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Recent Projects

Encoder Simulator

Custom Testers

An OEM producing positioning equipment needed 100% functional at-speed test for the encoder input ports on a new board.  A survey of off-the-shelf equipment for the purpose turned up little, and this customer wanted to avoid stacks of GPIB equipment at each test station.  We discussed a small custom solution leveraging shareware Arduino quadrature software and the customer requested the design be done in Eagle schematic capture/layout so they could make alterations to it later.  CAE Integration performed in-house design and layout on the requested CAD platform, providing design source files with the finished assemblies.  This Arduino-based solution perform the following test functions:

  • Hardware quadrature signal 122 Hz to 4MHz is buffered onto any combination of the 4 encoder ports.  

  • 3 power pins from UUT on each port are verified on A2D inputs.

CAE Integration added a command-line interface to the quadrature library, allowing the finished tester to use the Arduino’s built in USB COM port power and interactive scripted or manual control during test.

Custom Test Technology

A sensor manufacturer contacted CAE Integration for a test to locate manufacturing defects in sensor assemblies.  The customer’s engineering team supplied Matlab code that controlled their sensor, and after some discussion we jointly devised an approach that would solve this problem with a single test target.  CAE Integration built and tuned a prototype target with fault injection for optimal test performance, then fabricated production test targets with a combination of machined and 3D printed parts.  Finally CAE Integration customized the Matlab code into an automated test and compiled it for deployment on the customer’s manufacturing stations.

Matlab Instrument
Board Subassembly and Functional Test
UFT Screenshot

Board/Subassembly Functional Test

An OEM developing a board with a wide variety of hardware features contracted CAE Integration during the design phase.  CAE Integration proposed a test plan including Flying Probe and Functional test, and we began developing the functional test in parallel with the customer’s product development team.  CAE Integration developed UFT scripts to exercise a variety of I2C, USB, Ethernet, magnetic, WIFI, and Bluetooth devices using a combination of the test PC, commercial test equipment, and various off-the shelf devices.  USB ports on the product performed a number of key roles, so CAE Integration searched for COTS test hardware that would adequately cover them.  We integrated Passmark USB testers for full coverage of all USB interfaces, requiring only a cross-compile of their command-line utility onto the target CPU.  Some test development had to wait for the design team to complete certain product features, and we coordinated efforts to complete the manufacturing test simultaneous with the product.  We 3D printed the fixture out of ESD plastic, providing convenient cradles into which operators place the boards and subassemblies for test.

Board/Subassembly Functional Test

An OEM with low power visible lasers on their board needed it held at up angles for connection and debug, but aligned over an optical sensor at several locations for FDA-required test and recording of laser power levels.  CAE integration designed a support arm with friction hinges to hold the UUT at any angle for operator convenience.   Lowered to its bottom position the arm aligns the UUT over the laser power sensors.  All UFT test programs log test activity in human-readable format and record the results in a SQL database against the unit serial number, which makes annual FDA reports against this product a snap!

Laser Tester

Board Functional Test

Power Control Board Tester

An OEM needed an automated functional test for their product’s power control board, which operates over I2C interface and routes signals for two serial ports.  Creating an I2C library for the UFT test interface, we leveraged the board’s integrated power monitoring and control to decrease test equipment cost while keeping the test fully automated.  CAE Integration added a number of active-cooled loads to exercise the board as well as indicator lights to highlight connections/shorts for the operator.

Board Functional Test

An OEM needed to program and functionally test their motor controller board, which operates over serial interface.  We added to their existing UFT test, leveraging the customer’s motors and the board’s integrated power monitoring to decrease test equipment cost.  CAE Integration added loads to exercise the board as well as indicator lights and flags to clarify equipment status to the operator.  We organized firmware loading and interface electronics in the box at the front and fabricated the tester with the customer’s favorite power connector.

Motor Controller Tester

Board Interconnect/ Functional Test

Cirris Series Cable Tester

An OEM needed a manufacturing defect test for a set of related boards.  In considering them as a set, the test plan took an unusual turn.  While each board has a handful of active functions, the primary function of each board is to serve as adapters providing connectivity among other boards and devices.  JTAG and Flying Probe were not good candidates due to design constraints.  We reached out to Cirris for a cable tester that would fit the requirements, selecting a C4200-LV for its ability to check diodes and passive devices in addition to wiring.  CAE Integration designed and fabricated test boards to adapt each UUT’s native connectors to bulk test cables as well as to provide power, clocks and interfaces as needed for functional test.  We incorporated the Cirris “cable” test as a step within the UFT test, for a comprehensive test of each UUT.

LabVIEW Programming

An OEM had to update a number of legacy products due to the COVID supply chain disruption.  This affected their manufacturing tests, but their internal test engineering team was already fully booked with activity related to new products.   While the solutions were built on industry standard rack & stack lab equipment controlled with NI LabVIEW, a backlog of changes accrued over the years due to obsoleted test equipment and operating systems.  CAE Integration updated legacy LabVIEW programs for the changes to UUT, test equipment, environment, fixtures, and dialed in the tests to run reliably so the customer could meet their production deadlines on new and legacy products alike.

LabView Programming Logo
Final Product Test

Final Product Test

Microphone Tester Isometric Section View

This OEM’s finished product required a speaker volume test and wireless programming.  Mechanical assembly (hammering) is often performed near the test area, so we performance tested for this in-house.  With a single layer of soundproofing foam we picked up assembly noises in the speaker test, so a second layer of soundproofing was added.  The product is placed on this 3D printed box filled with soft foam.  A bracket in the back of the box aligns the product's NFC tag for wireless programming vua uFR Nano from Digital Logic.  Other features align the product’s speaker over an opening in the soundproofing to convey sound to the meter.  This cutaway view shows from left to right: wireless programmer bracket, sound channel, and the tongue that holds the sound meter

Final Product Test

A manufacturer of handheld distance measurement devices needed a simple way to test their units over a fixed distance.  For operator convenience we created a track with end-stops and an extra grippy surface to provide consistent encoder counts

Encoder Test Track

Scaling Up Burn-In Test

Cleware USBMux1x8

An existing UFT customer needed to add multiple-unit burn-in test to for the same product.  For design reasons it was not permissible to connect multiple products to the test PC simultaneously.  CAE Integration did a search of off-the shelf solutions, then incorporated Cleware USB MUXes into their UFT test program and added a burn-in mode allowing repetitive testing of any number of units throughout the burnin cycle.

Support Arm Case Study

We quickly generated a draft support arm to hold the UUT and clamp it in place. With the model in-hand we used it like an operator to find its shortcomings.  This draft was difficult to use with tight spots by the hold down clamps.

Old Cart Support Arm

Draft Support Arm

Iterating the design three times, we used and abused the fixture like an operator to find other usability and performance issues before the customer used one. The ability to 3D print the prototypes and final product greatly decreased the turnaround time of these revisions. This last version provided:

  • Extra clearance to the UUT for easy replacement

  • A cable channel with zip tie cable retention for connector-saver serviceability

  • Tie mounts to locate the cable ends for convenient operator hook-up

  • A channel for the fan cable to keep it out of the way

  • An adjustment screw for sensor height calibration

  • A mount for last-minute inclusion of an adapter board

New Cart Support Arm

Final Support Arm

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