AIA: Navy Cuts Costs With Board Tester
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command's (NAVAIR, Patuxent River, MD) mission is to ensure the U.S. Navy has the very best in equipment and technology. Specific areas of activity include everything from aircraft to weapons systems to surveillance and even virtual reality training equipment.
As part of this mission, NAVAIR is involved in diagnosing and repairing circuit card assemblies (CCA's) for weapons, communications and avionics systems when failures occur in components for which a test program set (TPS) or schematics are unavailable. The command does this using PinPoint II functional testers from DiagnoSYS Systems Inc. (Kissimmee, FL). Initially, the Navy purchased 10 of the testers. Since that time it estimates it has been able to save approximately $800,000 per month thanks to its enhanced rework capabilities. The Navy is in the process of purchasing as many as 60 new machines over the next 4 years to further expand its testing and repair program.
Using the testers, NAVAIR is able to create new schematics and test programs that increase the accuracy of its troubleshooting while avoiding the expense of developing a new TPS manually. According to the Navy, the latter was a time consuming process requiring considerable expertise. With the test systems, repair is process-driven, which can reduce costs by 50 percent. An auto-learn mode allows the technician to clip onto a component to determine how the device is utilized in the circuit. This technique speeds test development time and allows for specific functional testing of the component as it was intended to be used by the circuit designer.
According to the Navy, before implementing the testers, some 90 percent of CCA's couldn't be evaluated. Now, technicians can troubleshoot CCA's down to the component level in less time than it takes to ship them out for repairs. They can also order replacement parts to effect in-house repairs.
Technicians are even taking advantage of the reverse engineering capabilities to work with cheaper CCAs that have traditionally not been considered worth the trouble of even trying to repair. This capability is critical for forward-deployed units because data and documentation are not readily available when analyzing electrical components.
For more on circuit board testing, visit www.diagnosys-usa.com or call 800-788-6219.