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ICT Testing VS Flying Probe Testing - PCB Assembly

ICT Testing VS Flying Probe Testing – PCB Assembly

PCB Assembly
PCB Assembly

Flying Probe testing and In-Circuit Testing (ICT) are excellent choices for testing the quality of circuit board construction. Both tests detect the expected problems before the circuit board gets into mass production and assemblage. Both tests are a fantastic way of assessing your end product.

Testing of Circuit Boards:

PCBs are getting progressively advanced to fulfill the technical requirements of our digital era. Automatized testing of a board before the mass manufacture permits you to find out faults before mass manufacturing. In-Circuit Testing (ICT) and Flying Probe Testing can assist you in finding out these fundamental issues in the examining process:

  • Bonding Problems
  • Lamination
  • Copper Quality
  • Hole Wall Reliability
  • Electric conduction
  • Electrical resistance To Environmental Factors

In-Circuit Testing (ICT):

In-Circuit Testing equipment can find out 98% of PC Board constructing problems and is among the most best-selling options. It functions by placing the electric circuit board on the mend with a series of investigations to examine the different characteristics of the circuit board. It cannot just check for constructing defects but also operation functionality.

In-Circuit Testing is an effective instrument for PCB testing. It applies a bed of nails in-circuit examination equipment to approach the circuit knobs of a circuit board and determine the performance of every part. It can also test a few functionalities of digital laps, though the complexity attached can make it economically preventative.

In-Circuit Testing is most appropriate for testing productions that are more highly developed and high-volume. All the same, the up-front prices and growth lead time with IC testing are more advanced and more durable, respectively, than those of flying probe testing (FPT). This is as your producer must expressly create a customized IC testing fixture for every PCB.

The bang-up thing with IC testing is that after the instrument is formulated, costs per unit incline to be more down than with flying probe testing (FPT) as it entirely takes approximately 1 minute for a single test cycle. Flying probe testing (FPT), it can take up to 15 minutes per circuit board.

Flying Probe Testing (FPT):

Flying Probe tests (FPT) are some of the times known as “fixtureless in-circuit tests.” They yet utilize probes to try out lineaments on the PCB, but rather than a fixture, the investigations run to the test dots thru a programmed software system. Hence the examination “aviates” where it is required. This choice is most beneficial for low-volume and PCBs yet in maturation because of its versatility.

Contrary to an IC Testing machine, Flying Probe Testing (FPT) does not use a bed of nails mend. As an alternative, it utilizes a small quantity of portable and fixed probes to make a well synchronic in-circuit test of the big top and bottommost of your Printed Circuit Board. It is manufactured of high-precision goads — a few machines utilize as a couple of as 4 goads, although others can use as much as 20 per PCB side. They are programmed to adjoin component pins and execute electrical and operational tests to check if the circuit board is sound for the field.

Flying Probe Testing (FPT) is most appropriate for products that are in the immature stages of evolution and are low-volume grades. It needs no traditional tooling, and customization for each PCB is followed through programming utilizing the CAD data files you provided to the maker. With flying probe testing (FPT), costs-per-unit are more advanced equated to in-circuit testing because of more elongated test round periods per board (about 15 minutes)

In-Circuit Testing vs. Flying Probe Testing:

They both are good in their way, but they both have slightly different properties for testing circuit boards. In-circuit testing vs. flying probe testing depends on the following factors.

  1. Product pattern:

An effective quality test program (also recognized as adequate ‘coverage’) will count the choice of your Computer-Aided Design (CAD) data files and schematic drawings.

The CAD information file is utilized to bring forth the standard test program, which assures that data is sourced from the master design instead of any blue-collar interpretation of additional data. Good choice of populated and unpopulated sample PCBAs are essential for calibrating the test programs, ‘debugging,’ and creating any mends, so the assemblages physically accommodate as they were specified. Therefore thinking about product pattern for a bit, what are the main differences between each examination solution you might prefer to keep in mind?

  • In-circuit testing will need at least a 50 thou broad test pad per net, which has been organized into the PCB direct and utilized to aim for the determined test investigation. Double-sided mends can be expensive, so these had better, ideally, be on the same side entirely of the PCB.
  • Like those proposed by some other companies, flying probe testing machines can examine the ends of parts, pads, and exposed vias to get an approach to the electric network mesh.
  1. Coverage:

As we discuss ‘coverage,’ we look up to how much of the electric circuit you are competent to test. Both in-circuit testing and flying probe testing follow out what is known as a ‘manufacturing defects analysis’ or MDA, which permits the absolute majority of the most mutual process defects that are expected to fall out. These can let in: open electric circuit (due to depleted or defective soldering), short electrical circuits, resistless component measurements (resistances and electrical condensers), junction rectifier and electronic transistor orientation, and standard supply electric potential measurements. , given that these components are mutual to both testing programs, what puts them apart?

