Bustape Petal Testing Robot basic operating manual

This tutorial is designed to guide the operator through basic steps, required to set-up the robot and perform automated petal tape tests. Only authorized operators with username and password can control the robot.

1. Environment check

Before powering on any of the components, position the tape on the vacuum chuck and cover it. In case of testing core tapes, mount it on the core stand. Make sure there are no objects blocking the light curtain and check that the AC is on (this should be left untouched generally), to maintain a steady temperature during the test.

2. Powering up the hardware

  1. Start by turning the master switch (slv. GLAVNO STIKALO) on the large electrical box to ON, then turn the DMM4040 multimeter ON and the main switch on the small electronic cabinet to ON.
    All hardware controllers should boot in the meantime and be ready to establish a connection from the PC.
  2. First locate the Tape Tester PAM icon on the desktop and start the program. This will open the main application for communication with the PAC, which is the main motor, light curtain and vacuum chuck controller.
  3. When the program fully loads, double-click on the Device (1). This will open a new Device tab. Click the textbox with the IP adress (2). This should highlight the value. Press Enter to find the device.

  4. Go to Visualization tab (3) and press Alt+F8 to connect to PAC hardware controller. Click Yes when the pop-up window opens to confirm the login. Lastly, press F5 to start the application (it may have started automatically). *If asked to confirm application start, select Yes in the pop-up window.

  5. Find the NI MAX icon on the desktop and start the program. When program starts, select Remote Systems ->NI-cRIO-**** and wait until Status is Connected - Running.


    You can now close the NI MAX program.
  6. Turn the LED On/Off switch on the small electronic cabinet up.
  7. Press the green START button on the large electronic box. The button should light up, meaning the motors are armed and the light curtain is active. Make sure not to cross the safety curtain after this as it will power-off the motors and abort any ongoing test!

3. Main Tape Tester program

This section explains procedures and features of the main Tape Tester program, used to measure tape and perform the automatic test. Manual tests on user-selected networks and pins are also available. Program consists of the main GUI and a console, where relevant information regarding the testing process is written.




  • During program execution, do not click in the console or scroll through it. Doing so will block the program execution and the robot will stall at the last command.
    If this nevertheless happens, select console window and press Pg Dn button to continue with the program execution. Eventhough such events should not affect the robot and the test itself, blocking the console is not advised!
  • In case of problems with the robot or the program, exit the program by closing the console. This will leave the robot in the current state. If you plan to continue with testing, just reset the program and follow the normal procedure. If not, go to Robot shut-down.

Setting up the test

  1. Find Tape Tester icon on the desktop and start the program.

  2. Select the desired Design Type, Production Stage and Manufacturer from the drop-down lists in (1). Serial number will be determined from QR code scan or input later. Click Apply (2) to confirm configuration.
  3. Click Connect (3) to establish connection to the OPC server and PAC. This will also open the login window, where available users from the drop-down list can login using their password.

  4. A pop-up named Logbook table will open. The default table name for the Logbook Database, defined under LogTable in Constants.xml, will be shown in the entry box. Enter the desired (agreed) table name and press OK.


  5. Finally press the Initialise button (4) to initialise the motors. The motors will perform some short movements and return to the initial position. They will remain powered on. Robot is now prepared to start tape measurements.

Environment monitoring

The main Tape Tester GUI also contains an Environment section, where temperature and humidity readings from 3 sensors are displayed.



When the program starts, this section is collapsed. It can be expanded by clicking on the small down traingle button, next to the green dot. The green/red dot at the left side of the section indicates wheter the sensor data acquisition is active/inactive. Connection to the T/H meter is established when the robot is Initialised, however data acquisition and logging will only start when the Measure Tape process is started and finally end when the program is Disconnected. If any problems are found during the connection initialisation, program will signal this with a pop-up message. In such case, go to T/H meter section for additional info.
Sensors will display temperature in deg C and humidity as percentage. If any of the sensors encounters an error, Err should display in the sensor field and an additional pop-up message should signal the error. Go to T/H meter section to debug the issue.
T/H meter measurements and any encountered errors will not disrupt the main program and the measurement procedure, except during the initialisation.

