Automated testing of manufacturing software supports shorter delivery times

By software tests one can determine that manufacturing software products like MES satisfy specified requirements in functionality and performance, demonstrate that they are fit for purpose, and detect defects.

Essential part of a common test strategy is to repeat former tests to ensure new defects have not been introduced as result of changes made during development. This repetitive process is called regression testing. To optimize this testing task, automated regression tests are written. These tests run every night on a current development testing environment. In the morning, each developer gets feedback about the latest changes in the software.

In addition to these established unit tests, acceptance tests are automatically executed every night. What is the difference? Unit tests check implemented procedures or functions. Acceptance tests check functional requirements from the user’s point of view.

Stopping here gives half of the benefit, only. An MES software company is responsible for the FAT, the Factory Acceptance Test. At Werum IT Solutions for instance, we have formed a development team to write automated FAT tests. Over 40 % of the current FAT test cases have been automatically executed.

Automated test cases have to be written and this costs a lot of time and money. What are the customer benefits of these efforts? First of all, the quality of the manufacturing software products will increase. All automated tests run in short cycles to test release candidates. This way, the regression test coverage is maximized. On the other hand, the release process is accelerated.

Does this mean that human testers are not needed anymore? No! Test automation suffers from one problem: An automated test checks only the aspects the programmer has programmed. Werum’s solution to face this problem is called Agile Testing. Software test experts work in direct contact together with the developer teams to test new features immediately after the developer has finished a task. Hundreds of defects have been found and corrected fast and easy during the development process before the expensive formal testing starts. So, human knowledge and the full automated regression test work hand in hand to deliver the best product possible as fast as possible.

Test automation helps to ensure a better manufacturing software product quality and shorter delivery times.

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