Series 8 – Episode 10 – The importance of testing and validation
Paige West talks with Sam Loveridge, Quality Director Designate and Jeff De La Mare, Production Director at Offshore Electronics about the importance of testing and validation for electronics manufacturing.
Offshore Electronics is a Contract Electronics Manufacturing company providing a complete solution for all electronic manufacturing requirements.
Testing and validation are a kind of verification that all the work carried out up to the end of the manufacturing process has been correct.
Loveridge said: “It allows us to ensure that all of our processes are correct, but it also allows us to see if there are any mistakes and then go back and fix the process. We can get to the root cause so that it doesn’t end up getting to the customer.”
PCB testing can be approached in various ways. In its simplest form, it’s a functional test. De La Mare notes: “You’d have boards that we’d make, and we’d simulate what the board does, including its inputs and outputs, and we’d verify that the board actually works.”
It’s a fairly thorough process but you need equipment around it and information from the customer to be able to simulate the board working properly. “Once we’ve got that, we can then calibrate the board, if it needs calibration…and we can make it ready for them to start using,” De La Mare continues.
The other approach is an in-circuit test where there would be access to every node on the circuit and you’d check between particular nodes for a particular component. So, you’re not actually making sure the board works but making sure that it’s built already and that the components used are working.
The more you design for manufacture, the easier it is to test and the less issues you have at the testing stage.
Loveridge and De La Mare go on to speak about what designers need to be thinking about when it comes to circuit design and fixture and PCB layout as well as why contract electronics manufacturers are best placed to deliver the most effective testing.