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CheckSum Introduces New In-Circuit Test System Aimed at Agilent 3070-Series Users.

LOS ANGELES -- CheckSum, a leading supplier of circuit-board test and ISP programming systems, today introduced a new in-circuit tester targeted at users of Agilent 3070-series testers who need to increase test capacity.

Demonstrated at the APEX trade show (booth #2105), the Analyst fcs tester delivers the low-cost advantages of CheckSum's Analyst test platform to Agilent 3X7X users while preserving their investment in Agilent fixtures.

The Analyst fcs Low-Cost In-Circuit Test (ICT) system directly accommodates bed-of-nails test fixtures built for Agilent 3X7X-series in-circuit test systems. A fully-equipped, 4-module Analyst fcs will cost around $150,000, less than half the cost of a comparably equipped Agilent system.

John VanNewkirk, CheckSum's CEO, stated, "Several OEMs and contract manufacturers asked us for a low-cost Analyst tester that can use their existing Agilent fixtures directly. They recognize that their sizable installed base of Agilent fixtures presents a financial and logistical barrier to moving to a lower-cost in-circuit tester. The Analyst fcs removes this barrier.

"The built-in fixture compatibility of the Analyst fcs opens the path to lower test costs by offering a modern alternative to high-cost testers. Choosing the Analyst fcs preserves the full value of the user's fixture tooling investment while cutting the investment and operating costs of the new tester in half."

Harry Jin, CheckSum's Strategic Business Specialist, noted, "Many manufacturers are using Agilent 3X7x testers and fixtures to test system products consisting of a mix of simple and complex boards. Typically, one or two board types in the mix may require digital vector test, while straightforward in-circuit suffices for the others.

"Boards not requiring digital vector test are tested on their original fixtures using the Analyst tester, which has all the in-circuit test capability needed, together with built-in headroom for power-on test, boundary scan, and ISP device programming. The existing Agilent systems still have plenty of capacity for those few board types still requiring vector test.

"With the Analyst fcs, the customer has doubled test capacity at about half the cost of buying a second Agilent tester while preserving vector test capability for boards that need it--all accomplished with no fixture retooling cost," Jin concluded.

Why the "Gold Standard" Is Now the "Old Standard"

"The landscape of in-circuit test (ICT) was established during the 1980s and 1990s when around 20,000 Agilent, GenRad and Teradyne testers were installed," explained VanNewkirk. "Hundreds of thousands of test fixtures were built over that time, and most remain in active inventory. These 'big iron' testers were an effective solution for the circuit board fault spectrum of that time. Digital faults comprised upwards of 35% of total defects, and these testers excelled at diagnosing digital faults, becoming the 'gold standard' of in-circuit test. But in light of today's near zero digital defect rates, vector test is increasingly irrelevant for most boards.

"In-circuit users have already acknowledged this reality by leaving vector test out of the majority of programs they are writing today. Even for those boards that can benefit from digital vector test, few manufacturers have the time or resources to implement it. Nevertheless, the overhead cost of this now mostly abandoned technology lives on in those 20,000 testers as added hardware, greater software complexity, degraded reliability, and reduced ease of use," VanNewkirk declared. "The 'gold standard' has become the 'old standard.'"

"Even though users understand this, the huge sunk cost of their fixture investment means that buying an additional Agilent or Teradyne system to add test capacity has been really the only alternative up to now, forcing them to live with the intrinsically higher costs of the 'old standard.' By providing straightforward fixture compatibility, the Analyst fcs lets 3070 users step up to the new standard--a test system offering in-circuit, boundary-scan, and ISP programming that delivers excellent test coverage for today's boards at much lower purchase and operating costs."

About the Analyst fcs

The Analyst fcs tester accepts 1-, 2- and 4-module 3070-style bed-of-nails test fixtures. The system can be equipped with up to 5184 points and supports available Agilent Device Under Test (DUT) power supplies.

CheckSum software tools capture all the key in-circuit and TestJet information (switching, guarding, test setups, tolerances) from the original Agilent test job, which is used to generate and validate the Analyst test program. CheckSum also offers turnkey program translation and validation services.

Shipments are slated to begin in the second quarter of 2007.

About CheckSum

CheckSum is a leading supplier of low-cost circuit board test and ISP device programming solutions--including systems, fixtures, and programs--to the electronics manufacturing industry. CheckSum has been delivering reliable, cost-effective, and flexible test solutions to OEMs and contract manufacturers for 19 years. With an installed base of over 3,000 test systems at more than 200 companies in over 40 countries, CheckSum helps customers ranging from automotive electronics manufacturers to global EMS providers reduce their total test and manufacturing costs and increase their manufacturing margins.

CheckSum is the only North American Automated Test Equipment (ATE) supplier to offer turnkey test program and fixturing packages solutions and an engineering-oriented approach to customer support, giving customers a cost-saving alternative to traditional ATE suppliers. Satisfied customers helped CheckSum win an Evaluation Engineering "Readers' Choice" award in the category of ATE and a "Best in Test" Honorable Mention from Test and Measurement World. For more information, visit www.checksum.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 20, 2007
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