Automated end of line test system for automotive factory

Qplox Engineering, expert in developing custom automated test and characterization systems, helped out a first tier supplier of electronics for Off-Road vehicles. The company needed a test strategy definition to build a maintainable test framework.

by QPlox Engineering

The specific company faced difficulties to expand and maintain its production plant. Having to produce and test a wide variety of electronic devices – such as armrests, keypads, joysticks, electronic controller units or displays – requires a large diversity of tests covering electric, software, vision or Controller Area Network (CAN) bus protocols.

The CAN bus protocols offer plenty of different applications and tests, from CAN raw data to diagnosis services through J1939, ISO-TP or UDS. But in addition to this broad range of tests and protocols, this company had to maintain and develop quite a few production lines where there was no hardware, electronics equipment or electrical consistency. Different assembly lines used different vendors of CAN adapters without any criteria. Therefore, they faced the challenge of testing different electronic devices using different hardware and different testing procedures at every single production line, what at some production volume is not maintainable.

Customised test framework

This first tier supplier of electronics for Off-Road vehicles needed a test strategy definition to build a modular, scalable and maintainable test framework, suitable for developing and maintaining tests in an easy and agile way.

QPlox Engineering, an NXP spin off, provided this company with an adapted platform based on LabVIEW(T) and TestStand(T). While sticking to a well-known platform, Qplox was able to customize it for the special requirements of this case. The resulting solution avoided the use of multiple implementations of CAN software by different vendors, which are expensive and hardly scalable. This solution is capable to perform any kind of CAN communication or CAN diagnosis test to the final products at any of its test benches no matter the hardware: NI-CAN, NI-XNET or PEAK-CAN (even new CAN adapters could be added with a small effort if it was needed).

A customized platform avoided the use of multiple implementations of CAN software.

In this test architecture the hardware was abstracted to the software layer. All CAN adapters were managed with the same functions and the CAN tests had been categorized to cover the full spectrum for this company. Today, this company is running a standard way of testing which allows developing new tests in a timing and cost effective manner, with the only requirement of writing simple human readable configuration files to define the hardware and the tests.