Original Date: 04/20/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Fully Automated Testing
ITT Aerospace/Communications Division (A/CD) wanted a method that would reduce test manpower but improve efficiency, decrease cost, and meet production increases. However, only so much manpower can be eliminated through sample testing or test elimination before potential product issues arise. The company examined potential techniques (e.g., improving test execution, test flow, yields, troubleshooting efficiency), and chose automated testing as the primary method to reduce manpower.
Automated testing (operator independent testing) has existed at ITT A/CD within the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) program. The original concept used an XY table and a Z-axis arm to perform numerous test operations on the radio. This method was slow, and the Z-axis arm could not reliably do all test operations. No incentive existed for test personnel to improve the method. However, the winning of a new radio contract resulted in ITT A/CD developing a simpler radio. Automated testing is now more feasible, and the company reduced its test times from 112 minutes to 45 minutes, meeting the contract’s test time targets.
ITT A/CD has designed an automated test cell that will significantly reduce manpower. The test cell’s process sequence includes:
The operator manually loads each radio into a tray, does a pre-test inspection, and places the radio’s switch in the home position. At the pre-test and scanning station, the system verifies that each radio is properly positioned on the tray and that the knob is in the correct location. The system then scans the barcode information and interprets what tests are needed.
The radios are transported on conveyors to various automated test stations.
As the radios leave the test stations, the system decides whether the unit is sent to the thermal chamber, the air seal test, or the repair conveyor.
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