Auto­ma­ted End-of-Line Tes­ter Adds RFID Tagging

InvotecCase Study, Controls Engineering, Micro Laser Processing

automated end of line tester

How Invo­tec desi­gned an auto­ma­ted end-of-line tes­ter that hel­ped one medi­cal device manu­fac­tu­rer sca­le-up pro­duc­tion while pro­tec­ting IP

The Chal­len­ge

A lar­ge manu­fac­tu­rer of patho­lo­gy solu­ti­ons faced incre­a­sed deman­ds for their tis­sue-sam­pling pro­bes. They fore­cas­ted volu­mes rising near­ly 400% over the next five years—and they nee­ded an addi­tio­nal, auto­ma­ted end-of-line tes­ter to meet tho­se goals. The com­pa­ny also wan­ted to add RFID tag­ging to pro­tect their intel­lec­tu­al pro­per­ty as their pro­ducts began to be sold internationally.

The Solu­ti­on

Having desi­gned and built a pre­vious test sys­tem for this cus­to­mer, Invo­tec loo­ked for ways to enhan­ce the ori­gi­nal design to address the needs for impro­ved cycle time and added secu­ri­ty features.

We began by rese­ar­ching tech­ni­ques for rea­ding and wri­ting to the RFID tags in a secu­re man­ner. Our con­trols engi­neers con­duc­ted fea­si­bi­li­ty and found that the sen­sor pla­ce­ment was cri­ti­cal in order to read/write without tou­ch­ing the hand­le of the device. This infor­ma­ti­on was used to influ­ence the design of the over­all system.

The final solu­ti­on works like this:

  • An ope­ra­tor loads the device onto the sys­tem with the pro­be cut­ter open and seal app­lied; thru­beam fiber optic sen­sors veri­fy that the pro­duct is sea­ted pro­per­ly in the nest.
  • The pro­be assem­bly is vacu­um leak tes­ted (pres­su­re decay) while a laser micro­me­ter veri­fies that a pre­cise pro­duct fea­ture does not exceed the spe­ci­fied accep­ta­ble ran­ge. Once the­se mea­su­res are in place, the sys­tem uses a pneu­ma­tic clamp to secu­re the device while an inte­gra­ted dri­ve sys­tem per­forms a tor­que test on the device actua­ti­on wheel.
  • If all three tests are pas­sed, the device is laser mar­ked with a seri­al num­ber. The same seri­al num­ber is writ­ten to the RFID tag along with the test results. If the pro­duct fai­led, the RFID tag is locked.
The Result

The auto­ma­ted end-of-line tes­ter allows the tests to run simul­ta­ne­ous­ly befo­re wri­ting to the RFID chip, hel­ping decre­a­se the over­all cycle time des­pi­te the added fea­tures. The resul­ting sys­tem impro­ved cycle time by 33% from the ori­gi­nal tester—and has allo­wed the manu­fac­tu­rer to more than dou­ble production.

Think this com­bi­na­ti­on of func­tio­n­al tes­ting and RFID tech­no­lo­gy makes sen­se for your orga­niz­a­ti­on? Con­ta­ct us today!

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