In general, automation offers many benefits, such as more repeatability, less downtime, and generally lower cost of operation.

While each test case is unique, there are common reasons for test automation.

Eight reasons for manufacturing test automation:
Reduce test time
Increase productivity
Decrease the incidence of manual testing errors
Improve repeatability and reproducibility (R&R)
Reduce labor costs
Hasten access to test results from one and many units
Advance sharing of results with engineering design
Enhance safety of people and property

Reduce test time

Automating a test process can speed up the rate at which a part can be tested. Nevertheless, almost every test system that tests less than ~1 part every few minutes has a human operator moving parts through the test system.

Complete automation, including part handling, is usually restricted to parts being tested at rates of more than ~10 parts per minute.

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Increase productivity

Since some aspects of the testing are performed automatically, the operator can be performing other activities in parallel with the testing, such as:

  • Part handling
  • Reacting to failed parts
  • Dealing with electronic or paper data sheets (sometimes called “travelers”).

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Decrease the incidence of manual testing errors

Since computers don’t get tired or bored, less mistakes are made in the testing process or procedure than if a person performed the test.

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Improve repeatability and reproducibility (R&R)

Automation removes boredom and fatigue and test results have less variability than if a human operator were involved.

Reduce labor costs

With improved productivity, more parts can be made per shift thus lowering the cost of labor on a per unit basis. Likewise, detailed measurements that can be challenging for an inexperienced operator can be shifted to the test system, thus lowering labor costs associated with training.

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Hasten access to test results from one and many units

If test results are stored as electronics records, rather than on paper, a database can be setup and searched, reducing the effort and time to find test results from one or a group of parts.

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Advance sharing of results with engineering design

In addition to the searching capabilities, when electronic results files are placed on a shared network, the design team can review test results right away.

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Enhance safety of people and property

If the test system performs some dangerous operations, with extreme conditions like voltage, current, pressures, temperature, and so on, the test system can manage the connections and proximity to the unit under test and reduce the chance that a person needs to be nearby. Furthermore, the test system can monitor the test conditions and unit operation to shut down and remove energy from the system in order to return to a safe state for the operator.

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Next Steps

If you’re interested in manufacturing test automation and you’d like to chat about your needs, you can reach out here for a consultation.

Yes, I want help automating my production testing »