NI equips SPS with manufacturing test tools.
SPS recently expanded their production capacity. Christian Simo, Equipment and Test manager at SPS share with us his experience with the NI smartcard test tools offering, at a very important moment of its company.
What was your main challenge?
Christian Simo: We are in a very exciting moment of our history as our identity and banking segments are strongly growing in Asia and Americas. Therefore, to support this fast-increasing demand, we had to expand our production capacity. It will reach between 600 and 800 million units in the next two years.
We asked NI, through its acquisition of our long-term partner Micropross, to supply us with a set of testers to satisfy this expansion.
What was important for you when you purchased this new set?
CS: First the compatibility with the existing test system was mandatory. In other words, we had to re-use the code we had developed the previous years. Sustainability, fast test times and safety are the main topics for us at SPS.
The durability of the tool and the execution duration to perform the test are huge preoccupation for our production lines. For 9 years now our production lines are working 7 days a week with NI testers. As a result, to support this rate, we know that NI offering is the most sustainable on the market. That’s why they equipped 4 of our production lines.
The testing configuration
Can you talk a little more about the test systems that you deployed in your factory?
CS: We have a combination of MP300 C3 for the contact interface of our products and the MP300 CL3 for the contactless side. It operates on a micromodule tape. At that moment of the card life, there is no antenna yet. We connect the micromodules with needles. At that step, we control the physical integrity of the micromodule with the C3/CL3 through leakage, open/short, chip consumption measurement and we make prepersonalization. In other words, we prepare the chip to run. We make sure each of the modules we supply to our customers are tested with the highest standard of the industry.
Do you use NI products only on the chip assembly stage of your process?
CS: No, we use MP300MT1, MP300 MT2 and MP300 CL3s to test prelaminates too, a little bit later on the production process. At that stage, an antenna is connected to the chip. So, those tools allow us to check the physical characteristics of the assembly by measuring resonance frequency.
Do you rely on the NI technology for other topics than manufacturing test?
CS: We appreciate NI’s credibility for R&D testers and it consequently extend on the manufacturing testers quality.
We are using a contactless test station. This tool is used in conformance laboratories, it allows us to prepare the conformance cessions and obtain the certification of our products faster and speed up the launch of our products.
To your opinion, what are the advantages of our solution?
CS: We have a very satisfying user experience. Beyond the technical capacities of the test equipment supplied by NI. We do not want to make any compromise concerning the quality of the products we deliver to our customers, and using the NI products help us achieve this goal.
Who is SPS?
SPS (Smart Packaging Solutions) is a main provider of secure and high added value components for card and document manufacturers.
SPS is a subsidiary of IN Groupe. It is located in Rousset, in the heart of the Silicon Valley of Provence, and has a branch in Singapore.
It employs over 180 people who apply their skills and services to customers located on every continent.
SPS designs, manufactures and markets, contact and contactless solutions dedicated to identity cards, electronic passports and bankcards, sold under the SPS-IN Groupe brand. These exclusive technologies have been the subject of more than 120 patents.
SPS provides high value products in a high security environment.