In general, most manufacturers focus on improving throughput while cutting test costs. However, there is usually a common misconception that the process to improve throughput is costly and time consuming. Manufacturers typically assume that to improve throughput, they need to completely overhaul their existing functional test system design and processes. But this does not have to be the case. Here are five simple ways to improve the efficiency of your existing functional test system design with minimal time and costs:
- Test Step Elimination—If you have 10 distinct test steps performed in manufacturing test, is one of the tests possibly covered by a later test down the line, allowing you to remove one of the tests at this point?
- Test Step Sampling—Since eliminating a test step from your functional test strategy can impose a big risk, you could perform that test on a sampled basis instead.
- Faster Test Steps—Optimize your tests to reduce the time it takes to perform each test step in a complete test, thus reducing the overall test time.
- Test Step Parallelism—Your throughput is directly proportional to the number of test lines you dedicate to a particular functional test. So, simply put, where you have a single test line performing your manufacturing test, you can add more.
- Test Step Pipe Lining—This concept involves taking a sequence of test steps that traditionally happen at one station in your factory and breaking them up into several functional test stations.
There is no single strategy that will apply to every functional test scenario. Usually, a mix of several of these techniques will give you the best return on your investment. The best way to determine what will work well for you is to set up a spreadsheet and test the numbers to see which scenario is most appropriate for your facility and current test system design.
By modeling the test line using different throughput techniques, you can experiment and provide data that shows the improvements. In the end, don’t be afraid to step back and look critically at your manufacturing functional test line to see if you can improve your company’s bottom line using any of these techniques.
Learn more about each strategy by downloading the full whitepaper, Five Strategies to Accelerate Functional Test.