An industry leading HVAC controls producer was struggling with product quality. Testing protocols for control units were unreliable resulting in bad product arriving to customers. Furthermore, no data collection of these faulty components was being tracked. Circuit boards were either good or bad; no determination was being made as to why the products were not functioning as designed. Testing automation had been an obvious candidate for some time, however, new circuit boards were being released as frequently as every nine months. The automated solution needed to adapt to the unknown, future requirements, which was a difficult obstacle to overcome.

ISSUES

This HVAC manufacturer was faced with problems regarding production of their circuit boards. These issues were causing defective products to be delivered to the customer.

• Defective Product
• Lost Revenue
• Customer Dissatisfaction
• Quality

OBJECTIVES

Engineering Specialists were tasked with the following objectives:

• Improve product quality
• Provide for data collection, storage, and recall
• Automate testing protocols

SOLUTION

After the enlistment of Engineering Specialists, a modular Test & Measure system was developed. The solution developed allowed for various testing fixtures to be swapped in-and-out of the test stands. The objective was to test multiple circuit board functions across various models. Upwards of 50 tests per board were conducted which included, but are not limited to, the following: current, voltage, and resistance measurements, proper LED illumination, USB port functionality, and air pressure detection verification. Through a scanning procedure the test unit verifies that the proper board is operating in conjunction with the proper test fixture. When a product failure was recognized, the data collected was assigned to that specific board’s unique serial number. The identified board can then be refurbished mitigating scrap costs. With the data in-hand patterns of faulty components can be identified & refurbished and inferior product does not leave the plant.

RESULTS

• Elimination of inferior product
• Unique data now collected & stored for each item tested
• Quick identification of faulty component