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2.Is the test performed while the equipment is energized?
Most times, the production tests would be
conducted without power applied, but type
tests can specify this condition. Consult with
the OEM if the answer isn’t obvious.
3.What is the sample size?
While some tests like hipot and ground
continuity or ground bond tests are run on
100% of production, there are other tests that
are conducted periodically. For periodic tests,
procedures are needed to define steps to take
when a non-compliant test result is recorded.
4.Is specialized test equipment required?
If the procedure requires equipment
that generates a signal or waveform that is
going to be used to make the part produce a
response, purchase the exact equipment the
OEM is using for its in-house testing. If there
is ever a problem with the test procedure, it
will be much easier to determine the problem
if both sites are using identical test setups.
5.Is the test accurate enough to find a sample that is prone to failure in the field?
This point is difficult to determine. Take
time to empirically determine that the test
parameters give anticipated results, and
allow time to perform evaluation testing to
make sure the parameters are correct to cull
the bad parts and pass the good ones. A
small change in the application could make
a big change in the accuracy of the test
results. Check testing is essential to optimize
6.Is the test being done early enough in the manufacturing process?
This point gets enough thought, but this
list would be incomplete without it. If the
OEM will allow testing on an unfinished part,
that procedure should be implemented.
7.Is the testing being done safely?
Most importantly, it is crucial to ensure
that the equipment, test fixture and process
is designed to keep operators and unin-
volved plant personnel safe. Make sure the
test is interlocked and guarded, and in a
sequestered area if hazardous conditions
exist during the test.
In order to stay competitive, OEMs have been
placing new demands on CMs. In some cases,
tests are being conducted by the CMs to maximize efficiencies. For CMs, a simple evaluation
of the test plan can help formulate an effective
implementation. Of primary importance is to
determine if the test plan is properly applied
to the product and if the procedure makes
sense. Also consider what tools will aide in
working with the OEM so that both parties
quickly agree on the problem and implement a
solution when things go wrong. As with every
facet of a relationship with the customer – the
OEM – the ability to discuss the test plan, its
results, and possible solutions to deviations
will be the most important part of the quality
For more information, visit www.compwest.com.
CMs use surge testers based on IEC 60601 for