Functional and ICT Test and Profit

April 17, 2015

Test Engineering in Aerospace: Functional and ICT

Over the years I have had an opportunity to get to see how different organizations view their test operations.  At one aerospace manufacturer, test was regarded as a most critical player in the manufacturing operations.  Any manufacturing change was always presented to the testing engineers early enough so that engineering could offer consultation.  Testing and the resulting summation was considered just as important a manufacturing step as soldering or purchasing.

Functional Test Functional Test Fixtures

At another manufacturer, functional test was regarded as the enemy.  If defects were detected, somehow anger would be directed at the test automation department for making the other manufacturing processes look bad.  The testing group would rarely be consulted on changes and blamed when the enacted changes would cause difficulty at function.

The end result of these differing attitudes was easy to see.  The movement at the aerospace facility was slow, measured and methodical.  Nothing happened very fast, but most things happened on time.  Not much panic, but a steady flow of what was expected.

Functional or ICT In Process Test Engineering – Modality and Attitude Result in Profit:

At the second facility things got done a lot faster.  Everybody was in a hurry, working late and coming in on Saturdays to keep up with the pace.  It seemed that oodles of money were being saved because they were able to skim through so many of the unnecessary steps.  But somehow there was always an emergency.  People would have to figure out new ways to fix all the crazy things that went wrong.  All those extra steps would take extra time so now the schedule would have to be revamped.  A lot of the problems would show up during ICT testing.  The product that was so obviously good just couldn’t get through the test equipment.  Some might pass. But a lot would fail.  Sometimes an assembly would pass one time and fail the next.  It was always clear that the problem was either lousy test equipment or inadequate testing engineers.

At the second facility folks would wonder how the aerospace company would make good profits while moving so slowly.  Of course, they figured it out.  It was clear that the aerospace market was inherently profitable. For more information on how IQ can assist in your ICT Test Development, call IQ today at 847-258-5598.

High Praise from a Major OEM

February 5, 2015

Intrinsic Quality recently delivered a custom engineered test fixture to a major OEM. During our quality control meeting, we asked the Vice President “What is Your Impression of IQ?”. His response wasn’t unexpected, after all, we know our standards for quality engineering are paramount, but we were happy to hear his high praise: “our perception of Intrinsic Quality is that you make darn good fixtures”.

Intrinsic Quality ICT 2Custom FlashRunner Fixture

While this test fixture project wasn’t unusual for IQ, our challenge was to facilitate the placement and firmware programming of a 4 pin connector consumer control within a conveyor assembly station. IQ engineered a quick mount fixture that takes the operator just a few seconds to click the consumer control module into place, lower the connector cover and load the firmware. The operator then places the loaded consumer control module into the System Control Panel on conveyor. Our IQ Test Fixture incorporated FlashRunner™ a high-performance, standalone In-System Programmer which instantly loaded the OEM’s firmware. Our achievement in this fixture was remarkable – we had created a fixture where in one smooth motion the operator could place the component into the System Control Panel. So successful that each operator is now able to operate two IQ test fixtures simultaneously and maintain the conveyor assembly’s speed. With IQ’s fixture this OEM was able to boost their manufacture to over 25000 units a day.

Every company is striving to improve its reputation with their customers.  Hearing acknowledgement of your reputation feels like you’ve just knocked one out of the park.  But we asked that question also to explore other ways we might serve this OEM  – Yes, we make darn good test fixtures but we also take pride in the quality of our test executive, reliable measurement software, and test data management.  Call IQ today at 847-258-5598  and let’s talk about your ATE needs.