In the case of automatic test facilities for electronic circuits, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the use of conventional needle-bed adapters. High packing density in conjunction with increasingly short product life cycles often make it impossible to recoup the initial adapter-specific investment. The alternative is the so-called flying probe system, in which test probes are moved to the various test pads. Due to this flexibility, they are particularly suited for the automatic testing of prototypes, in the product launch phase, in the production of relatively small numbers or a large number of many different assemblies, where the costs incurred for needle-bed adapters do not represent a feasible proposition. One of the factors contributing to the further development of flying probes has been state-of-the-art DC servo motors, which provide a high level of functionality, power, and dynamic response in a very small space and are easy to integrate into the application.
Testing small series and prototypes of large, complex backplanes with hundreds of connectors or components electrically at low cost is an enormous technical challenge. Scorpion Technologies, a Hamburg-based company, has taken on this challenge with its latest generation of flying-probe testers. The Flying Scorpion is a multifunctional backplane testing system with which precision tests can be performed at high speed. In conjunction with the same manufacturer's CAD conversion program it is even possible to test very large backplanes with high-density connectors automatically the same day the CAD data is made available.