[ECTest News: Volume 2 No. 2 November 1996]

[Handshake] ECT Welcomes New 9090 Series Test System Customers

Motorola Inc., has purchased a Model 9090 for installation in their Arlington Heights, IL facility. Test engineers chose the 9090 for its technology fixturing solutions.

Holaday Circuits Inc., of Minnetonka, MN has purchased a 9090 to eliminate time and expense to produce hardwired topside fixtures. The high throughput of the 9090 was also cited as a purchasing influencer.

Photo Circuits, of Peachtree, GA, has purchased two 9090 Universal grid testers, two HyperSort" unloader modules, and one HyperLoad" loader module. The testers and modules were chosen for their high volume, high technology capabilities.

Circo Craft, headquartered in Pt. Claire, Quebec, added two additional HyperLoads, two HyperSorts and a 9090 tester to existing 9090s and HyperSort. Circo Craft cites high volume, high tech fixturing, and flexible automation options provided by the 9090 Hypermation system as reasons for these additional purchases.

AMP, of Aquebogue, NY, purchased their second 9090 in order to continue the dramatic increase in throughput and fixture technology provided by the first 9090.

IBM, of Endicott, NY, has purchased their second and third 9090s. The systems were chosen to increase capacity for back panels and high technology PCBs.

NTI, of Colorado Springs, CO, has accepted delivery of a 9090. Low fixturing cost and excellent throughput were identified as key factors in the purchasing decision. NTI provides high technology PCBs to the telecommunications industry.

Testing the Limits
Testing the Limits. It's not just ECT's new Corporate tagline, it's a challenge issued to ECT employees to exceed customer's expectations in the following areas: Customer Service, Product Quality, and importantly, Test Solutions. We pride ourselves on the continuing development and enhancement of our test solutions. This drive does not only come from within, it comes from our customer's demand for newer, better, more sophisticated technology and faster, simpler, more cost effective products. At ECT we are committed to "Testing the Limits" in order to find the best solution for our customers.

Test our limits! Do you have an especially challenging technical or economical test problem? Try us. ECT's #1 standing in bare board ET equips us with the resources to apply to your test requirement. Call, FAX, write or E-Mail. We look forward to hearing from you!

ECT Appoints Bath Scientific Limited (BSL) to Represent Test Equipment Division in the UK

Bath Scientific Limited (BSL) has been appointed as ECT's exclusive sales and service representative for Universal Grid and dedicated bare board test equipment in the UK and Ireland.

BSL is a world leader in the manufacture and sale of "flying probe" base board testers. The ECT Series 9090 grid testers and Hypermation automation test modules will compliment their sale activity and provide an unrivaled total test solution to the UK and Ireland markets. BSL service engineers are being trained to provide local service for existing UK customers, and, an inventory of ECT spare parts will be maintained at the BSL Melksham facility.

Tips for Boosting Test Area Productivity

Automatic Pin Loading
Are you building 10, 15, 20 or more fixtures per week? Are you reloading other fixtures that have been torn down on top of that? Should you be considering some type of pin load automation? Can you justify it?

In order to justify pin load automation, we need to work with sound numbers on manual pin load methodology. The idea is to justify automation over manual methods. Assuming the use of ECT's ValuGrid fixture technology you should expect the following pin load rates:

Pin Load Rates
Test Point Centers Pins Loaded Per Hour
.050" - .100" 10,000 - 15,000
.020" - .035" 4,000 - 7,500
less than .020" 3,000 - 5,000

These rates assume a fixture building technician with several weeks of pin loading experience and a good quality fixture design software package providing, in combination with the drill, good clean accurate holes. Some of the features of ValuGrid that help you realize these numbers or better are:

" Bi-directional pins (no head or tail) allow loading in handfuls with no prior orientation.

" Featureless pins, straight smooth music wire, nothing to catch or hang.

" Pins loaded from the bottom side of the fixture where centers are uniformly on grid.

" Larger holes in bottom plate because they are only holding the pin to contact the grid probe. In contrast, top plate holes are tight to maintain pointing accuracy.

