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Automated test equipment can look like a very big investment to manufacturing groups. While it is growing more common and more accessible, many still question whether or not it constitutes what their business requires. The following are some things you should ask yourself to determine whether or not it might be right for your business. It isn’t an absolute guide and can’t replace your own awareness of your business needs, but it should get you started on what you need to consider.
Size is always going to be the foremost factor. Size correlates directly to your manufacturing capacity. If you’re a larger business with a large manufacturing capacity, you’re in a better position to benefit from the use of automated test equipment for the electronics you manufacture. Smaller businesses that still maintain a large manufacturing capacity can still benefit, however, and this leads neatly into the next point.
The next thing to consider after manufacturing capacity is inspection capacity. Quality control grows more complicated the larger a business becomes, and a larger staff is required. This becomes a bit of a paradox. If you have a large inspection staff, odds are that you would benefit from automated testing equipment to allow them to work more efficiently. If you have a small or non-specialized inspection staff, you may also benefit from automated test equipment, as it can greatly enhance what your narrow staffing already provides.
Cost, of course, is a factor to consider, but thankfully you can generally correlate this to time. You’ll want to look into how many man-hours automated test equipment can save your business with a conservative estimate, and use that to determine just how long you’ll need to go positive on your investment. It’s generally possible for a small business that can still afford automated test equipment to save sufficient time to make up for the purchase in less than a year, depending on their output. The higher a company’s output, the greater the impact of a functional device.
More specific information can easily be acquired through a test equipment manufacturer like Four Hound Solutions. Their technicians will be glad to assist you in determining your company’s test equipment needs. Ultimately, whether or not automated test equipment is worth your time comes down to the numbers. Automated test equipment can greatly increase your inspection capacity or allow inspectors to focus on things that require human eyes, and if that will show a benefit, it will usually be easy to see.