How Bloomy’s Manufacturing Operator Interface for TestStand provides feedback tools to improve operator efficiency.
When developing automated tests for a product, we as test engineers typically focus on what we see as the two most important tasks: ensuring the test works properly, and ensuring appropriate results are collected. Because of this, the person who spends the most time on the system, the test operator, can often be forgotten. This is unfortunate, because a well-designed operator interface and test sequence can reduce a new operator’s learning curve, improve operator efficiency, and lower test times. After all, when a test isn’t working correctly, they are often the first line of defense, spotting timing and behavioral patterns that the product and test designers never notice. Therefore, providing relevant feedback to the operator can help them maximize up-time and detect issues before they become problems.
The Manufacturing Operator Interface component of Bloomy’s EFT Module for TestStand embraces the notion that operator feedback is a critical component of test design. In addition to the standard TestStand trace execution, Bloomy’s Manufacturing OI shows the test’s elapsed time and current state, and provides hooks for developers to impart their own test-specific feedback to the operator. These hooks include images to visualize a portion of the UUT or manual task, a programmable progress bar, and text feedback with the ability to modify fonts to draw the operator’s attention. The image below shows some of these feedback items on Bloomy’s Manufacturing OI.
While the Manufacturing OI provides hooks for this feedback, it is still up to the developer to define what information is sent to the operator (with the exception of the trace execution, elapsed time, and test state, which are automatic). In the past, developers would have to use the TestStand ActiveX API to send UI Messages to the operator interface. Now, with the new OI Interface StepTypes provided for the EFT Module for TestStand 2016, test developers can define the operator feedback images, progress, and text using easy configuration dialogs, as shown in the images below. Note how each message provides a mockup of how the feedback will be displayed on the Manufacturing Operator Interface.
To use the new StepTypes, simply drag the EFT OI Interface StepType into your sequence at the desired location, click the “Configure Interface” button, then select the desired OI Message from the dropdown list. Once selected, the message-specific parameters will be displayed, as shown in the screenshots above.
Note that the Progress Text and Progress Percent messages are core to TestStand and may be used on any operator interface that implements them (including the sequence editor). Items tagged with “EFT OI” are custom messages for the Bloomy Manufacturing Operator interface of the EFT Module for TestStand.
So how do you get these new step types? The upcoming release of the EFT Module for TestStand, slated for November 2017 will automatically have them included. However, current users may try them out by downloading them from our support site, which also contains information on how to use them.
For more information on the Bloomy EFT Module for TestStand, visit www.bloomy.com/eft-module-teststand. There you can view our overview and walkthrough videos, and download a free 30-day trial.