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Five Little-Known Benefits of ATE Self-Testing

Written by James Duvall | August 08, 2017

Your automated test equipment (ATE) is likely one of your organization’s most valuable assets – this is the tool that ensures your products are in safe and proper working order when they leave your facility. But, like any mechanical device, your ATE can experience issues. So, how do you prevent unexpected issues with your ATE?

The easiest solution is to use an automated self-test. Below are five benefits of well-built automated self-tests that will ensure your ATE is performing tests that are exceptionally reliable every time.

1. Self-Tests Save Diagnostic Time
It’s a problem as old as the industry. You’ve just run your device through the ATE and the tester gives you a red light; something has failed. After you’ve pried off the case, found a digital multimeter (DMM) and probed around for a while, you find no apparent problem. Everything seems to be in place. Now, you’re scratching your head, wondering if it’s a problem in one of the programmable logic controllers (PLCs), an issue with the tester itself or an error inside a cable or connector. Running an automated self-test lets you quickly know if your ATE is sound and also demonstrates the integrity of the ATE test results. If the self-test passes, you can be relatively certain that the issue you’re seeing is in the article under test.

2. Self-Tests Minimize Downtime of Your ATE
Things break, including your ATE. Whether your ATE is complex or simple and in high demand, downtime can quickly erode your productivity. At G Systems, we frequently design ATEs with more than 1,000 inputs and outputs. When one of these I/O points fails, it’s critical to our customers that the problem is immediately identified and fixed. A well-built self-test can quickly discover exactly where the failure occurred in the system and can point your repair efforts at the associated cabling, internal wiring and data acquisition cards that could be contributing to your problem. Self-tests can prevent a great deal of guesswork, as well as the hassle of digging through documentation.

3. Self-Tests Protect Your Equipment
You’ve probably se
en a movie where someone, usually a bumbling villain, sets something down in a risky place. Another character then turns the power on and suddenly, our hapless lackey finds his crowbar is electrified. Well, the same thing can happen to your ATE. Self-tests can be used to perform safe-to-turn-on testing, which ensures that your valuable ATE is in good working order and will not damage itself or your DUT when power is applied.

4. Self-Tests Protect Your Results
Testing with uncalibrated equipment is like looking at the world through rose-colored glasses; all the red flags just look like flags. Self-tests can verify that your measurement equipment is properly calibrated. This can guarantee you won’t later discover that all your measurements are invalid because your calibration was outdated or had not yet been performed.

5. Self-Tests Provide Documentation for Your Success
A good self-test report gives you a foundation of success to base your test results on. This strong foundation gives you the confidence to know that when you test your DUT, your test report has real, valuable meaning. A high-quality self-test report can be invaluable in debugging a failed DUT.

ATE self-tests are superior in creating user confidence by ensuring that the tests performed on the DUTs are reliable. In addition to these five often overlooked benefits, self-tests can provide more accurate results that can prevent major errors and give you additional trust in your valuable tests. 

Check out part two of this blog to learn about the five necessities for your ATE self-test.

Read our case study to learn about how we performed a multi-million dollar upgrade to the custom test system for the U.S. Navy’s Vertical Launching System.