One example of effectively testing LEDS on a PCB assembly

August 29, 2017

We recently had an opportunity to provide a solution to a high-volume manufacturing problem. Our customer needed to program the microcontroller Flash in production volume.  IQ was prepared for this with our Prodigy line of production programming stations.  But this time there was an interesting twist.  The assembly had several different SMT LEDs with different colors.  Plus, the white LEDs had been binned by the manufacturer for intensity.  The panels were serialized and records were maintained as to the LED bin number for each serial number.  The task was to verify that the proper parts were being loaded by the SMT equipment.  And to adjust the firmware for the white LEDs to achieve consistent intensity.

IQ_Prodigy_2144_Flash_ProgrammerThe architecture of the Prodigy 2114 system was flexible enough to permit the solution.  The 2114 is a Single Well, 4X4 Channel, Mux X4 device, utlizing the SMH Flashrunner FR04A16.

Once the panel serial number had been scanned by the Prodigy the system queried the factory database for binning codes.  Then the firmware was modified so that PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) parameters were properly set.  The PCB assemblies on the panel were then programmed using the parallel channels of the FlashRunner.

Feasa_LED_AnalyzerFinally, one of each type of LED was turned on and the Prodigy 2114 used a multichannel Feasa LED analyzer to verify that proper LED colors were mounted and that the white intensity was in spec.  Our customer was pleased with IQ’s innovation and our cost-effective solution.

 

 

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IQ Introduces the Prodigy Suite of Automatic In-System Microcontroller Device Programmers

May 30, 2017

Intrinsic Quality is pleased to announce several new options for the programming of flash devices for your manufacturing process: IQ’s Suite of highly flexible Prodigy Microcontroller Programming Stations, including IQ’s new entry level Prodigy In-System Programmer; and the complete line of PC-based Prodigy and Paragon models.

It’s time to reimagine your programming process. Are your techs randomly shuffling your random and obsolete computers and peripherals to create a variety of programming tools for a solitary task in your test process? IQ’s Prodigy Suite has affordable solutions to upgrade your flash programming for the long term. All our micocontroller device programmers feature IQ’s brilliant design integrated with SMH’s FlashRunner in-system programmers.

SMH IQ Prodigy1011 pngOur Prodigy 1011 is a stand-alone microcontroller based programmer (no well) that is set up for an external harness or fixture. The 1011 is our response to the need for an affordable production ready, high speed, entry level programming station. Based on the SMH FlashRunner FR01ENG, Prodigy 1011 is the perfect answer to low volume high mix manufacturers who previously could not justify a commercial programming station. The Prodigy 1011 is remarkably capabable of adapting to multiple devices, protocols and various vendors for long-term functionality. Adaptability: Auto selection of part number is based on a 5 bit ID provided by the fixture or ATE OR for higher volume applications, the 1011 connects readily to simple interchangeable bed of nail fixtures. In ATE applications, Prodigy easily connects to the ATE fixture with auto detect remote operation. Prodigy 1011’s  throughput is impressive, as production can move rapidly with minimized operator error and lightning fast programming times. View all of IQ’s Prodigy 1011 features here.

ProdigyBlog5-30 IQ‘s Prodigy 2000 single or dual well programmer stations are desogmed fpr easo;u interchangeable fixtures and include Intrinsic Quality‘s expert device programming services. All programming parameters are included as firmware revision, power, and signal levels are automatically verified and set up. The Prodigy 2111 and further models are available in an amazing variety of configurations that include single or dual well and multiple channel capabilities. For more information, visit our Prodigy Models detail page.

Harnessing the power of flash programming with IQ‘s innovative FlashRunner based Universal Flash Programmer station is the right decision for your manufacturing process.  

IQ’s Paragon 3118: High Speed PC based Production Device Programmer

Paragon 3118 and additional models include the cutting edge technology of SMH’s FlashRunner 2.0 ISP programmer for blistering speed and renowned programming accuracy.

Like the Prodigy, these microcontroller programmers are flash based PC units with dual or single well configurations and a variety of multiple channel options.


Lessons from an Industry Leader

June 7, 2016

Last month I was privileged to travel with our partner, SMH Technologies to visit major customers in the Midwest.  The SMH group was led by their president, Claudio Stefani.  We met with several customers and prospects, addressing questions and presenting the new SMH FlashRunner 2.0.  Between meetings there was a lot of travel time where we had a chance to exchange ideas.

IQSMHVerticalResponseFor several years IQ has been both a user and distributor of SMH products.  We had selected the FlashRunner as our Flash programmer of choice after some experience with alternative sources and a survey study of available competition.  We have been consistently pleased with our selection.  When we had the opportunity to represent SMH in the Midwest, we jumped at the chance.  We have continued to be a user and become familiar and confident in getting the various units to perform well.

