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  • An Insight about Automated Test Equipment



    Published On: 01/20/15

    Automated Test Equipment is computer-controlled equipment that is used for testing electronic devices, known as the ‘Device Under Test’ (DUT) or ‘Unit Under Test’ (UUT), for functionality and performance. The equipment can be a simple automated digital multimeter, or a complex test instrument capable of automatically testing and diagnosing faults in the manufactured parts or integrated circuits. ATEs are mainly used by the manufacturing industries such as medical equipment manufacturing industries, automobile industries, airplane industries and others, where high-volume of testing is required. They are also used in military applications like radar and wireless communication.

    Following are the 3 major advantages of ATE that are making it an indispensable part of industries:

    ·         Simpler and faster: The ATE process involves hardware, sensors and software algorithms for gathering and analyzing the test results. The testing process usually requires repetitive steps need to be performed with consistency and accuracy, and achieving this with manual techniques is very time consuming and cumbersome. So, the great advantage of this technology is that it is simpler and faster. The task which previously required hours to perform can now be done in few minutes.

     

    ·         Cost-effective: ATE is the most cost-efficient solution for testing high-volume of equipments. Since the labor costs are rising tremendously, it’s not economically feasible to carry out huge volume of tasks with manual involvement. ATE, though expensive, is a one-time investment that yields better results and doesn’t need salary every month other than a few bucks for periodic maintenance. This eventually leads to huge profits for the company.

     

    ·         Accuracy: The third major advantage of ATE is that it yields more accurate results. In manual work, errors are sure to happen somewhere. But with the use of appropriate software testing tools, the chances of errors and defects get reduced or completely eliminated. Although, it is true that software is made by the people themselves, but they are also validated and tested at the end, for accuracy.

    Customized ATEs and their use:

    In every industry, there is a different kind of ATE required with different software types specific to the industry. Therefore, every time the equipments need to be tested, technicians need to write a new test process. The main objective, however, remains the same which is to quickly confirm whether a DUT functions properly or not, and to find out errors or defects. For a wide range of instruments including electromechanical, laser, semiconductor, electronics and chemical, there is a need of customized automated test equipment solutions. For instance, in the semiconductor industry, the ATE used for testing devices is called Semiconductor ATE. These equipments can test a wide range of electronic devices and systems, from simple components such as capacitors, resistors and inductors to printed circuit boards (PCBs), integrated circuits (ICs), and complex, completely assembled electronic systems.

    The bottom-line is that - many products during the manufacturing process acquire a few bugs and errors that render them unsuitable for release into the market. The only way to prevent this problem is to invest in the Automated Testing Equipment.

     






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