Original Date: 11/12/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Cellularized Test Flow
Frontier Electronic Systems extended a Cellularized Test Flow process found in many manufacturing disciplines and successfully applied it to its test stations. As a result, the company reduced product cycle times and direct labor costs; and decreased its set-up times by up to a factor of 12.
Previously, Frontier Electronic Systems (FES) employed test stations on an as-needed basis to handle testing project requirements. Stations were typically set up for product testing, torn down at their completion, and moved about the facility to accommodate the next product testing requirement. This approach wasted time in reconfiguring test stations; created extra work for technicians; and posed a possible risk to test stations by subjecting them to repeated set up, teardown, and travel. In addition, no formalized test station existed for long-term projects. To resolve this situation, FES initiated a Cellularized Test Flow process.
FES first defined families of long-term products ( e.g., displays; signal data converters; advanced signal distribution [switchboards and converters]; decoders) to establish generalized test stations. Next, locales were determined for these stations which minimized their movement around the facility. Each station had a defined function and was equipped to handle a specific product family test requirement. All family product test items (e.g., cables, connectors, tools) were placed near their corresponding test stations which eliminated the need to reconfigure a station or search for test items at another station.
The Cellularized Test Flow has enabled FES to reduce the setup and product travel times (Table 2-1) associated with its test stations. By instituting these changes, the company also reduced product cycle times and, in turn, product direct labor costs.
Table 2-1. Cellularized Test Flow
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