Defining ATE automated test equipment will take a few more acronyms, but the short answer is that it’s a system of using automation to run tests on products and processes in order to provide faster and more accurate results. Automated test equipment requires little human interaction, and works especially well in high-volume testing. It’s usually a self-contained unit of testing hardware and software combined, and provides accurate and detailed analysis of test results using pre-defined criteria. ATE is most often used in manufacturing environments like the automotive, aerospace and medical equipment industries.
How it Works
AT equipment uses computer software set to certain specifications. It’s application can be as simple as the handheld gauge used to determine voltage or as complex as a sophisticated program that runs highly-detailed analysis of an avionics system.
There are two ways of attaching the testing device. One is with a probe that determines the working status of a piece of equipment through electrical current. An example would be a device that detects electrical current on the components of a printed circuit board. Another way the testing apparatus can be attached is via an Interface Test Adapter, or ITA, that conforms the ATE to the DUT, or Device Under Testing. The purpose is to test devices to determine if they’re in proper working condition and check them for defects. The speed and accuracy of this process makes it especially useful in electronics and mechanical testing.
The decision of what or how much of an apparatus or electronics system depends in part upon its use and the the cost of testing versus the the value of the unit’s final output.