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Board test and the product life cycle. Get wise to board test strategies

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1 Author(s)
Sutton, B. ; Genrad Eur. Ltd., Stockport, UK

In the board test world many test strategies are alive and kicking. It would be nice to think that each of these has been honed over many years of study and measured performance to yield the optimal balance of cost, quality, and service required by each enterprise. The reality is that most strategies evolve in isolation to satisfy current objectives. Usually these objectives are reactions to market demands that filter (or more normally, fly down to the test engineering department. When we look across the many markets for electronic assemblies, we see a wide range of test strategies. We can broadly group the market-driven strategies into the product's end use. For example, military equipment test strategies differ from consumer products, for some obvious operational requirements but also for some other factors. The same differences in strategy are seen between other market groups such as telecommunications and PC products. We can speculate on the technical justification for these differences. However, someone from outside our industry would quickly suspect that a product test strategy is related more to the selling price the market attracts than its technical content. It could be argued that the highest technology products attract the highest price because they also require extensive testing. But is this wholly true? Why does a PC motherboard production test process differ from a telecommunications switching card? Both use similar component packaging styles and assembly technologies and have sold millions globally. Of course, this is an over simplification of a complex set of problems, especially when we consider the requirement to comply with a whole range of regulations, but it raises issues we should not ignore

Published in:

Design & Test of Computers, IEEE  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 3 )