Automatic test equipment

Automatic/automated test equipment (ATE) is any automated device that is used to quickly test printed circuit boards, integrated circuits, or any other related electronic components or modules.

Nowadays, ATE devices are essentially always controlled by computers although in the past, custom-designed controllers or even relay controls were used.

An ATE system can be as simple as a digital multi-meter (DMM) whose operating mode and measurements are controlled and analyzed by a computer, or as complex as a system containing dozens of complex test instruments capable of automatically testing and diagnosing faults in complex electronic systems, such as very sophisticated flying-probe testers.

ATE systems are used to test a wide range of electronic devices and systems, from simple components (resistors, capacitors, and inductors) to integrated circuits (ICs), printed circuit boards (PCBs), and complex, completely-assembled electronic systems.

ATE is widely used in the electronic manufacturing industry to test electronics components and systems after they are fabricated. ATE is also used to test avionics systems on commercial and military aircraft. ATE systems are also used to test the electronic modules in today’s automobiles.

ATE systems typically interface with an automated placement tool, called a Handler, that physically places the Device Under Test so that it can be measured by the equipment.

Over the past four decades, ATE has grown from specialized systems for electronics test applications to a wide range of applications in all facets of the electronics industry.

Many ATE platforms used in the semiconductor industry output data using Standard Test Data Format (STDF) and perform multi-site test.

Typical vendors

* Aeroflex Test Solutions
* Agilent Technologies
* Advantest
* Credence Systems Corporation
* HCL Technologies
* IFR Systems LTD
* National Instruments
* Rohde & Schwarz
* Teradyne
* Verigy

See also

* Electronic test equipment
* GPIB / IEEE-488
* Semiconductor Test Consortium

External links

* [ Semiconductor Test Consortium]
* [ System Integration of an Open-Architecture Test System] by Yuhai Ma, Advantest America Inc. (July 2006)
* [ ATE World]
* [ ATE automatic testing basics]

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