Industry Insights

Shift to Medical Ventilators Production Accelerated with In-circuit test (ICT) System from Keysight

2020-04-24  |  4 min read 

As the electronic manufacturing world was busily preparing to enter the year 2020 with numerous new technologies such as 5G, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, a novel virus was emerging in China and quickly became an outbreak. This ultimately led to the WHO declaration of a global pandemic in mid-March and stay-at-home orders by many countries and companies. Some companies’ manufacturing came to a halt as major manufacturing hubs were forced to stop their operations.

By the end of March, the world was experiencing an unprecedented increase in the demand of medical ventilators from 77,0001 to 880,0002 to help COVID-19 patients.  The call for help rippled across the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) companies and they responded quickly by shifting their manufacturing resources to support medical ventilators. Manufacturing lines that were producing printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA) typically used in automotive telematics, computer server motherboards, and network communication servers are now being switched over to producing boards for medical ventilators. This sudden change will require every machine in the manufacturing line to be configured to produce and test medical ventilator PCBAs.

E9903G 4-Module In-Circuit Test (ICT) System, i307x Series 6

One such company making this change over to medical ventilator manufacturing is a Keysight customer using i3070 In-Circuit Test system in their manufacturing line. This system is mainly used to test that the components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, ICs and connectors are correctly soldered in the PCB and every component is measured according to the required values to ensure that the PCBA works when integrated into the final assembly.

This EMS was able to shift immediately to producing PCBAs for medical ventilators. They needed a dedicated ICT fixture and test program for medical ventilator PCBA to be tested, which Keysight’s extensive global services and support team were able to help quickly support. One advantage of using a flexible ICT system is that it enables companies to do exactly this – to switch easily from one product to another product based on changes in demand – such as an unanticipated immediate need for medical ventilator PCBAs. Additionally, the EMS manufacturing test engineers and operators do not need to be trained in order to operate the system to produce medical ventilator PCBAs as the system operations is the same as when testing other types of PCBA.

A close coordination between the global Keysight team, from sales to product management and supply chain, was critical in order to support the short timeline for this customer. All of this coordination was done while most of us in Keysight are working from home, yet it was not a barrier to respond immediately to our customer’s need to save patients around the world from the deadly COVID-19. I am proud to be part of this team which prioritizes our customers’ needs while saving lives during this global crisis. 


  1. In the year 2019, 77,000 new ventilators were quite enough to fulfill the demand of the entire planet.
  2. 880,000 ventilators needed.