Manufacturers test to ensure that the product is built correctly. Shorts, opens, wrong or incorrectly inserted components, even catastrophically faulty components need to be flagged, found and repaired. When all such faults are removed, however, functional faults may still exist at normal operating speed, or even at lower speeds. Functional board test (FBT) is still required, a process that still relies on test engineers’ understanding of circuit functionality and manually developed test procedures. While functional automatic test equipment (ATE) has been reduced considerably in price, FBT test costs have not been arrested. In fact, FBT is a huge undertaking that can take several weeks or months of test engineering development, unacceptably stretching time to market. The alternative, of selling products that have not undergone comprehensive FBT is equally, if not more, intolerable.
SMTA - Surface Mount Technology Association is a non-profit international association of companies and individuals (totalling 4,000) involved in all aspects of advanced electronics assembly, surface mount and related technologies.
IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries is a US-based trade association dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its nearly 2,600 member companies which represent all facets of the electronic interconnection industry, including design, printed wiring board manufacturing and electronics assembly.