Many organizations do not consider testing a priority, although testing is essential in the early detection of defects in the final product. The low quality of the products will have a major impact on the company’s image and will reduce the level of customer satisfaction. The costs of a test system are often misunderstood and misunderstood, especially in situations where there is no way to quantify the impact of product quality. Top companies analyze and understand the full cost of developing, implementing, and operating the test system. Calculating the cost of an automated test system is more complex than simply calculating the cost of equipment and even the hourly cost of operation.
If you want to know what you need to evaluate a testing system, you want to propose changes that optimize costs and increase the profitability of your projects read on.
Operate + Maintenance
Optimise Test System
The main topics add up to the total cost of a test system.
A company that develops new products analyzes and compares multiple testing systems, made up of different tools and architectures, in order to identify the optimal solution.
In the case of systems built to test the functionality of a single product/component, the level of effort required to define the requirements, the selection of tools, accessories and software development are relatively finite.
In the case of systems built to test the functionality of multiple products/components, the cost will be higher. Identifying the functional permutations required for the test system will take longer, the fixing mode of the device under test (DUT) must be flexible, and the software must be scalable to easily accommodate future product/component changes.
Other efforts include: writing an abstraction layer for hardware/measurement or the mass interconnect system, which requires a higher initial cost, but over time will bring a Return on Investment (ROI) in a relatively short time especially to organizations facing rapid changes in technology and problems with end-of-life (EOL) instruments.
Planning – the time and costs associated with identifying the variables and options needed for a testing system. Includes time spent on vendor websites, visits and demonstrations, evaluations, discussions and debates on profile forums;
Training – time and cost associated with software development courses – Integrated Development Environment (IDE) or test executives – and knowledge of hardware platforms (eg racks/stacks integrated with SCSI or PXI);
Tools – the cost associated with purchasing licenses for IDE or test executives (can easily exceed € 10,000 – € 15,000 per year);
Development – the time associated with the development of the proof-of-concept testing system from a hardware and software perspective;
Testing – the total cost associated with the acquisition of the initial testing system (proof-of-concept).
When a component is brought to the production line, the proof-of-concept test system previously developed must be adapted to the high volume of test applications. The number of components (units tested / unit of time) that a test system can test directly impacts the total number of systems required to meet the test volume predicted by the management and sales teams. The total number of systems required will directly impact the total cost of implementation.
Another impacting factor on the cost of implementation is the size of the system. This factor will especially impact large companies that want to integrate a test solution in multiple locations. Some companies have a testing and R&D department located in different locations. Such companies will have a high implementation cost, especially if the equipment required for testing is large and overweight. It is recommended to choose the small test system if this option exists.
Equipment – the total number of testing systems required will directly impact the cost of equipment;
Assembly – the time required to assemble components and tools in the test system. This includes building a 19-inch or 21-inch rack or other mechanical storage methods, installing test tools, connecting wiring, installing switches and mass interconnects;
Software – the cost associated with compiling and developing software libraries and exporting them to the instrument control system;
Logistics – the size and weight of a test system along with the total number of systems required will directly impact the logistics cost. Depending on the strength of the system, in the case of transport, special protective packaging may be required.
Operation + Maintenance Cost
In many cases, the cost of operation and maintenance is underestimated and even omitted. In most cases, this cost does not remain the responsibility of the R&D team that developed the testing system but falls into the hands of production teams. This separation creates multiple problems, mainly due to collaboration. To avoid these problems, you can decide to hire an outside company for production or testing processes. The costs associated with outsourcing these services can be negotiated as a fixed amount or calculated hourly.
Operation – the salary costs of the operators and technicians who ensure the operation of the testing systems. The total number of tests and the level of expertise required by these systems will directly impact the costs;
Training – the time it takes for operators to learn how to use the testing system. Companies with different test systems can choose model 1: all operators can operate all test systems or model 2: for each test, there is a specialized operator;
Maintenance – the cost associated with maintaining the test system and tools in working order at optimum quality. These costs include the annual calibration of the equipment and the forecast of the cost of replacing the instruments that will fail;
Spare parts – the cost associated with the purchase of spare equipment/instruments that will be used in case of unforeseen technical problems (instrument failure) or foreseen situations (instrument calibration);
Setup– test systems that are high current consuming or emit a lot of heat need special high power or cooling systems for optimal operation;
Utilities – the cost associated with powering, cooling, and storing test systems. The cost of electricity can vary significantly depending on your geographical location.
The total cost of a test system can be calculated using different financial models.
Compared to investing in a project where the results are quantified in income and profit, in the case of a testing system the financial benefits are quantified in savings. We can consider an example in which the investment in high-performance insulation, in the case of a building, will result in savings in long-term utilities.
Repayment Period – Represents the time required to recover the initial investment. First of all, the Initial Cost must be determined by calculating the difference between the development and integration of the new test system and the further implementation of the old test system. Second, the Annual Savings generated by the new testing system must be determined.
Return on Investment – Represents the ratio between the money earned and investments during a project. It is necessary to calculate the ownership of the new and old test system, and then find out the difference between the two – Net Savings. The result is divided by the cost of the most financially efficient option and is subtracted 1 (100%).
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