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Strong Test Partnering Leads to Higher Product Reliability

Partnering has become a strong business initiative in recent times. In particular, when it comes to assuring higher reliability for their products, OEMs are increasingly partnering with their contract manufacturers (CMs) and EMS providers to effectively create test strategies to ensure top-level reliability.

Along this line, it’s a good idea to collaborate with a CM or EMS provider that’s an expert in a variety of test technologies. By developing such a business relationship, the OEM has an accessible database crucial for analyzing cost/performance trade-offs in various scenarios without worrying that the partner has a vested interest in any one solution. An association like this can also assist in forging an effective test strategy.

There is no single inspection or testing system that will meet the needs of every manufacturing environment. Therefore, a number of factors must be considered in developing any given strategy. However, an effective one includes several common considerations. Those include product design and testability requirements, availability of test equipment, the manufacturing process deployed, selecting the right test for a given product, product maturity and lifecycle, product complexity, specific product design and types of components used, and tailoring test coverage for specific product modules.

Here’s a run down of some of the ways a test strategy partner can help you:

  • Provides specific details of the various testing tools and procedures available and how best to implement them for your product.
  • From a dollars and cents and reliability perspective, a savvy CM will target the proper test procedure for a particular product. Otherwise, both OEM profit and reliability are jeopardized.
  • Helps you understand the level of debug and test time necessary based on your product’s maturity.
  • Walk you through a wide variety of test issues and how to solve them.
  • Explains the necessary and sufficient test point coverage if your PCB is populated with digital and analog components since each category requires different testing.
  • Uses your PCB prototype as a product R&D tool to increase reliability by creating DFM and DFT procedures within the different stages of your product development.

The savvy test strategy partner can draw from its experience base and make valuable suggestions relating to different reliability techniques and standards. These proven techniques and methods like higher reliability solder joints and more robust PCB fabrication have been successfully implemented in other industries.

A reputable, experienced CM or EMS provider is in the best position to help an OEM evaluate its test options and suggest the best test methods to improve product performance, manufacturability, quality, reliability, and most crucial, cost.