Automated Test Equipment

Automated test equipment, commonly abbreviated as ATE, is essential for testing your equipment, measuring its functionality, and evaluating the results. Gone are the days of manual testing. With automated test equipment, the diagnostic process has been streamlined for maximum efficiency, allowing for multiple tests to occur simultaneously to rapidly pinpoint any issues transpiring within your machinery.

ATE essentially encompasses any equipment utilized to test a mechanism. Other standard abbreviations associated with ATE are as follows:

  • DUT: Device under test
  • EUT: Equipment under test
  • UUT: Unit under test

A DUT, EUT, or UUT could be anything, ranging from a small electronic device to a massive piece of semiconductor equipment.

Some automated test equipment is simpler than others, in one sense of the word. For instance, a volt-ohm meter looks at the voltage of a PC and assesses basic functions. On the other end of the spectrum, automated test equipment designed to assess the front end semiconductor process might be far more complex and layered. But while the system might be more complex, the process is not. With highly advanced systems, ATEs can run simultaneous tests rapidly and efficiently, detecting, reporting, and analyzing the device’s functionality automatically. Automated test equipment is also used frequently to assess PCBs and circuits as they are being manufactured.

Automated test equipment was introduced in 1966 when Teradyne rolled out its J259, an automated, computer-operated assessment tool that changed the game in equipment testing.

Fast forward to the 1980s, when a Hewlett-Packard study suggested US DRAMS across the board were far less dependable than they could be. Their discoveries spurred more research and the development of virtual instrumentation, the birthplace of today’s automated test equipment.

By the early 90s, boundary scanning took the stage, allowing for analysis of the wire lines on PCBs in integrated circuits, quickly becoming the standard testing measure for interconnects. Over the last 25 years, innovations to these technologies have progressed, with automated test equipment becoming ever more precise and efficient.

How It Works

While the actual functions of automated test equipment might differ, they are generally executed similarly. Typically, test pins are attached to the device, equipment, or unit under test, giving them access to the signals operating in the system. They can then measure those signals and record data on them.

With advances like surface mount technology (SMT) downsizing machines and component space, some inspectors might trend towards X-ray testing, which might be more favorable with an SMT device. However, in many cases, a combination of X-ray and in circuit automated testing is an ideal method for a holistic assessment.

As chips get smaller and more complex, automated testing platforms built into the machine itself are gaining traction. No matter the ATE or the exact methodology it uses, all automated test equipment shares some of the same goals: to rapidly determine whether or not the equipment under test is functioning properly. If it isn’t functioning as it is, the secondary purpose of the ATE is to find out why. This is highly valuable information to have, intel that would be difficult to acquire without automated test equipment on hand. The results found by an ATE assessment could save a company tremendous amounts of money that would be lost if a defective product hit the shelves.

With the findings of an ATE test, the impact of the results may vary. Repairing damages could be a simple tweak to the machine or device, or it could entail purchasing a replacement machine. Regardless, knowing there is a problem, and what the problem is, is invaluable information.

Buying ATE from LEL

Above, we’ve outlined some of the main reasons you should invest in automated test equipment, but there’s more to it than just purchasing the first piece of ATE you see. Let’s talk about why you should buy automated test equipment from LEL, or sell your own with us.

First, to give you some insight, here are some of our currently listed and recently sold automated test equipment:


Bottom Line

At LEL, our main concern is providing a superior customer experience with exceptional machinery at affordable prices. If you buy or sell your used automated test equipment with LEL, you’ll get just that. We are happy to conduct on-site assessments at your place of business and create an equipment plan tailored to your company’s needs.

In as little as one week’s time, you could potentially have your new equipment delivered to your work site. And all of our equipment is carefully inspected before going on the market. With LEL, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting quality equipment at stellar prices. We’ll buy your equipment up front in the full amount. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our previous purchases, sells, and deliveries. We have the numbers to back it up!

Recently Sold Automated Test Equipment

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