texas, coined the phrase "The 4 Cs" with his vision of an integrated electrical test platform. Although Bob is no longer with us, I'm sure he would smile to see that his vision has grown even further than perhaps he imagined. As many of us can remember back in the day, ET was nothing more than a couple drilled plexiglass plates, some one-inch pins and a universal sin- gle-sided test machine capable of "self-learn- ing," a "known good board," and then testing of the subsequent product. There was even the learn-comparison avenue for which you had no known good board and learned one from the lot, and then compared the rest to the learned board. It worked well for the time being unless the entire lot was bad. Bad board learned, all bad boards the same, the machine said "pass." This would be a dangerous concept today to be sure. So, what's in ET today? Self-learning is a thing of the past in most cases, thank good- ness. The fixture testers have evolved from the original single side, single-density versions to double density, quad density and even oc- tal density! They can test by pre-programmed data sets, provide data logging, serialization, print bar codes, and even process the product automatically. This is where computer-aided test (CAT) re- ally shines. In ET today, orders can be pro- cessed simultaneously on multiple machines What's in your ET? Testing Todd by Todd Kolmodin, GARDIEN SERVICES USA

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