GMP Manufacturing Support - Software - Failure Analysis - Electronic Repair Service
Unidec specializes in end-of life repair of industrial automation controls and equipment utilized in electronics manufacturing, pharmaceutical production and other commercial industries.
John Fisher presented at the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE) Annual Conference in 2013 on "Extending the Life-Cycle of cGMP Manufacturing Equipment"
Unidec was founded in 1989 by John Fisher to satisfy a pent-up demand for electronics repair of industrial automation electronics. Unidec answered part of the repair need by quickly becoming a valuable supplier to over two hundred electronics manufacturers in a period of just three years. In the same period, Unidec developed repair for over three hundred (300+) electronic assemblies employed in the majority of through-hole and SMT equipment produced by OEMs. While Unidec initially provided services direct to electronics manufacturers, Unidec also offered repair services direct to the OEMs. For example, Unidec helped both Philips and Fuji initially support their North American clients by becoming their primary repair source for the majority of the electronics used on their equipment. Unidec continues today with support agreements to equipment makers to help service and source key-products.
Unidec over the past five years has created and leveraged a new technology which combines functional test with traditional ICT to solve a two decade long problem facing test and repair of circuit boards. Unidec's Tacit Expert System leverages rapid test development (RTD) software libraries to create deterministic functional diagnostic tests. In other words, functional test software that is re-usable between various products.
Circuit board test equipment falls into two categories. The first tester type is In-Circuit-Test (ICT) and typically uses a bed-of-nails type interface to contact individual test points (a.k.a. nodes). The ICT tests individual components and circuit traces. The second type of test equipment is called Automatic Functional Test (AFT). AFT typically uses the circuit board connectors to interface test equipment that will emulate the external input and output signals to the unit under test (UUT). Most manufacturers use ICT equipment in their assembly process. Depending on the product, functional test or some combination of ICT and functional test may be used. Some ICT equipment has functional test capability built in but additional programming is required.
The Tacit ES system leverages ICT vector capture and compare heuristics to find subtle circuit failures other ICT equipment often miss, see www.tacit-es.com for more details. This proprietary Tacit-ES technology is similar to today's antivirus software that looks for patterns of data (heuristics) that are incorrect during a board's function. Then, the combination of knowledge base information and expert knowledge learned in the process helps predict which device is causing a functional test to fail. This new proprietary technology is designed to take the guesswork out of circuit board test and repair. The technology also improves quality and dramatically reduces the likelihood of faulty circuit boards from being put back into service before they are thoroughly repaired.
Unidec's built-in-self-test (U-BIST) is part of any comprehensive functional test methodology. Unidec has decades of experience in developing diagnostic utilities that are designed to run on the target processor of an embedded system. We designed our BIST diagnostics to test a board or systems functionality and full processor speed which helps ensure that the unit will be fully functional when installed in the field. Unidec will develop BIST diagnostics in addition to other functional and in circuit testing whenever possible.