" Middle plates help guide pins smoothly to next hole during loading.

" 3.75" pin length is a comfortable length for pin loading by the handful.

" Designed for no bent or binding pins, pins move freely when loading and testing.

The kit assembly aspects of the complete fixture build are similar whether automatic or manual pin loading methodology is used because pin loaders don't usually have automatic assembly capabilities. This does not mean that a comparison of just pin load rates is all that is necessary. Most automatic pin loaders require a significant set up in cassette loading, and cassette pin replenishment.
Just as significant is the amount of time required to complete the pin load. No pin loader loads 100% of the pins, so the automatic load is supplemented by some manual pin loading as well as cleanup. Cleanup involves removing loose pins from the fixture and pins that have dropped into mounting, tooling holes, etc. Manual pin loading is required to fill holes that were missed by the pin loader and holes that required a special pin diameter where a cassette was not justified. Pins with heads for oversized plated holes are manually loaded as well.

There are two general categories of automatic pin loader. The first uses a generic cassette loosely loaded with pins. The second uses an on-grid cassette with one pin per grid point. In other words, the cassette is a grid of pins on .100" centers (or whatever centers match the grid density). There is one cassette for each pin diameter. Usually two diameters are used, the first for through-hole, the second for SMT. These pin loaders are mechanically a little simpler and initially appear less expensive.

Unfortunately, an individual cassette can only load one fixture. After a single fixture is loaded the cassette is depleted of many thousands of pins in a pattern that matches the fixture just loaded. In order to use the cassette again the previously loaded fixture must be unloaded or all the utilized pins must be replaced manually. This reload occurs while the test system sits idle. For this reason at least two additional cassettes are necessary so that a second fixture can be loaded while the first is on the tester (4 cassettes). That is only for single sided testing.

Most boards and fixtures are double sided these days which generates the need for 8 cassettes. In order to allow for the typical 4 to 8 change overs that a tester sees in a day and for the special cases where a fixture may require a significant manual effort, an additional set of cassettes is usually purchased (12 cassettes). If you have a second tester, you probably want to have at least a two fixture capability (20 cassettes).

To give you an idea of what twenty (20) cassettes means, let's say that we have small boards and small grids on the test system. This would give us our best case for this type of pin loader. A small grid would be about 10" x 12" or 12,000 test points. Twenty, 12,000 pin cassettes would contain 240,000 pins at anywhere from $.25 ro $1.00 per pin for these types of fixtures. That's $60,000 - $240,000!! Remember, we were making the best case. The fixture styles associated with this type of pin loader usually can not realize manual pin load rates over 1,000 pins per hour and 300-500 is typical. If you don't have the pin loader, that's 1 to 2 shifts to load one fixture manually.

Typical Fixture
Manual Load: A 5,000 point fixture with predominantly .020" centers mixed with some through-hole technology loads in 45 minutes. Automatic: The same fixture loads in 10-20 minutes automatically followed by 15-20 minutes of manual cleanup and missed pin loading. In addition, 30 minutes of cassette pin replenishment must be spread over every 3 fixtures. In this case the total pin load and complete fixture build times are comparable. A labor savings of $150,000 would have to be realized in order to justify the cost of the loader.

Fixture types with special pin diameters would not have cassettes due to the cost of the pin and the number utilized per fixture and will require a manual load. Any savings encountered would have to be discounted by the percentage of fixtures that would require manual loading.

For example, typically, .051" diameter pins would be loaded first. The larger holes in the fixture are now filled. The .020" or .023" pins are then loaded. These pins are for SMT pads. If the fixture design required some .031" pins for some small holes, these holes would now be filled with .020" pins which would have to be found and removed before the .031" pins are manually loaded. The additional cost for a cassette full of .031" pins would not likely be justified for the small number of applications where they are used.

