Circuit Check

Circuit Check
Type Private Company
Founded 1978
Headquarters Maple Grove, Minnesota
USA
Number of locations 4
Key people Greg Michalko (CEO)
Products test fixture, automatic test equipment
Employees 175+ (worldwide)
Website www.circuitcheck.com

Circuit Check is an American company with over 175 employees and seven direct operations in four countries (the U.S., Mexico, China, and Malaysia). Headquartered in Maple Grove, Minnesota, it is one of the largest manufacturers of electronic and mechanical test fixtures in North America,[1] . The company also manufactures Automatic Test Equipment for end-of-line manufacturing test. The company uses both a Microsoft Excel-driven "CCITest" software platform, and the National Instruments LabVIEW software platform.

Contents

History

Circuit Check was founded in 1978 as a spin-out of a printed circuit board drilling service bureau, "CircuitDrill." The initial product was test fixtures for bed of nails testers.

Over the following years, the company developed many innovations for in-circuit test and functional test or FCT. Notably, the pneumatically-actuated "clamshell" test fixture, which electrically probes a circuit from both sides of the board was developed by Circuit Check.

The company successfully combined in-circuit test with functional test in the same test fixture in 2004, by developing and patenting the two-stage fixture having pins of two different lengths, and compressing to two different heights[2].

Innovations

A significant contribution to the art of test fixture design occurred when Circuit Check's engineers devised a method for applying strain gage testing to determining the stresses placed on circuit boards by the hundreds or thousands of test probes used to make electrical contact therewith.[3][4] This is significant because each test probe (a.k.a. "pogo pin") exerts several ounces of force on the DUT (Device Under Test). When the test fixture has thousands of test probes, the sum of the individual probe forces can be several hundred pounds. This massive force is sufficient to deform the DUT (a printed circuit board, for example) to the point where the attached inflexible electronic component packages (such as Ball Grid Arrays) may break, or their solder joints may fail. Strain gage testing can reveal areas on the DUT where these net forces are excessive when the DUT is clamped into the test fixture, thus showing where supports must be added to the test fixture on the side opposite the test probes, to counteract the test probe forces. Where a support counteracts the test probe forces, the test probe force is converted from a deformative force distorting the DUT to a compressive force, squeezing the DUT circuit board without deforming its generally planar shape.

Notes

  1. ^ Circuit Check Completes Expansion and Renovations, PCB007, Jan 8, 2010.
  2. ^ U.S. Patent 7,200,509
  3. ^ Strain gage Testing: Predicting and Preventing Brittle Fracture of BGAs, SMT Magazine, June 2004, Julia Goldstein, 87.D.
  4. ^ Strain gage Testing: Standardization", SMT Magazine, July 2005, Mudasir Ahmad, Rich Duggan, Tom Hu, Brett Ong, Carter Ralph, Sundar Sethuraman and Dongkai Shangguan

References


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