Tape measurements

Tape measurements are necessary to determine the exact tape position and any geometrical imperfections of the tape and apply them to calibrations. This will enable the robot to accurately probe the electrical pads.

  1. Start tape measurements by pressing on the Measure Tape button.


  2. First you will be asked "Do you want to take images of the pads?". Default is Yes, which means the robot will remeasure local fiducials again at the end of Tape Measurement procedure, this time taking BW pictures for the final report.


  3. Secondly, robot will move Stage 1 to the predefined location where QR code, containing the serial number, is printed on tape. If QR code is read unsuccessfully, the robot will perform 4 small steps and try to read the QR code again. If the QR code is read successfully, S/N will be displayed and user will be asked to confirm.


    Select Yes to confirm the S/N.
    By selecting No, the user will be asked to manually input the serial number. If the serial code is read unsuccessfully, user will also be asked to input the S/N manually.


  4. Next, another pop-up window will open, this time asking "Use the most recent origin?".


    Most recent origin is the location of the first fiducial from the previous tape measurements. Its coordinates are also displayed in the pop-up window. If tape design is the same as the previous one and the vacuum chuck and pins weren‘ t moved from the previous test, we can select Yes. This will start the measurement procedure.
    If there were some changes to the first fiducial origin, we have to select No. Robot will still move to the location of the previous origin and start the live video from fiducial-finding camera. A pop-up mesage will open, instructing the operator to use ManualControl to move Stage 1 to the first fiducial.


    Pressing Ok will close the message and open ManualControl.


    Procedure for moving Stage 1 goes as follows. First select Stage 1 in Moving stage selection. Then input step size into Step size in mm field. Selected step size should vary depending on the distance from fiducial, for final corrections it should be around 0.2 mm. Finally press Acquire Control and move the stage around using w, a ,s, d buttons. Each time step size is changed, we must acquire control again. After successfully reaching the center of the first fiducial, press DONE. This wil start the fiducial measurements.


  5. When tape measurement starts, the Measure Tape buton will change to ABORT & EXIT. This button should only be pressed if we want to abort the measurements.
    Pressing the buton will safely abort the test. This means it can take up to a few seconds for the program to actually abort the test, as it will wait for an ongoing fiducial measurement to finish and exit at the next step. It will raise the probes, move the robot to the initial point, shut it down and exit the program. Go back to Main Tape Tester program to restart the test afterwards.

  6. During the process of fiducial measurements, supervise the program and make sure all global (CAD) fiducials are correctly measured, as shown in the botom image.


    If any of the fiducials is incorrectly measured, as shown in the second image, press the ABORT & EXIT button to stop and later restart the measurement. Go to section Fiducial measurements debugging and follow the steps to get the correct measurements.
  7. After fiducial measurements are done, "Tape measurements completed!" will be written in console and two local fiducial plots will open, showing local fiducial offsets vs. their position.


    If we selected to take BW images, we must first wait for the remeasurement to finish. After that, the two fiducial plots can be closed together with camera_display window.
With this the tape measurements are finished. We can now proceed to the electrical tape test.

Main tape test

After performing geometrical tape measurements, we can proceed with the test. The main test consists of wire resistance measurements, "short" measurements and high voltage measurements. The test takes approx. 60 minutes altogether.

  1. Before actually starting the test, we can opt to do HV measurements at both 1000 V and at 700 V (1). This should only be used for tapes, where we expect poorer HV performance, as it prolongs the test for about 15-20 minutes and offers additional information only for tapes, where 1000 V tests result in significant leakage.


  2. Test is started by pressing Run test (2) button. Two pop-up windows wll appear.


    First is the AskTehnician Mode, where user is aksed if he/she wants to get "odd measurements interruptions". Default is Yes, meaning if a measurement, which does not fit the requirements (even after auto-debugging Auto-debugging measurements) is found, user will be notified and will have an option to debug the measurement manually. Debugging measurements is explained in more detail in section AskTehnician debugger.
    Selecting No will result in a quicker test without user interruptions, even when measurements don‘t fit the requirements. The robot will still execute the auto-debugging procedure in case of faulty measurements, explained in Auto-debugging measurements, however use of this option (No) is *strongly discouraged!*

  3. Second pop-up deals with large measurements. Select Yes, to get notification for any measurements, which may exceed the estimated resistance, calculated from the line length.


