What is Automated Hardware Test Today?

What is Automated Hardware Test Today?

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Automated hardware testing is necessary for product quality validation and verification. In R&D environment it is an essential procedure for product development. Later in manufacturing facilities, the test, with the use of  automation, is performed before product leaves the factory.

The main goal of R&D tests is to determine whether the product meets the hardware design requirements. These tests are conducted on product’s prototypes with an intention to check how all the systems of the product work together. In manufacturing test, the goal is to check if the actual product passes the set of key verification requirements before and after the assembly.


Why do you need automated hardware test?

Increasing complexity of electronic devices makes their test more complicated and expensive. Failed devices may entail significant safety issues which often results in high costs. 

Proper automated hardware testing prevents the aforementioned issues. In addition, in some industries like, for example, medical, aviation or automotive industry there are strict regulations for tests. Moreover, customer expects your product to work out of the box, and failed device might significantly damage brand reputation as well.


What are the tools?

First, the main element of automated hardware test is the device itself, which is called the device under test (DUT) or the unit under test (UUT). Second, the equipment that performs the test on the DUT. It can be various test & measurement instruments such as, for example, power-meters or signal analysers. Furthermore, automated test equipment, such as test boxes or test systems, are the devices that can quickly perform measurements and evaluate the results using automation. Usually engineers build a custom test environment consisted from different test equipment and instruments, based on the complexity of the device and the test requirements.

In addition to the test equipment, the essential part of automated hardware test is the software environment. You need it in order to automate various test steps and integrate test equipment with the DUT. This software environment can be fully customized and built from scratch using such programming languages such as LabVIEW, Python, and C#. Nevertheless, in some cases it is wise to consider a commercial of-the-shelf solution, which is usually referred as a test executive software or hardware test framework.


What are the challenges?

Many problems occur when product goes from R&D to manufacturing. It is common that the product is developed by one company, but another company takes care of manufacturing. Companies might use different methods for R&D and manufacturing tests, which may result in delays for production and consequently unplanned costs.

Furthermore, building a custom test environment is not an easy task. Taking into account the complexity of modern devices and wide range of test & measurement equipment, the integration of all these components might require significant engineering resources. Especially in the case when you decide to build a custom test software.


What Exsensio can do?

Decades of working in test industry have shown us that there is no smooth transition between product development and manufacturing and a lot of problems occur in these stages. That is why we set up our mission for bridging the gap between these segments. Despite having commercial solutions for building automated hardware test systems, the integration problem still exists, which makes the life of a hardware test engineer quite difficult. Moreover, existing solutions do not manage to catch the pace of the current technology trends.

Exsensio is building a software solution to test and verify electronic products from R&D to Manufacturing. Our developer platform provides scalable solution with reusable hardware test codes and a marketplace to download ready-made instrument drivers, automated test equipment drivers, and test codes for wireless technology, sensors, electronic components, and high-speed interface. We are not hardware dependent, which allows you to create custom solutions for your product testing requirements. Our cloud solution will give you real-time feedback on the test execution and insightful data about the product quality. Whether you need a simple custom solution or a complicated automated test environment, our platform will suit both scenarios.