Reducing Test Cost – Five Areas to Evaluate

Is product testing costing more than it should? That is one of the first questions test engineers at Burton Industries, Inc. ask when evaluating new projects. Printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) complexity, project volumes and defects per million opportunities (DPMO) estimates all factor into what tests should be required.  But here are five key areas to check in analyzing whether or not there may be opportunities for cost reduction:_FBP4942

  • Can a faster tester be used? Case in point, Burton Industries’ CCI automated functional test platform reduces typical functional test time from 5 minutes to under a minute, over older similar functional test platforms.
  • Can NRE be reduced through use of connector-based testing? The CCI functional tester can use either bed-of-nails fixtures or do connector-based testing, provided the PCBA design allows test access via the connector.
  • Has the product been evaluated for the best test and inspection strategy? Burton Industries’ team analyzes the right mix of inspection and test steps for each customer’s goals. The Company’s current inspection and test capability includes automated optical inspection (AOI), 2D x-ray inspection, a Checksum manufacturing defect analyzer (MDA) tester, in-circuit test, automated functional test and custom functional testing, providing a wide range of options in inspection and test step combinations.
  • Are test point accessibility issues driving higher cost? In-circuit testing can cut test costs in higher volume PCBA manufacturing when the PCBA is accessible enough to ensure good coverage, however, when that isn’t the case the solution is often greater levels of inspection or longer functional test cycles. Self-tests such as boundary scan testing can help improve test coverage in PCBAs with limited test point access. To achieve maximum benefits boundary scan cells need to be included on all pins.
  • Is there a final program, test, pack and ship station? Combining testing and programming can save some time over separate processes. Having that work cell also pack and ship the product enhances configuration management by minimizes the opportunity for mislabeling or mispackaging products that are configured to order.

The team at Burton Industries is focused producing products at the lowest possible costs and routinely evaluates these areas to better optimize test strategy.

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