    Option No means we ignore the expected resistance calculation and accept all measurements with resistance smaller than 500 Ω, this option (No) is again also discouraged! Any faulty short measurements or interrupted lines will still be debugged. This option is only suitable for tapes, where we know the resistance of lines is for some reason much greater than the nominal. If we are aware of that and want to test the tape despite it most likely being faulty, this can save as a great deal of time.
    After processing both pop-up windows, the test will start.

  4. When the test starts, the Run Test buton will change to ABORT & EXIT. This button should only be pressed if we want to abort the test. Measurements (geometrical & resistance) from the current session will be lost.
    Pressing the buton will safely abort the test. This means it can take up to a few seconds for the program to actually abort the test, as it will wait for any ongoing measurement to finish and exit at the next step. It will raise the probes, move the robot to the initial point, shut it down and exit the program. Go back to Main Tape Tester program to restart the test afterwards.

  5. All relevant information regarding test progress and measurements is written to console during the test. A few times per test, the robot will take some reference images of predefined pads, which will be aslo reported in the console. However some events, which require user interaction, can also happen during the test. They can be divided into two categories:

    1. Hardware communication problems, which happen rarely, as a result of operator error or momentary hardware-software issue. Typical (but not limited to) problems are:
    2. Possible incorrect measurements events are the result of measurements failing to meet the criteria for specific pads/networks in the test. They can represent actual faulty connections/pads, or just probes getting a bad contact with the pad or missing it completely. In such event, a pop-up warning box, signaling a "Possible error" will appear.


      Additionally, two Image windows, with photos of the probe contact on the presumably faulty pads for both stages, will open. Using these two photos, one can see if probes hit the pads accurately.


      It is advised to always select Yes in the pop-up and manually debug the measurement. Instructions on debugging a faulty measurement are written in AskTehnician debugger, where side cameras should also be used Side cameras for viewing probe contacts.

      However if we can clearly see from the photos, that both probes touched the pads correctly, we can also accept the faulty measurement by selecting No in the pop-up. Selecting No will dismiss the warning and save the previously measured result.

  6. ***Testing Finished*** written in the console will signal the end of the tape testing procedure. Both stages of the robot will move to home positions and the vacuum pump will turn off.

Analysing results

When tape test is finished, options to Analyse Results, Stop or Disconnect will enable in the main GUI. It is important to select Analyse Results, which will properly process the results and export them in correct format to the target destination on a specified hard drive and remote server.

  1. Select Analyse Results button.


    This will run a python analysis script, which will perform the analysis. A pop-up GUI will open askng which Stretch Criteria to use. Press the green Distance to origin button to choose the standard option. The Fiducial pairs option can be used to check differences between all fiducial pairs, but this is not the standard procedure required by the test specifications.


    Another pop-up will open and will enable the user to input a custom message, which will be added to the report.


    Pressing Done will save the message and pressing Cancel will leave the report without any message.

    After the script has finished running it will open the HTML final report in the default web browser. Raw results and final report files will be packed into a *.zip file and any images (fiducials or reference images) will be packed into *_images folder.


    Folder with images and report zip file will be copied to an external results directory, default setting is F:\TapeResults\ on the robot PC. This directory can be changed in the configuration files.
  2. Then a dialogue box for copying the resulting folder and zip file to AFS directory will open. AFS directoy is specified in configuration files for the program. Input username and password for AFS server and Copy files, or select Cancel to ignore copying to remote server. In case the default AFS host PC is not responding, you can change the host PC by clicking Set AFS Host button and then input the name of the host PC.


Analysis procedure is now completed and test results and reports are safely stored. Click the Disconnect button to exit the program.


To start another test return to the Main Tape Tester program section.

4. Robot shut-down

This section explains how to power-off the robot in case of aborted test and how to shut-down all hardware. First we will look at the case, where we want to power-off the robot after aborting the main program through console exit.

