Agilent Eliminates Physical Test Points for In-Circuit Tests

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) unveiled a limited access solution for In-Circuit Test (ICT) users that eliminates the need for physical test points, offering benefits that traditional VTEP test cannot provide. Part of Agilent’s VTEP v2.0 Powered test suite, the Agilent Cover-Extend Technology is a hybrid between two established test methodologies in the electronic manufacturing industry: Boundary Scan and VTEP Vectorless Test.

Unlike traditional VTEP test, which requires physical test points on the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) for the injection of test stimulus signals, Agilent’s Cover-Extend relies on stimulus provided by Boundary Scan cells, which do not require physical test points. The benefits of this technology include:

  • Improved test coverage, which preserves users’ investment in in-circuit testers. Cover-Extend can recover up to 50-percent node access.
  • Significant savings on fixturing, a continuous operating cost that can easily exceed the price of the ICT system itself over time. A typical factory using Cover-Extend on 30 lines can potentially save up to $500,000 per year.
  • Strain relief on solder joints, resulting from fewer test probes needed underneath high-density ICs (e.g., BGAs), greatly reduce potential solder-joint damage due to excessive strain.

“Cover-Extend addresses key concerns in today’s manufacturing environment — cost, coverage, quality and speed,” said Daniel Mak, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s Measurement Systems Division. “The results we are getting from our customers’ lines are very positive, and we will implement Cover-Extend in full-scale production environments with some of our key customers in April.”

Further Information and Availability
Agilent customers with valid software-upgrade contracts for the i3070 and VTEP-equipped fixtures can receive this new technology by purchasing an additional software license and a fully VTEP-compatible fixture hardware upgrade. Pricing for the license will include attractive bundles for new and current Agilent boundary-scan customers. Pricing for the VTEP fixture hardware upgrade will be similar to existing Agilent VTEP fixture hardware products. Limited shipments of the product have begun. Full availability will be in the second half of 2008. Agilent will conduct live demonstrations of Cover-Extend at two major test and inspection tradeshows: Apex 2008, April 1-3 in Las Vegas, Nev.; and Nepcon Shanghai 2008, April 8-11, Shanghai, China.

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) is the world’s premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company’s 19,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $5.4 billion in fiscal 2007.