As a sales rep for SMH, one of the questions I’ve always had is “Why is the FlashRunner better than the competition?”  I had my own answers.  IQ develops programs and test fixtures as our core business.  We wanted a programmer that we could use in our production test solutions.  Even more, we wanted a machine that could address a wide variety of devices from various manufacturers.  We wanted a standard user interface so we weren’t continually spending time learning a new machine.  We wanted a powerful unit that could do more than just load firmware.  Because we had selected the FlashRunner I knew there were reasons why the FlashRunner was better.   I was surprised by Claudio’s answer when I asked.

I had expected the same marketing spiel that would work for almost any sales scenario.  Stuff about the company, the people, quality and all that jazz.  Claudio started with a statement that “all device programmers can program the target device”.  “You could even take development system tools and program a device.  Programming isn’t the issue.  The issue is programming in a production environment.”  He went on saying that what is important is programming in an environment where a few minutes of downtime might cost more than the programmer.  Reliability is the issue.  Not just hardware that doesn’t fail, but an entire process that doesn’t fail.  This requires a real tool, a tool designed from the ground up to be a production programmer.  It requires a process that has the flexibility to do a wide variety of tasks like programming variable data, skipping erase if the device is blank and running a device specific routine when triggered either by command or a pulse.

Still, Claudio was just warming up and his passion was marvelous.  The process has to include a means of setting up the programming task that is both flexible and useable.  It has to include tools for analyzing errors and generating reports.  And in spite of all the diversity in device architectures the process has to have a consistent look and feel so that the user can quickly bring up the next project.  And before he launched into the value of the team he had assembled to handle sales, tech support and development he talked about the hardware and the need to build in robust well protected circuits.  I remembered then that although we have sold dozens of FlashRunners that are used daily, field returns are rare.  By the time Claudio had finished, I was feeling a sense of pride.  I was proud to be on this team.  I had listened and learned a lesson from a master.

You can imagine my reaction when a week ago one of my competitors was offering a regular customer a programming solution based on a JTAG development tool and said “no, it’s not a FlashRunner, but it does everything a FlashRunner does.”

For more information about the SMH FlashRunner, visit IntrinsicQuality.com today.

Konrad Technologies New Multiple Parallel Test

March 31, 2016

There is something new in ICT.  Really!  Konrad Technologies has introduced a new flexible architecture that enables multiple parallel test heads.  But even more, the architecture allows for flexible configuration – the number of test heads can change without changing hardware.

Konrad’s KT 501 module implements a complete analog ICT instrument on a single PXI card. Once connected to a switching matrix it becomes a versatile Manufacturing Defects Analyzer (MDA).

KT-PXI-501A standard full size PXI card cage provides 18 slots.  Assuming two slots for the PC, each of the remaining 16 slots can be filled with a KT 501.  Using the Konrad ABEX concept, the front end of the KT 501 can be equipped with a 4 X 86 switch matrix.  So an analog ICT system can be built with 16 independent 86 pin test heads.

But with the ABEX concept each of the 86 pins can be made available to any of the other test heads.  So the above system could be reconfigured with software to be an 8 headed 172 pin system.  Or 4 headed 344 pin system.  Or without changing hardware a single headed system with 1376 pins.

Of course the system can be configured with fewer KT-501’s in a variety of configurations.  With an 8 headed configuration the other 8 slots can be filled with a 172 X 4 switch card.  Now the system can range from an 8 head  X 258 pins  to 1 head X 2064 pins.

Also worth noting that all of this is done in the PXI environment where exists a very diverse  array of functional instrumentation that can easily be muxed to the same pins.

New and still more!  Intrinsic Quality, LLC. is now a USA Support Center for Konrad Technologies, offering Sales, Tech Support and expert integration of Konrad’s complete line of Test Solutions.  Visit Intrinsic Quality Today!


Flash Device Programming: When Free isn’t Free

March 31, 2016

Sometimes an effective plan for production Flash programming gets created. For the high volume manufacturer, a variety of solutions are available. But few options exist for lower volume production. High volume solutions are simply too expensive for mid volume or low volume/high mix production. For low volumes, the implementation of production Flashing often gets minimal planning. The assumption is its easy and virtually free.

Programming KlugeOn low volume/high mix production lines, this problem is often addressed with several low cost ad hoc stations that use ‘free” programming pods provided by device manufacturers. Engineers typically will cobble together a set of existing equipment, computers and peripherals to create a programming tool for a solitary task in the test process. Typically one of these stations uses a PC, some cabling and a low cost pod. Sometimes these pods are acquired from the manufacturer, sometimes from a vendor such as P&E or Segger or other brand. Usually they are dedicated to a single application.