Resetting and powering-off after abnormal program exit

In case when the main program is closed for any reason by closing the console, the robot will remain in the current state. This can be either a powered-off home position, or a position on the tape with mototrs powered, probes lowered and the LEDs and the vacuum pump on. In all cases we want to make sure the robot moves to home position safely without damaging the tape or itself and that everything powers-off correctly. To do this, start with:

  1. Go to Setting up the test and repeat all steps in that section. By pressing the Initialise button, the entire robot initialisation procedure is performed. This includes:
    • Raising the probes to home Z position safely
    • Moving the stages to home X,Y position safely
    • Turning off the LEDs and vacuum pump
    • Turning off HV
  2. After the robot initialises, press the Disconnect button to power of the robot, disconnect auxiliary measuremen units and safely exit the program.

Hardware shut-down

The final thing to do is disconnect all hardware controllers from the PC and power-off all hardware. This should be done when we don‘t plan to use the robot for longer periods of time (overnight, weekend etc.) and not everytime we finish the test.

  1. Select the Tape Tester PAM window. Press Ctrl+F8 to disconnect the PAC from the PC. Close the program afterwards.
  2. Turn LED On/Off switch on the small electronic box down. Wait 5 seconds! Turn the main switch on the small electronic box off.
  3. Power-off the DMM.
  4. Turn the master swtch (slv. GLAVNO STIKALO) on the main electronic cabinet to OFF.
Robot, hardware and software is now safely turned off.

5. Debugging tools

This chapter contains debugging options, included in the program. Debugging does not strictly mean problems with the code or program, but also refers to faulty measurements. The first three subsections therefore describe the tools, used for "inspecting" (rather than debugging) any odd measurements and the other subsections refer to solving actual software-hardware related problems.

Auto-debugging measurements

Some measurements might have a different than expected value. This can happen both for short connections, where some resistance might be measured, or for ordinary networks, where we might measure a very high resistance between two points. This does not necessarily mean the network is damaged or faulty, the most common cause is the probe getting a bad contact with the pad, it can even miss the pad entirely in some rare cases. Therefore, the robot will try to find a better contact with the pad in such event.

  • Probes on both stages will be pressed against the tape a bit harder, this time going 0.2 mm lower.
  • Probing around the initial contact point will start. Here only the active stage will be used, this means the stage, which is not positioned on the primary pin of the network. Active stage will move around the initial point in a "cross"-like shape, with step size defined in program Constants (default value is 80 μm). If the smallest measured value fits the requirements, it will be selected as the result and the program will continue.
Events when probe misses the pad are mostly caused by imperfect calibrations. These imperfections grow larger when stages move away from their coordinate system origin. For specific situations, when one of the stages ("active" or "inactive") is far away from the origin, a more complex stepping routine is done.
  • The routine starts by stepping around the initial measurement point in "octagon"-like shape, where the distance from the initial point equals two times the step size, used in the first procedure.
  • If a measurement fits the requirements, routine is interrupted and the result saved.
If none of the measurements taken in both routines is acceptable, program will signal this and (if enabled) give the option to manually inspect the connection using AskTehnician debugger.

AskTehnician debugger

When even the automatic measurements debugger returns measurements, which do not fit the requirements, a pop-up window with the option to "look at this point" opens. Selecting Yes will open the AskTehnicianControl GUI, which enables us to move the stages around in small steps and precisely hit the selected electrical pads.
The same procedure is used both for looking at faulty short measurements and normal resistance measurements.

  • Short measurements are those, where we expect infinite resistance between two pads, which do not have a connection. Such measurements with finite resistance are therefore labeled as faulty. When debugging these measurements, we want to make sure the probe actually hits the correct pad and not perhaps some neighbouring pad, which is connected to the second pad. Then we can confirm, if the tape really is faulty or if we accidentally missed the correct pad.
  • Similarly for regular resistance measurements, we expect resistance to be below a certain finite value, determined from specific resistance and line length. Any larger resistance is labeled as potentially faulty and requires inspection. Again, when debugging, we must make sure both probes correctly hit the centres of the pads.

Debugging procedure

When we select Yes in the pop-up window, AskTehnicianControl GUI opens.


