RTI specializes in creating long term and cost-effective test solutions like our reusable mechanical test fixtures. Also known as test presses, these bed-of-nails test fixtures are robust yet flexible with custom integration to fit your device and testing needs. Mechanical test presses can last hundreds of thousands of cycles and are used in engineering and prototype testing of a single unit under test (UUT), functional testing of complete sub-assemblies, low-medium volume test of multiple devices or PCBs in parallel, and more.
What are Reusable Mechanical Test Fixtures?
Reusable mechanical test fixtures are comprised of two core components: a universal press base fitted with a lid that applies vertical z-axis compression force and an interchangeable interface module that aligns and probes the UUT. The universal test press bases are a one-time purchase, and each model shares a common mounting footprint to accept a variety of UUT specific interface modules.
Universal Test Press Bases
The universal test press base comes in standard sizes ranging from 6” to 16” and serves as a modular benchtop platform for testing different devices, PCBs, or test applications. A removable lid attaches to the press’ mechanical arms and uses custom positioned standoffs to apply compression force to the UUT. Lids can also be designed to provide topside probing of PCBs and/or devices under test. Universal test press bases can be further customized to include RF shielding, pressurization, temperature and light regulation, the inclusion of driver components, and more.
The universal test fixture base is responsible for:
- Providing even and measured vertical compression force to the UUTs. Test fixtures can effortlessly provide hundreds of pounds of force making them ideal for medium to high pin count testing.
- Providing a standardized mounting footprint for a variety of drop-in quick-swap interchangeable interface modules
- Mounting of interchangeable device-specific lids with standoffs and/or test probes to contact the topside of UUTs
- Housing of additional common driver components and test electronics used during test in an RF isolated enclosure on the back or under the unit
Interchangeable Interface Modules
One of the most valuable features of our presses is the interchangeable modules. These custom bed-of-nails interfaces integrate various components and design options to meet your test requirements. Modules are designed and built to your device and test specifications and are fully capable of multiple test sites for PCBs or devices. Our customizable modules can extend outside of the universal base, allowing additional connections to the device or PCB under test or to accommodate larger test sites. The modules are removed quickly and easily for rapid product changeover.
The interchangeable interface module is responsible for:
- Probing the bottom side of the UUTs using one or more types of pogo pins or connectors of choice
- Providing precise alignment of the test points on the UUTs to both probes in the interface module and lid affixed to the universal test fixture base. Top-side probing is also available.
- Routing signals from the UUTs to a tester friendly interface (i.e. connectors, terminal blocks, header pins, and more) using an integrated breakout board
- Incorporating test status indicator lights or displays for immediate feedback during operation
Cost & Benefits
#1 Ease of use
Special skills or tools are not required for quick setup or operation. Benchtop test presses provide an easy to use single lever mechanism in a compact universal platform that remains consistent, even as the base is changed into different test fixtures by switching the interchangeable modules for different devices or different test applications. No additional training is required, and fixtures can be used by any operator regardless of experience.
#2 Flexibility and Integration
Test presses can be designed for direct integration with common testers such as National Instruments’ PXI based modular test systems. Device-specific interface modules can be developed for use with other standard universal test fixture bases. A breakout board integrated into the interface module gives you the ability to route signals between the test probes and your connector(s) of choice to ensure compatibility with home-brew test or measurement systems.
#3 One-Time-Purchase Platform
Since the common actuating hardware is contained within the universal test press base you are not required to purchase a new base for each interchangeable module. Standard test press bases are available in multiple sizes with up to 4-inch working distances, operator lever position on the left or right side, and built-in enclosures. Standard RTI universal test press bases do not incur NRE charges. Are you interested in creating your own standardized universal test press to meet your ongoing test requirements? We can help!
#4 Customized for Guaranteed Compatibility
Using customized Interchangeable modules and lids designed and built by knowledgeable RTI engineers guarantees reliable and repeatable performance with an unmatched level of support. Our engineers customize the fixture designs specifically to your device. Custom manufactured interface modules are a guaranteed working alternative to non-machined test press kits that require your in-house design, manufacturing time, and compatibility verification time. They can be purchased separately or in addition to the purchase of a universal mechanical test press base.
#5 Scales with Your Production Needs
You can easily reuse the common press base when new devices or test requirements pop up. Complete the fixture you need by contacting us for a new interchangeable module that incorporates your new device design or test requirement. Furthermore, universal press bases are scalable and can be used to test single devices in prototyping environments or multiple devices simultaneously in hand test production environments. This can cut down your long-term cost of test by eliminating the need to purchase whole new dedicated test fixtures for each new device or test.
Set yourself up for success with RTI’s reusable mechanical fixtures.
Support & Aftercare
RTI is your partner in test and we take your challenges very seriously. We’re here to build you the most reliable and robust fixture there is on the market. We’re also here to support you should you run into challenges later. Feel free to contact us with questions or request a free quote.