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Computer Automated Test Design and Development

R. A. Wood Associates provides software and hardware for various testing applications including, but not limited to: Computer Automated Test, Computer Automated Manufacturing and Automated Scientific/Engineering Evaluation. We take pride in offering quality solutions to your difficult test problems; beginning with the simplest automated tasks to the most complex test, measurement and analysis applications. Our specialty is Computer Automated Test Software for RF and microwave devices using the LabVIEW graphical programming language.

The Old Way vs The Better Way

Manual Test

This graphic shows an example of manually testing a set of 100 devices at 100 frequency points each. We have seen these kinds of testing procedures and test times in many companies. Many companies have not yet taken advantage of the cost savings associated with computer automated testing.

Automated Test

In the previous example, the labor cost of manually testing 100 devices at 100 frequencies each was estimated to be $16,970.00. When computer automated testing is implemented, the labor cost is reduced to $518.00. The cost to develop the computer automated test software, depending on the complexity, could be in the range of $2,000.00 to $3000.00. The development costs are recovered in a very short amount of time. After that, it is all cost savings!

Typical Automated Test Setup (Microwave Test)

Automated Test Setup

This diagram shows a typical computer automated test setup. In this application, a microwave device is tested using microwave test equipment such as the signal generator, spectrum analyzer, and power meter. The digital I/O controller provides the logic controls for the Device Under Test while the logic analyzer reads digital information from the device.

The computer acts as the automated test controller. It controls the microwave test equipment to provide stimulus and measurements to and from the Device Under Test. Digital control is passed from the computer through the digital I/O board. Digital output data is passed from the logic analyzer to the computer.

The R. A. Wood Associates software will control the testing and analyze the measurements. Typical measurements may include gain, noise figure, gain compression, spurious signals, filter rejection and amplitude accuracy. The measured data is then summarized, eliminating the need for manual data reduction. Output data can be stored in data files for further analysis and evaluation.

Benefits of Computer Automated Testing

In our RF consulting experiences, we see many companies performing manual RF testing, or spending many man-hours recording and analyzing measured data. Vendors send us test data for components with plotted data and hand marked test data sheets. In this day and age, all companies should be taking advantage of the efficiencies of computer automated testing. We can help improve your efficiencies!

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