Agilent Technologies’ new Cover-Extend Technology is a hybrid between two established test methods for manufacturing test: boundary scan and VTEP vectorless test. Part of the company’s VTEP v2.0 Powered test suite, Cover-Extend offers a limited-access solution for in-circuit test (ICT) users that eliminates the need for physical test points, providing benefits that traditional VTEP cannot. Unlike traditional VTEP test, Cover-Extend relies on stimulus provided by boundary scan cells, which do not require physical test points.
Benefits include improved test coverage, which preserves the users’ investment in in-circuit testers. Cover-Extend can recover up to 50% node access. The technology also saves on fixturing, a continuous operating cost that can easily exceed the price of the ICT system itself over time. Agilent says that a typical factory using Cover-Extend on 30 lines can potentially save up to $500,000 a year. In addition, because fewer test probes are needed underneath high-density ICs, the technology provides strain relief on solder joints, reducing damage on the joints.
Agilent customers with valid software-upgrade contracts for the i3070 and VTEP-equipped fixtures can receive the new technology by purchasing an additional software license and a fully VTEP-compatible fixture hardware upgrade. Pricing for the license will include bundles for new and current Agilent boundary-scan customers. Pricing for the VTEP fixture hardware upgrade will be similar to existing Agilent VTEP fixture hardware products. Limited shipments of the product have begun. Full availability will be in the second half of 2008.
Agilent will demonstrate Cover-Extend at two major test and inspection tradeshows: Apex 2008, Apr. 1-3 in Las Vegas, Nev.; and Nepcon Shanghai 2008, Apr. 8-11, Shanghai, China.