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Get Aggressive with Testing

January 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Test Stations 

ZeroDefectsAre you ready to get aggressive with your test strategy? Changing hardware requires more aggressive testing. The zero-defect strategy companies aim for generally helps set ambitious goals for defect detection, but they never reach the goal completely, and there is no single inspection or testing system that can meet the needs of every manufacturing environment.Show/Hide

Laser cutting of metal sheet with sparksTo ensure test success, do you use a combination of design for manufacturing (DFM) and test (DFT)? What about data collection/analysis, automated optical inspection (AOI), in-circuit testing (ICT), and functional tests? How do you develop an effective test strategy that considers the critical stages along the manufacturing process?



The error that most manufacturers make is in placing the quality control at the end of the process hoping to cull out all of the defective product. This never works and it never will.  The only effective Zero-Defect program that works is one where the quality is controlled at strategic points along the process. If this is established correctly, there is no need for a QC department at the end of the process, except perhaps for verification of the QC functions built into the process by means of an effective sampling plan.


photo-3_38The problem is that most manufacturers are not willing to invest in the QC along the way. Instead, they simply try to push as much raw material through process as possible and then complain about the outcome when the process tanks. It is the equivalent to being a poor sport.  If you want a truly effective strategy that limits defects and provides a holistic approach to testing and tolerances, it’s best to look at the entire manufacturing line and not just the end result.

Critical Criteria for Test Equipment: Part 3

September 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Tags, Test Stations, Wiring Devices 

Part three of a four part series that will examine some key features you want to consider when planning and configuring your manufacturing testing facilities.  Keep in mind, these individual features can often be combined or added onto an existing product for increased functionality.Show/Hide

Bar Coding of Products

If bar codes are available on the products, they provide an ideal way of programming the test station for the proper series of tests.

Dielectric Testing of Powered Products

If the product contains safety circuits, or if a minimum total test cycle time is desired, simultaneous testing should be considered.  This feature allows the product to be in operation during the performance of the dielectric test.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

When a product is plugged in the first time, or the operator is required to make adjustments to the electrical circuit, the use of GFCI’s should be considered.  Full time ground fault interrupter circuits protect the operator should they contact the electrical circuit.

Stay tuned for more!

Paint Sprayer Manufacturing Line Tester

July 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Tags, Test Stations 

How Data Acquisition Can Save Your A$$

June 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Service Tags, Test Stations 

Liability is a reality of today’s business environment and if you’re not prepared to protect yourself, regardless of whether those claims are valid or not, you may be risking not only your company’s welfare but your own job as well.  So what’s the one thing stopping you from being exposed and keeping your company and your job in check?  Read on to find out.Show/Hide


In our previous post we touched on the importance of data acquisition and how it’s revolutionized line testing and manufacturing processes.  The ability to gather information from a wide number of sources and combine them into a single piece of information or trend is critical for management to determine when a product group falls outside established guide lines.  But what’s the real advantage to an organization from robust and automated data acquisition technologies?


Aside from improved visibility for management and eliminating the hassle of paperwork and endless documents that get stuffed into a file cabinet, never to be seen again, what is the real benefit to the company as a whole?  Most people don’t think about this when assessing the payback on data acquisition, but we have two words for you – Liability Protection.


When you tie all test data, repair service and warranty maintenance together from start to finish, you get a detailed holistic view of the lifespan for each serial number that goes through your testing process.  This can be a huge help if the equipment ever malfunctions or breaks down, causing injury or potential harm to the person using it.  Having this data on hand and easily accessible keeps your company from being held accountable and provides a documented roadmap of each preventative step along the way.

How Do You Know When It’s Time for a Custom Solution?

May 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Test Stations, Wiring Devices 

When it’s time to upgrade or replace your existing test equipment, or you’re in the market for a new setup all together, how do you know if it’s better to spend the big bucks for a standard hi-pot tester or custom build your own solution?  Well, here at Sotcher we asked some experts and came up with three main components to consider when making this decision.Show/Hide

It’s All About the Benjamins

Obviously a big factor for consideration.  While most full featured hi-pot testers will put a dent in even the most considerable budgets, there’s another solution that costs less and is a better fit for your own manufacturing processes.  People are usually surprised to find that they can have a fully automatic test station with data acquisition included for less than the price of a micro-processor type hi-pot tester.  Which leads us to our next point.

Cut Once, Measure Twice

There have been considerable advances in data acquisition in the past decade when it comes to testing industrial equipment.  It’s become so affordable and efficient, you can usually get a test station designed to your specs for less than you would spend on the components to build it.  All companies recognize having full and complete records of every production test on a real time basis is invaluable.  Everything from rejection rates, liability protection, quality trends, production flow and management reports can be pulled to diagnose your testing programs in a custom solution.  However, these features are not always included in a standard hi-pot testing unit, so be sure to evaluate this when considering new equipment.

Does it Gel?

The last thing, but arguably the most important to consider, is how well does the solution you’re looking at match your current manufacturing processes and flows?  Does a plug and play tester suit your needs, or would you find value in having an automated test station with data acquisition and a wide range of test programs included?  These are all things that need to be considered when looking at implementing or upgrading your test equipment within your organization, and while there’s no easy answer, you’ll have a much better idea of what you need and if a custom solution is right for you after evaluating these criteria.

Nationally Recognized Sotcher Measurement Inc. test equipment is in common use throughout the United States by major manufactures of power tools and appliances.
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