Managed Services Solution Bridges the Boundary Scan Knowledge Gap

Leveraging boundary scan throughout a product’s entire life cycle provides a great return on investment (ROI), however, a successful product deployment utilizing boundary scan technology requires knowledge, expertise, and planning.

A Challenging Juggling Act

Keeping pace with rapidly changing technologies in today’s business environment is challenging. Test engineering managers that I speak with are balancing shifting project schedules while maintaining adequate staffing levels; all while researching and implementing technologies into their processes that provide a favorable ROI.

Some Critical Business Challenges For Test Engineering Managers

    • Retirements vs. New Personnel ​
    • Boundary Scan Trained vs. Boundary Scan Experienced
    • Simple Boundary Scan Design vs. Complex Boundary Scan Design​


These business challenges are some of the drivers behind ASSET’s Managed Services offering. A solution that helps test engineering managers bridge the boundary scan knowledge gap in their organization.


Retirements vs. New Personnel ​

Today’s competitive business environment requires companies to operate at maximum efficiency; doing more with fewer resources is always a consideration. Unfortunately, this sometimes means reductions in staffing.

A market force that affects company operations is retirements – planned and unplanned. In the mature test and measurement industry, engineer retirements are a greater issue than in past years.

And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a rising share of older U.S. adults are now retired as reported by The Pew Research Center. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis also reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on retirements. Couple this fact with published reports that the US is facing a shortage of engineers; the test and measurement industry has been impacted.

Engineers with boundary scan experience are retiring, however, existing projects that utilize boundary scan must be supported and new boundary scan projects are being planned. Providing ASSET’s Managed Services to bridge the boundary scan knowledge gap is more important than ever.

ASSET had a recent experience that highlights this situation. A customer contacted us seeking assistance with a boundary scan service project for a printed circuit board and test fixture re-spin. We collaborated with this company in 2015 to successfully deploy a boundary scan project and accompanying test fixture. As expected with mature designs, devices become obsolete and difficult to obtain, thus prompting re-spins.

The lead boundary scan engineer had recently retired, and the newer engineers did not know much about the boundary scan implementation on the PCB or the test fixture design. Fortunately, the Application Engineer who collaborated with this company had detailed notes regarding the previous project. So, we were able to re-engage with them a second time, and the board and fixture were re-spun and sent off to production within weeks.


Boundary Scan Trained vs Boundary Scan Experienced

Boundary scan provides favorable ROI for the product life cycle, and engineering managers want to take advantage of that. The longer a company waits to fully implement boundary scan, the more potential ROI diminishes.

As with learning any skill, it takes time to become experienced in its implementation, especially as it pertains to becoming proficient in boundary scan and ScanWorks.

This fact is also true when the engineer is balancing other responsibilities and learning boundary scan and ScanWorks is not their focus 100% of the time.

Several of our customers have informed us that their boundary-scan experts have retired or plan to retire soon. Faced with this fact, they have begun to train their next generation of boundary scan engineers. In a previous blog titled “What is the Best Way for New Engineers to Learn Boundary Scan?”, I outlined several resources that ASSET has created and placed on our website for new engineers to learn boundary scan.


Simple Boundary Scan Design vs. Complex Boundary Scan Design​

ASSET provides a detailed 4-day Boundary Scan Workshop training several times a year, but the demonstration board we use for our workshop, ScanLite2, is not complex. ScanLite2 provides the opportunity for engineers to learn the basics of ScanWorks and boundary scan utilizing a simple boundary scan design. However, after the workshop, engineers are tasked with creating boundary scan projects for their company’s more complex designs.

Complex boundary scan designs with System on Chips requiring Debug Access Ports (DAP) access, or boundary scan designs with ten boundary scan devices on multiple scan paths for which they must create a boundary scan project, present a significant challenge over the simple ScanLite2. An engineer who just completed the 4-day Boundary Scan workshop will not have the competency to work with complex boundary scan designs that come with more experience.


So, how can companies mitigate these issues?

The solution is ASSET’s Managed Services. We bring skilled expertise to current and new customers to bridge the knowledge and experience gap to boundary scan implementation.

Our Managed Services solution assists customers in maximizing both the technical and financial returns possible by utilizing boundary scan technology and ScanWorks to design, validate, and debug their printed circuit boards. With ASSET Managed Services, we build a strategic partnership with our customers that will improve the overall testability of their current and future boundary scan projects.


ASSET InterTech Managed Services

A partnership solution for the whole product lifecycle

Service Benefit
Consulting •     Continuous access to ASSET boundary scan experts with years of practical industry experience
Strategy •     Build an organizational approach to defining boundary scan requirements, verification goals, and planning new technology implementation
Design for Test •     Analyze board and system schematics for boundary scan coverage improvement opportunities coupled with guidance throughout the design process to mitigate boundary scan issues
Development •     Assist ScanWorks project development from structural testing, device programming, and complex device verification to increase overall test coverage
Deployment •     Guide best practices utilizing ScanWorks action sequences, API usage, contract manufacturer testing, fixturing, and test station integration


More than supplemental, periodic assistance

ASSET’s Managed Services bridge the boundary scan knowledge gap and serve as a valuable resource during all phases of the product’s lifecycle throughout the entire agreement term. We become an integral partner in your company’s boundary scan implementation processes.

Let us put our knowledge and expertise to work for you.

Interested in what ASSET’s Managed Services can do for you and your organization? Contact your local salesperson today.

Michael Johnson