Production Test Engineering Adopts Private Cloud Solution
By Morne Gouws, Hardware Engineer & Dan Knorr, Test Engineer
Private Cloud Solution
Recently, Laird’s Embedded Wireless Production and Test Engineering team has taken big steps to improve our services to customers by implementing a private cloud solution. The private cloud solution is required for global organizations like Laird, who produce millions of radios. Laird’s private cloud solution benefits customers by providing quality, innovation, reliable fulfillment, and global reach. Laird wanted to create a better system that provides tractability online by entering a serial number or MAC address. Laird is a global organization, so a system that could manage all testers at each site from a central database was needed. The solution was a private cloud, a local server running at each factory that performs synchronization with the online server periodically throughout the day. The system features custom software and a SQL database within National Instruments' LabVIEW and TestStand, Laird’s standard control platform. Early in 2014, the first test result storage was realized for the BL600 product line. Since then, Laird has added BT4xx and BT8xx products with more to follow. The design has evolved to include several powerful features, including:
- MAC address assignment management, where ranges can be focused to a specific factory and product
- Checks and balances that help to prevent duplication of MAC address assignments, including printing errors, reducing defects to our customers
- All product test definition data is password controlled, preventing unauthorized changes
- Test equipment calibration is integrated within the design, ensuring traceability of test results to the manufacturing location, time, date, sequence step, and equipment serial number used
- Simple report generator to search for any useful criteria such as factory, product, MAC, serial number, defect, date range, average test times, etc.
- Immediate email notifications to test engineering of critical errors during tests
- All database synching of new product test data and production test results are automated, allowing engineering to focus on new product development
In addition Laird also has an application called DB reports that emails weekly reports on test data in Laird’s online database. These reports allow Laird to keep a close eye on our manufacturing operations. The private cloud solution is just one example of how Laird’s innovation is applied both internally and externally. However there is still much more to do as Laird continues to add online storage capability to the balance of our product portfolio and improve the user interface. To learn more about Laird’s product lines, visit the Embedded Wireless Solutions homepage.