Testing is essential to ensure the quality of a product.Working with testing at a strategic level is common in software testing. We feel that products including hardware should also undergo strategic testing.
For physical products, including everything from mechanics, hydraulics and fluid dynamics to electronics, testing requires measurements of physical properties. Hardware testing is more than just checking if something works. With the right tools, the right attitude and a little experience, you go from just verifying the functionality to gaining added value that benefits the entire business.
We work with the entire cycle, from product requirements through testing methods and processes, implementation of tests and systems to data visualization to support your business. We help you develop your test activities to give you maximum value, so they become an asset to your business.
As well as knowing how to measure product function and performance you also need a test strategy. It is important to know what to test, how to test in the best way, how extensive testing needs to be, and how test data should be managed to get the most out of the data.
A first step in the process is to assess if the requirement specifications are adequate or need to be improved. A comprehensive requirement specification is a prerequisite for testing the right things.
Once the requirement specifications are in place, the test needs are assessed. What can be automated and what tests should be manual? How much resources are required to achieve the desired quality? Based on the answers to these questions, a first test plan is defined. The test plan is then continuously updated to keep it aligned with changes in the organization and re-prioritization of different projects.
A technical design and architecture of the test system is required if tests are to be automated. It should be adapted to the needs of the company today while making it future-proof. It is important that the investment made to build a test system or test framework will also benefit future products.
An important part of building a test framework that includes measurements of different kinds is to integrate hardware. There may be modules for data collection, oscilloscopes, signal generators or cameras.
How should signals from different senders and sensors be treated? Is it part of the software in the test system or tested by external instruments? If it is instruments, then the interface or protocol is managed by the test system.
Building future-proof systems applies both to the test systems and the processes a test department needs. What will test specifications and reports look like? When should they be included in the company’s document management system, if there is one? How will tests be followed up and what will happen? These questions are part of developing working methods for a test group or a test department. The processes that are developed should be aligned with the company’s other work processes and be adaptable to changing requirements.
Good, effective tools are required to work efficiently with tests during all phases, from test development to implementation and follow-up of results. The role of a test leader includes deciding which tools will be used for planning, code execution, performance management, follow-up and feedback to the management.
Can the organization’s project planning systems be used, or does the test work have other planning needs? Are there tools for complete test automation or data processing that could be customized to cover parts of your test needs?
There are several aspects covering choice of instruments, sensors and hardware for test rigs, such as measurement accuracy, time resolution and form factor. Different technical solutions can be weighed against each other in terms of performance and cost. Estimates of development time to integrating the hardware into the test system need to be performed.
It is important to have a good structure in the test system’s software design and how different tools are used. You also need good structure in the rigs you build.
In other words, the rigs should be robust with a clear structure in hardware, cables, calibration routines and documentation. It’s very important to have a well-thought out design for the rigs.
Collaboration with other departments
It’s really important for a test department to have close collaboration with various R&D disciplines, operators and the customer organization. In our role as test developers or test lead we not only work within the test department, we make an effort to have a good collaboration with the organization in general.