It is more likely that the entire fixture would be manually loaded while the pin loader stood idle. There are several other special cases in which it is likely that the pin loader would sit idle. Fortunately, ValuGrid" fixture technology provides very high pin load rates, very low labor utilization, and quick assembly. A pin loader would have to be fairly inexpensive to provide a reasonable justification or ROI. There is some potential for breathing a new life into the old shaker table. Shaker tables are inexpensive, and, for some applications show a high load rate. They proved to be generally disappointing for the last generation of single sided, headed pin, fixture technology, however.

Are you maximizing your manual pin load efforts? Based on those rates is some type of automation justified? Look closely and don't assume that any time the word 'automatic' is used, that it is 'automatically' justified."

Who's Who at ECT
Dave Zimmer, Director of Operations of the Test Equipment Division, is responsible for overseeing all manufacturing operations, field service, customer service and the division's TeleFixture Service. Dave joined ECT over five years ago when the division was first acquired by ECT, and, brought with him manufacturing experience in the semiconductor industry. Recently, Dave was promoted to Director of Operations in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the growth and management of the division.

Dave is committed to customer service and attributes the success of the division to going the extra distance to make it right for our customers. "Our employees are empowered to do whatever it takes to ensure customer satisfaction", says Dave.

If you don't feel you're getting the most out of your fixturing call ECT and speak to your local representative. We'll help. If you would like to start using ECT's ValuGrid" fixturing, call us and we'll train you and/or your people. ECT's fixturing contacts are:

Joe Hauck- ValueGrid" Fixture Building & Training
(909) 625-9330
Lew Wentworth - Western United States
(909) 625-9348
Phil Hallee - Eastern United States
(617) 942-7030
Jack Banyas - International
(909) 625-9364

ECT Test Network
TQC Test Labs
780 Montague, Suite 506
San Jose, CA 95131
408-435-9290 – Ask for Bill or Linda
Circuitest West
1510 Old Oakland Road
San Jose, CA 95112
408-452-1091 – Ask for Veronica or Don
ET Consultants
5140 Cottonwood Lane N.
Plymouth, MN 55442
612-550-1327 – Ask for Pat
ECT TeleFixture Service
2887 N. Towne Ave.
Pomona, CA 91767
909-621-9511 – Ask for Joyce
CM Wings
835 Stewart Dr.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
408-524-4080 – Ask for Scott or Paul
Electronic Test Center
1460 Bernard Drive
Addison, IL 60101
708-628-6646 – Ask for Jeff or Kurt
Bath Scientific
BSL House
29 Lysander Road, Bowerhill Estate
Melksham, Wiltshire
SN12 65P, UK
01225 706707 - Ask for Clive Shipley
Everett Charles Japan
Dai Ichi Sokuryo Bldg.
18 Hanazaki Cho 1 Chome Naka-Ku
Yokohama, Kanagawa 231, Japan
81 45 955 3991 – Ask for Ted Ikoma
Innovative Test Solutions
15300 Minnetonka Blvd.
Minnetonka, MN 55345
612-933-8378 – Ask for Todd or Brian
Circuitest East
41 Simon Street
Nashua, NH 03060
603-882-2621 – Ask for Rhonda or Mike

ECT Test Network Profiles CM Wings

CM Wings Board Testing Inc., located in Sunnyvale, CA has provided expert fixturing and testing services to the printed circuit industry since 1984. Their specialities include data-driven custom test fixtures for use on ECT 9090 and Trace 948 test systems. Additional specialities include quick turn testing and PC board repair services. CM Wings is respected for their exceptional attention to customer service.

In June of this year, CM Wings completed their expansion to a new facility. With triple the square footage of their original facility, the larger and more efficient building is designed for state of the art testing, fixturing, and repair. The move was driven by a 40% increase in sales over the last year and strong demand for ECT 9090 fixtures.

CM Wings has concentrated on utilizing ECT's ValuGrid" fixturing technology which has many features that ensure the highest quality and reliability necessary in today's fixtures. CM Wings has a proven track record with almost two years experience in building ValuGrid fixtures. For more information on how CM Wings can help with your testing needs, please contact Scott Melberg or Scott Borrison at 408-524-4080.


This site has been optimized for Netscape v1.1 or later.
© 1995 Everett Charles Technologies. All rights reserved.