News story: MOD Automatic Test Equipment centre of excellence

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  1. Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) can be used to test various items such as Line Replaceable Items (LRIs), power supplies, circuit cards and chassis. A typical modern ATE test suite will usually consist of a computer running software to control a variety of instruments, which then apply signals and measure responses from the piece of equipment under test. The computer runs a Test Program which carries out the testing and reports the results to our specialised operators.

    The Test Program and its associated hardware, called the Interface Test Adaptor (ITA), are known as a Test Program Set (TPS). The creation of these TPSs is where DECA Test Solutions engineers are experts. Established and highly knowledgeable in developing low cost TPS/ATE solutions and understanding fully the critical importance of risk reduction management, our highly skilled teams can provide In-Circuit, High Speed Dynamic Digital, DC to 26 GHz and Analogue testing.

    The in-service life of some of the equipment we test can often outlast the life of the ATE. Another area where DECA excels is in “migrating” old TPSs onto more modern, supportable ATE that provide vital through-life obsolescence management of aging and legacy equipment where the only alternatives would be costly support solutions or even worse the need for development of replacement equipment. To date, we have successfully migrated over 1000 TPSs onto modern supportable ATE successfully extending the life of many critical MOD equipments.

    The DECA team also create new TPS to replace less efficient and older manual testing systems. We have recently re-hosted a large complex unmaintainable test system onto a well-supported, simple to use ATE. The reduction in testing time from two days to three hours provides a substantial cost saving and the new TPS has also added reliability and extended the support of the legacy system to support the items in service until their out of service date.

    In partnership with the MOD and Spherea Test & Services, we are leading the way in promoting and informing Project teams to adopt ATML and IEEE 1641 standards. This enables development of TPSs that conform to Defence Standard 66-31 and will allow long term support of equipment thorough the creation of Test Platform independent TPSs. New TPSs, some created from original source documents, are provided to MOD and industry partners helping semi-skilled operators to locate failing components using reverse trace technology significantly speeding up diagnosis and repair times for complex circuit cards.

    With a diverse range and many types of test methodology the world of Test and ATE can be confusing. Our Test Solutions provide a MOD based Subject Matter Expert consultancy service for ATE testing.

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    MOD general purpose Automatic Test Equipment based on the Teradyne Spectrum. Photograph DECA, all rights reserved

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