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Good day all,

This is my first question on the electronics board, and I have checked for similar queries, but so far no luck. It is possible that I'm searching for the wrong terms, so I will describe my issue below.

I've recently started working for a company again doing embedded and firmware work (first time in some years), but they do not have an formal 'equipment under test' register or process in place. By this, I mean keeping track of:

  • PCBs being tested (with identifying information, ie SN, batch, etc)
  • History of the PCB (work done, failures, mods, etc)
  • Current FW versions
  • Any faults noticed on a particular PCB (or problems found during FW testing)

The last time I worked with such a process, it was a physical (paper) register, but for high value, low volume equipment, in one location. In this case, volume is higher, and work is spread out somewhat, and I need a way to track the history of boards so that we can see any common issues, or past issues that may be causing a new problem, etc. It will also be good to know where and with who a given board is at any given time.

I'm not sure at all whether there is software (free or otherwise) that will do this, and what the correct name (or terminology, category, etc) it would be hiding under.

On the software side, we'll be running Git, Jira, and all the related items (pure software development is what I've been doing for the last few years), and ideally I'll be able to link issues from Jira, to specific boards under test.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Kind regards,

UPDATE

I should make it clear that this register would be for equipment and boards being used during R&D, and some very basic acceptance testing. This is not for acceptance testing of boards actually going to customers. We do, however, still need to track the configurations and history on these boards. Sorry for any confusion!

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closed as off-topic by Leon Heller, Ricardo, JIm Dearden, Vladimir Cravero, Adam Haun Jun 5 '15 at 18:39

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I recently started in this realm as well and have been working on integrating exactly the same functionality.

What we are looking at (and already doing successfully for some things, but no EUT integration) is effectively a web application hooked into a managed database. This scales naturally as the database needs grow, you can easily write a server api down the line and make it a company intranet service with specialized applications for operations, qc, etc. Good database management and backup should be established if this becomes a production system.

There are also commercial operations software vendors that make utilities (with a GUI interface and preprogrammed query wizards for a sql appliance) for managing the mess of parts, revisions, etc. that can be used for tracking individual units but any kind of git or bug tracking support will be waiting on the vendor to develop. If you want to have something tomorrow it may be worth exploring commercial options, but otherwise the uncountable number of web startups shows that you can make a decent db-based application quickly with a small team. Doing it in-house allows you to easily integrate with your bug tracking and version control tools.There are a multitude of platforms out there to chose from so I'm sure you can find something to match the skills of any in house team you assemble.

ISO or client-imposed standards for operations/QC can be easily complied with as well, just have a periodic database export whenever updated or on a regular basis that can simply be structured in the required format to be considered documents of record for compliance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much for this! I suspected it might have to be an in-house developed solution for the long term - thanks for confirming that :) Can you suggest any of the commercial applications that you've encountered while you've been searching? I'd like to get this off the ground as soon as possible in some form, and then look at customising for our needs... \$\endgroup\$ – roelofs Jun 3 '15 at 23:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @roelofs the functionality you are looking for is effectively an Manuf. execution system (MES) tailored for testing and R&D so that would be the search query to run. We use an in house MES for per-unit assembly and test data and a commercial ERP (expandable) for bom and revision management, there are lots of MES vendors out there that sell to corporations. \$\endgroup\$ – crasic Jun 3 '15 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fantastic! Thank you - now I also know what to call it in my presentation in half an hour ;) \$\endgroup\$ – roelofs Jun 3 '15 at 23:32
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Companies will be having a standard format. If it's an ISO certified company formats will be according to their standard. Usually tracking of boards etc. will be done in an Excel sheet which will be saved in the SVN. The document standards will be changed periodically by the Quality team based on the needs.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you talking about acceptance testing of PCBs? If so, I've updated my question slightly - that is not actually what I'm after in this instance... \$\endgroup\$ – roelofs Jun 3 '15 at 7:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @reolofs Siddharth is talking about a management ISO standard for tracking exactly what you are talking about. If your company makes a consumer product they sell they may not have bothered, but if your company supplies industry or value added resellers, they can require ISO cert on the management and tracking of all assemblies which may cover your diverted parts for testing. I addressed it in an edit to my answer \$\endgroup\$ – crasic Jun 3 '15 at 8:10

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