Automatic Test Equipment

What Does Automatic Test Equipment Mean?

Automatic test equipment (ATE) is a machine that is designed to perform tests on different devices referred to as a devices under test (DUT). An ATE uses control systems and automated information technology to rapidly perform tests that measure and evaluate a DUT.


ATE tests can be both simple and complex depending on the equipment tested. ATE testing is used in wireless communication and radar as well as electronic component manufacturing. There is also specialized semiconductor ATE for testing semiconductor devices.

Automatic test equipment is also known as automated test equipment.

Techopedia Explains Automatic Test Equipment

Automated test equipment is a computer-operated machine used to test devices for performance and capabilities. A device that is being tested is known as device under test (DUT). ATE can include testing for electronics, hardware, software, semiconductors or avionics.

There are uncomplicated ATEs such as volt-ohm meters that measure resistance and voltage in PCs. There are also complex ATE systems that have several test mechanisms that automatically run high-level electronic diagnostics such as wafer testing for semiconductor device fabrication or for integrated circuits. Most high-tech ATE systems use automation to perform the test quickly.

The objective of ATE is to quickly confirm whether a DUT works and to find defects. This testing method saves on manufacturing costs and helps prevent a faulty device from entering the market. Because ATE is used in a wide array of DUTs, each testing has a different procedure. One actuality in all testing is that when the first out-of-tolerance value is detected, the testing stops and the DUT fails the evaluation.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…