Frequently Asked Questions
How long has In-Phase Technologies been in business and how many of their ATE systems are currently in operation?
In-Phase Technologies was founded in 1994 as Microwave Test Solutions and is recognized for the high quality, cost effective solutions that it offers customers interested in engineering and production test automation. The company has shipped in excess of 100 bays of test equipment over the last six years.
There are several ATE system manufacturers available in the industry that have design and development capability in the analog and digital technology areas, but In-Phase Technologies is by far the strongest company when in comes to RF, microwave, and fiber optic automated test solutions.
In-Phase Technologies is very flexible in its choice of the commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment that it incorporates in its test systems. If the customer leaves the choice of equipment entirely up to us, we will choose equipment that offers the greatest value (performance vs. price) to the end-user. In those cases where the end-user has a strong preference regarding the COTS equipment to be used, we will abide by their wishes, assuming that the chosen equipment will do the job.
Does In-Phase Technologies have a working relationship with any of the test equipment manufacturers?
In-Phase Technologies is a Keysight Technologies Solutions Partner, a National Instruments Alliance Member and a Tektronix Synergy Partner. In addition, In-Phase Technologies has excellent working relationships with Rohde & Schwarz, Keithley, Anritsu, Giga-tronics, and several other leading T&M organizations.
Hypothetically, if a customer shows interest in working with In-Phase Technologies to satisfy his ATE need, what process is followed on getting the project off and running?
Most projects are started with the generation of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in order to safeguard the interests of both companies. After that, we would review the performance specifications or test procedure of the component or sub-assembly that is to be tested (UUT). For example, if the UUT is a wireless amplifier, we would like to know its specified frequency range, power level, gain flatness, IMD level, in-band and out-of-band spurious, operating temperature range, etc. We would also review any specific measurement and data handling requirements that the customer may have. With a full understanding of the UUT’s performance and test requirements, we would generate a ROM quotation to make sure we are both on the same page. Upon receipt of a customer generated RFQ, RFP or SOW, we would then generate a full proposal for review and consideration.
In most cases, we are asked by the customer to procure all of the required COTS equipment ourselves. However, there have been a few cases where the customer chose to procure the equipment himself or herself and have it drop-shipped to our facility for checkout and ultimate installation into the system. In-Phase Technologies has a purchasing and order tracking system in place to handle the entire procurement process. However, we are very comfortable operating either way.
In-Phase Technologies has a development team devoted exclusively to the task of providing software for the various types of ATE systems that are produced. The typical software supplied with our systems is based on IPT’s Measurement Designer Software suite that is highly graphical and easy to use. It provides the user with on-screen prompts and can be supplemented with photographic images to further aid the operator. It is very flexible and allows authorized users (usually project/test/design engineers) to change measurement specifications via menu-driven option screens. Data can be presented in several different forms—tabular, graphical, go/no-go, etc. In addition, many of the software programs supplied with our systems have a data base archiving feature that provides the user with a method of easily performing statistical analysis of measured test data.
Our typical contract stipulates that In-Phase Technologies owns the software and the customer can utilize it for their sole use only. Normally, the customer is not free to sell or distribute the software to other organizations without the expressed written consent of In-Phase Technologies. The customer is usually provided with source code and can modify and/or duplicate the software for their own use.
Yes. IPT has a group of engineers dedicated to the design and development of special test equipment (STE) in support of the ATE systems group. This same group is also directly involved in the design and development of the company’s extensive line of RF and microwave switch matrices and frequency up/down converters. Other STE products include dynamic load boxes, ITA’s, custom signal and modulation sources, laser source interfaces, test fixtures and cable and harness assemblies.
Is In-Phase Technologies also interested in “contract manufacturing” or “build-to-print” systems and/or instruments?
In-Phase Technologies has the capability and is most interested in addressing the “build-to-print” requirements of the industry. This capability should be of particular interest to companies that have a shortage of qualified technical staff on hand. In addition to manufacturing ATE systems that were designed by the customer or a third party, we also have the capability to take partially designed instruments to their completion stage. In addition, In-Phase Technologies is also interested in providing software for various test and measurement applications.
Does In-Phase Technologies provide documentation packages with their systems and if so, what is included—drawings, bill of materials, etc.?
The typical In-Phase Technologies documentation package is very complete. Mechanical and electrical drawings, down to the smallest component, are provided for the system. Included are parts lists, schematics, wiring diagrams and mechanical assembly drawings. An operator’s manual is also included with most systems.
In addition to the final data package, our normal process involves preliminary and critical design reviews (PDR’s and CDR’s) that provide the customer with pertinent information during the system design and development process. This allows the end user to comment on the design approach and eliminates surprises down the road. In-Phase Technologies endeavors to work with customers as if we were an extension of their own engineering department.
Our normal billing method is based on measurable milestones. This is necessary to provide adequate funding for equipment procurement and to cover a portion of the expenses incurred during the design and manufacturing phases of the project.
After initial installation and training, there are two basic levels of In-Phase Technologies technical support. The first level is offered free of charge for the life of the ATE and involves normal telephone troubleshooting techniques. It is provided 24/7. Most system problems (approximately 95%) can be resolved by having the customer actually implement fixes recommended by our technical support personnel while the two parties are on the phone. If the problem cannot be resolved in this manner, we proceed to the next level, which is on-site support. This requires a member of our technical staff to travel to the customer’s site to resolve the problem in person. In practically every situation, we can have a technical support person in place at a customer site within 24 hours for domestic customers and 48 hours for international customers.