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Test equipment’s evolution to achieve interoperability of production lines.

According to the concept of Industry 4.0, most of the production lines must achieve 4 main prerequisites. Those are the Interoperability between machines, Information Transparency, technical assistance, and decentralized decision-making.


Following this path, in an accomplishment of the interoperability of the machines, the principal ATE manufacturers, since the middle of the last decade, has launched several In-Line Test types of equipment, in order to close this gap.


The next evolution of the production lines is to have a complete “Touchless” assembly and test systems, and the In-Line test systems will be a Key-players in those following steps.


Last year in the IPC Apex in San Diego, we were witnesses of the next step on the Interoperability between machines, with the presentation of the IPC-CFX (Connected Factory Exchange) standard, that is designed to provide a true “plug and play” IoT communication between machines and have a really sturdy data flow between equipment’s and information concerning the board and product that are assembled at that moment.
In that CFX line demo, at the end of the SMT and AOI, the first electrical test in the production line, the Keysight In-Line ICT Lean was in interaction with this complex CFX based production line.


Today in this constant evolution of the production floor, the trend to maximizing the throughput has become more challenging and here in iBtest as proud solutions partner of Keysight we are working together in the development of test applications for different Automated ICT systems, from the 3 models of the i3070 Series 5i Inline ICT (Standard, Lean and 4 modules), the i1000D In-Circuit Test System, and the new and recently launched i1000 FlexiCore. Which combines the features of the ICT with a PXI Functional Test, Flashing, Led Check and Boundary Scan test.
Regarding Boundary Scan Testing or even In-System Programming, if the environment of the DUT becomes really noisy for the number of probes in the fixture, the In-Line system gives you the option to enable a “Large Probe Profile” that rise the board press in a second stage only with the necessary access (JTAG, GND, and Power) to perform a higher speed boundary-scan testing without any noise added by another nail contacting the Board. This is an awesome feature, because if you compare with an Offline ICT fixture with BSCAN tests, maybe you should have to use a higher cost dual-stage fixture.


One of the advantages that can be useful is the option to update the manual test equipment, to the newer and fully automated In-Line test equipment, and taking, for example, the standard spare parts for an i3070 like the testhead cards can be used in an offline or in an In-Line ICT. This is a significant advantage because this reduces the number of spare parts in the warehouse when both types of equipment are used in the same production floor.
The advantages of the In-Line Test systems are higher, and the industry is adopting this configuration in their own production line, because now they have the capability to attach ICT, Flash and Functional Test equipment directly in the SMT flow and achieve the benefits of lean manufacturing.


Talking as an In-Line test system Developer, and as a user also, I consider those types of test equipment as my favorite to debug and develop test applications because they offer all the needed features to have a fully automated in-circuit test to flash devices and Boundary Scan testing in the same equipment.
About the Author.
Rodrigo Ruiz is a Senior ICT Application Developer at iBtest. 

He has spent considerable time in the development of test 
applications and the improvement of test systems throughput.
Innovative Board Test
Independencia #1018 Edif. 1-101
E-Mail: rodrig.ruiz@i-btest.com


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