New era for inline PCB testing

Category: Press release

Electronic components are getting smaller and consequently electronic assemblies are becoming more complex. Moreover, we see alternative electronics popping up more frequently. Off course, these should also be extensively tested to ensure their functionality. However, within the existing test solutions, this doesn’t work anymore.

That’s why IPTE is launching the Precision Contacting Test (PCT) handler in combination with the Fine Pitch SleeveProbe™. A solution to test with small test pads and achieve lower test pad pitches. By this technology IPTE’s testing capability expands, from traditional PCB’s and ceramic boards to high density electronic assemblies. This technology is even enabling testing of flexible/soft electronics and 3D electronics in the future.

Test pads down to 300µm

The PCT is a small, inline test handler solution for performing In-Circuit Tests and Functional Tests on PCB’s and Hybrids. Like its brothers the Easy Test Handler (ETH) and Multi Functional Test Handler (MFT), it also excels in footprint and speed.

The PCT achieves its high precision thanks to independent alignment of the top and bottom fixture. The alignment takes places right before the needles make contact with the aid of 4 fiducial cameras. After this process an absolute minimum of movements is required to contact the needles, assuring the best possible accuracy.

Unique to the PCT is the non-mechanical referencing of the device under test. This eliminates the loss of space through traditional reference holes and lowers stress on the board.

Test pad pitches down to 400µm

The Fine Pitch SleeveProbe™, a patented design by IPTE, is developed to contact very small test pad pitches typically 750µm, optionally even down to 400µm. Its design is flexible allowing practically any routing and orientation. Despite its slim and agile design, the Fine Pitch SleeveProbe™ is still a robust test probe for its size, capable of achieving contact force even up to 3N.

The test needle of ∅ 180µm is guided in a receptacle to a distance of 1mm from the test pad. This reduces side load during travel to the absolute minimum, preventing slipping off the test pad. As a result, contacting is always optimal and wearing of the needle tip is minimized thus increasing its lifetime.

The contacting of the Fine Pitch SleeveProbe™ is independently controlled, meaning contacting can possibly take place in multiple stages. Additionally the board is already in its position and fully supported by pushers before the needles contact the board. Resulting in ultra-low board stress levels compared to a traditional needle bed.

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