In a world where keeping product cost low is seen as integral to maintaining competitiveness, it can be difficult to justify the cost of test. After all, if there is a superior quality manufacturing process with appropriate inspection steps and control limits, why is testing necessary? The reality is that even in a production line with automated inspection and perfect process control, there will be some component fallout.

There are multiple reasons:

  • Handling at some part in the component’s life may have made it vulnerable
  • Thermal cycling during production can also cause component fallout
  • Product design choices in board level interconnection or higher level assembly operations may overstress solder joints during the assembly process
  • Current component availability issues may be introducing a higher number of vulnerable components into the manufacturing process.
In short, there are a number of issues that can lead to non-working product even in highly controlled processes. Test helps keeps these failures from escaping to the field.

That said, the level of testing needed to support products where failure can cause loss of life or critical infrastructure is going to be different than the testing required to ensure a much lower cost consumer product operates correctly for a specified period of time.

This whitepaper looks at the range of tests available and strategies that can reduce cost. It also looks at role design can play in reducing the overall cost of test while improving overall product reliability.