  • In-circuit testing can also provide restricted analog and digital measuring, which flying probe testing cannot due to the restricted number of investigations.
  • In addition to the vector-less examination, ICs that are integrated circuits can include a few powered (albeit familiar) operational testing to ascertain the soldering of flags to the PCB Assembly by a non-contact capacitive investigating or plate. In many cases, flying probe testing is restricted to just vector-less tests.
  • Almost all flying probe testing systems will propose a few forms of restricted optical inspection, which adds up coverage for those factors that cannot get at electrically. In-circuit testing mends usually will not offer the choice of optic inspection.
  1. Cost:

The programming cost will hinge upon the complexity of the assemblage but is generally as-is for either test result, potentially about £2000 more or less. As it comes to additional charges affiliated with the test, all the same, there are a few significant differences to have in mind:

  • The fixture prices of flying probe testing are typically zero, but in-circuit testing mends, in contrast, can flow to an extra of about £4000.
  • The evolution lead time for the flying probe testing is generally less than 7 days, but in-circuit testing can have up to 6 weeks for mending, construct, and programming.
  • In the consequence that your product pattern alters in any case, it will just need a program alteration. In the case of in-circuit testing, it could quickly require a new mending if any part or examine pads have been affected.
  • The actual machine test time is generally less than 60 seconds, which signifies that it is perfect for working promptly through bigger batches. At the same time, flying probe testing can accept a lot of minutes, which intends that it is often more suitable for little sets.
  • The velocity of in-circuit testing also means that it is comparatively cheap, frequently coming in at lowers than £1 per unit. Whereas flying probe testing is a somewhat more tedious process, and so can cost about £50, or more, per assemblage.

Final Words:

On the whole, the option between In-Circuit Testing and Flying Probe Testing will hinge upon many essential components of your project. Mainly these include:

  • Anticipated masses
  • PCB pattern/complexity
  • Budget
  • Lead evolution times

While making the PCB contract with the manufacturer, you should have a perfect understanding of every test system, which will only be better for your particular needs. For more small-scale circuit boards that do not need a lot of examination or circuit boards acquired in low masses, the flying probe testing system might be the most beneficial option. On the other hand, enormous groups of circuit boards and composite boards will require the velocity and extended capacities of in-circuit testing.

Frequently, printed circuit boards manufacturers will practice a combination of both testing systems to present you with the most effective results. As flying probe testing will be utilized for standard testing during the image stage of the circuit board development, so will transition the volume of the testing system to the In-circuit testing system for the entire production.

Merely by keeping in mind the expected benefits and the basses of the in-circuit testing vs. flying probe testing, is difference between the two programs, you should experience a much better ordered to choose the best testing scheme for your PCBA assemblage and both testing services are available at PNC.

Contact us at sales@pnconline.com to fulfill your customized testing requirements.

Written by Sam Sangani

Sam Sangani

Sam Sangani is the President & CEO of PNC Inc., a Nutley, NJ based Printed Circuit Board manufacturer. Sam graduated from L. D. Engineering College with a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also continued his education and graduated from Steven’s Institute of Technology where he acquired a Master’s degree in Computer Science.

After completion of his BS, Sam worked as a QC Manager, for Xerox, Romania and London. He was responsible for the Quality Control of Cable and Wire Harness imports from Romania. After completing his Master’s Degree, he worked as a Senior Programmer with IBM, Tucson, Arizona. Sam was responsible for leading the Mainframe System Programming Team.

In 1997, Sam acquired PNC INC., a Nutley, NJ based PC Board fabrication Shop. From 1997-2013, Sam has made tremendous improvements and changes within PNC INC., as he added many new Products and Technologies in PNC’s portfolio. With his proven track record and leadership, PNC has never had an unprofitable year and has continued its growth yearly since 1997.

His current responsibilities are Strategic Planning, Corporate Management, New Business Ventures, Sales & Marketing, Trade Shows, Professional Services and leading productive teams to achieve peak potential. He has also utilized Lean Management techniques which have built a foundation for PNC’s high-paced growth. Sam also enjoys real-estate investing, web design & SEO, trading stocks, options, futures and Forex markets.

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