The ideal goal in electronic manufacturing is to do everything right in the first place. If we succeeded, we could eliminate testing. What is the point of testing something that we know is right? It is a waste of time that does not add value and could also lead to uncertainty and loss of productivity if it resulted in false faults or operational errors by the actual tester.
But the reality is that errors exist, even if they are minimal. Neither humans nor machines are perfect. In addition, customer requirements tend towards “zero defects” or extremely low PPM levels. That is why getting rid of testing is something that we never recommend in IKOR.
When analysing the manufacturability of a circuit in a DFMA we must not forget about testability. It is important to include test points. But it isn’t always possible. Sometimes this is because the circuit in question is a high frequency circuit and the test points, with their associated tracks, can lead to antenna effects. At other times it is because the density of components is so great that there is no physical space.
One option we offer at IKOR is the Flying Probe, which is a type of ICT test. The ICT test (In-Circuit Test) consists of a type of electrical test in which the components are measured one by one at high speed. The ICTs that we normally use at IKOR are based on beds of nails with as many pins as the circuit has nodes. And each node has a test point associated with it, which is where we actually make the connection. But what happens when the circuit has no test points? Or when the circuit is not fully-developed and may require modifications?
At IKOR we offer a solution for small or medium production volumes. The flying probe has several advantages over the standard ICT using the bed of nails. There is no need for test points since we can connect directly to the component terminals, which gives us more flexibility. The reason is that with a flying probe we only change the test software, which is much faster and cheaper than changing the bed of nails. It is even a good option to start the project with a flying probe test during the initial stages, in cases where the time to market is important, and later, when the volume increases and the product is refined, change to the ICT test using the bed of nails.
But why isn’t it a good solution if the volumes are high? The answer is that the test time is slower than in a bed of nails ICT. Each system therefore has its moment, its type of product or its volume of production.
The two systems complement each other and IKOR offers the one that best suits the needs of the customer.