But station integration is still required. With the minimal planning these solutions are often considered near free. As we examine this process further, we see that “free” has some real and significant costs:
•Set up is expensive.

 

Integrating and setting up the programming station usually requires several hours of an engineer’s time.
•Costs are duplicated.

Since the Flash Device Programming solution is typically created for a specific project, other projects require their own sites. In a typical factory there are often several such sites – all different, but each similar in cost.
•Floor space is wasted.

•Multiple Programming Sites Take Up Room

Any given site is usually idle.
•Excess operator training is required.

Since each site utilizes fragmented and often obsolete equipment, and has a different procedure, production start-up requires additional operator instruction.
•Rushed solutions are barely suitable for a production environment.

Cabling and inputs are flimsy and may cause complete system failure if the station needs to be relocated.

Operational Procedures are half baked.

Documentation is lacking.

Tech support is hard to find.

Downtime is too frequent.

Mods to firmware are awkward and time consuming.
•Awkward procedures can impact quality.

There is a better way. The SMH FlashRunner remains the market leader providing manufacturers a powerful engine for the creation of effective programming stations.


Intrinsic Quality’s New Prodigy Flash Programming Station

December 15, 2015

Prodigy Standalone Flash Programming

Introducing Prodigy – Intrinsic Quality’s new ISP Flash Programming Station  – Flash Device Programmer

Intrinsic Quality, LLC introduced their new standalone entry level ISP programming station, Prodigy at the SMH International Distributors Meeting in Munich, Germany in November 2015. IQ’s Prodigy answers the call for a cost effective and adaptable ISP microcontroller flash programmer for the low volume high mix manufacturing floor.

All too frequently remnant and obsolete computers and peripherals are fitfully hobbled together to create a variety of programming tools for a solitary task in the test process. Prodigy responds to that need with a small footprint and brilliant design integrated with SMH’s FlashRunner FR01ENG in-system programmer.

Mr. Lawrence Raymond, President of Intrinsic Quality, demonstrated Prodigy’s production readiness as well as its easy setup and effortless cable connection to the programming header. Mr. Raymond highlighted several Prodigy benefits including the dramatic cost savings since no PC is required and Prodigy’s remarkable adaptability to several manufacturing applications.  Its throughput is also impressive, as production can move quickly with minimized operator error and lightning fast programming times.

SMH’s meeting attendees were impressed with Prodigy’s ability to adapt to multiple devices, protocols and various vendors. The device has rapid and easy change-over including auto fixture ID and is capable of a range of 32 different part number setups within its easy to configure scroll buttons and LCD.  Auto selection of part number is based on 5 bit ID provided by the fixture or ATE. The device is highly flexible and can plug into simple interchangeable bed of nails fixtures for high volume applications, or can just as readily be connected to an ATE fixture and will auto detect remote operation.

SMH’s International Distributors Meeting was held in conjunction with the European Electronics Exhibition – Productronica.  The Prodigy demonstration was so successful that Intrinsic Quality’s presence was requested for the 2016 Productronica.  This year, Productronica was attended by over 38,000 visitors.

For more information about the IQ Prodigy Flash Programmer, visit Intrinsic Quality today or call our Sales Team at 847-258-5598 


Intrinsic Quality, LLC Proud to Be in the Teradyne Support Network

August 19, 2015

Teradyne Support NetworkIntrinsic Quality, LLC, is once again proud to be counted among the top test program developers in the United States that have been welcomed into the Teradyne Support Network.  As TSN members since 2012, IQ has been selected as expertly qualified with proven competent design engineers offering turn-key and custom in-circuit test solutions.   IQ has been serving Teradyne Customers for over 30 years with professional fixtures and software programs.

 

Teradyne’s TestStation in-circuit test systems furnish electronics industry manufacturers with dependable high-quality, high-volume testing for current printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) technologies corresponding to automotive, industrial, computing, consumer, communications, and military applications.

 

TestStation LXIQ provides skillful support of all Teradyne production board testers including the legacy Genrad products such as the GR228X,TestStation, LH, LX, TestStation Duo and TSE. In addition to being a proud TSN Member, IQ goes further to distinguish itself from its respected member ATE firms by delivering turnkey test solutions and support to ensure seamless test integration.  Intrinsic Quality, LLC develops complete In-Circuit solutions and software for Teradyne Test Station.

 

The Teradyne Support Network is an esteemed addition to IQ’s other strategic industry alliances, as IQ provides relevant expertise in tech and sales support for SMH’s FlashRunner, and Feasa LED analyzers. Intrinsic Quality is also in partnership with XJTAG Technology,  implementing test solutions and services with the XJTAG Development and Test System.

For more information about Intrinsic Quality and in-circuit test please visit: www.IntrinsicQuality.com or for more information call IQ’s team at  (847)258-5598