We also need to open the side cameras, which is explained in the next chapter Side cameras for viewing probe contacts. Side cameras show us the tips of both probes and the point of contact with the pad. This way, we can be sure if we hit the pad or not. Now the debugging procedure.

  1. When AskTehnicianControl GUI opens, both probes are raised. In order to see their contact points, we can lower them using Lower S* buttons.
  2. To move the selected probe, we must first raise it up again using Raise S* button. Then the selected probe/stage can be moved using arrows in Controls Stage* box in the GUI.
  3. Size of each step can be set in Stepsize box. The default stepsize is 80 microns, the accepted range for steps is 50-200 μm.
  4. Contact point between probe and pad can be verified again, by lowering the probe and checking the camera.
  5. When we are satisfied with the new probe positions, we can remeasure the resistance by clicking the Measure button. This will lower both probes and perform a new resistance measurement.
  6. New pop-up window with the latest measurement information will open.


    Selecting Accept will save the latest resistance measurement and continue with automatic measurements. Selecting Retry will open the AskTehnicianControl GUI and enable us to debug the measurement again. In that case, return to point 1. of this list and repeat the process.
After we finish debugging, we should close the side cameras, which is also explained in Side cameras for viewing probe contacts.

Side cameras for viewing probe contacts

Each stage of the robot is equiped with a "side" camera, which looks at the tip of the probe. Side cameras are extemely useful, for instance a few reference images to check the tape pads and cover layer positions is taken in each test. Furthermore, all "potentially faulty" measurements are also documented with reference images. However their biggest use is for debugging faulty measurements with the AskTehnician debugger. To use side cameras for debugging, follow these steps:

  1. Find the pylon Viewer icon on the Desktop and open the program.


  2. To open Stage 2 side-camera, double-click CAM1 (1). This will establish connection to the camera. Similarly, to open Stage 1 side-camera, select CAM3.
  3. Start the live video by pressing on Continuous Shot (2) button.
  4. Get a good view of the probe tip and desired pad using Zoom In/Out buttons (3). You should see something similar to the view in the big red circle.
  5. When finished with debugging or with any other task, close connection to the camera by pressing Close Camera button (4).
The final step is necessary to free the camera connection for use from within the main program. Next time the camera is needed, simply return to point 1. and establish a new connection.

Camera problem

Sometimes the main program can‘t connect to a camera, because the camera already has an opened conection. This can hapen if the program was exited abnormally with camera connection still opened or the robot operator was using the cameras in pylon viewer and didn‘t close the connection yet. In both cases, the program will try to reset the camera connection by disabling/enabling the selected camera adapter. In such cases, windows pop-up will show.

We should always select Yes and alow the main program to disable/enable the camera port. Otherwise the program won‘t be able to continue.

Fiducial measurements debugging

In case of incorrect fiducial measurements, there are mutiple steps that can be taken.

  • First option is to restart the test program from Main tape tester program and follow the steps up to point 4 of Tape Measurements section. Select No when asked to use the most recent origin and move the starting point for roughly 0.2 mm out of the centre of the first fiducial, by following the steps described in point 4. Continue with the tape measurements as described in Tape Measurements. If all fiducials are now correctly measured, proceed with the tape testing program. If not, you can try to further move the starting point for fiducial measuring in small steps or proceed to the next point of this fiducial debugging guide.
  • Before starting the Tape Tester program, open the Constants.xml file, located on the Desktop. First try varying the parameter LumiScale, which sets the brightness and contrast scale for fiducial images, between 0.7 and 1. You can also try varying the parameter WindScale, which describes the fiducial finding window size, between 1.4 and 2.5, but this parameter should be typically set to 2. After saving the modified Constants.xml file, continue with the first (above) point of the Fiducial measurements debugging procedure.
  • To improve the contrast of recorded fiducial images, you can tape a piece of black tape on the vacuum chuck, where the fiducials are. You can also paint the small area on the vacuum chuck, under each fiducial, in black. This should typically improve the accuracy of fiducial reading. If sometimes this does not work, you can still remove the tape and clean the black paint. This step can be done in combination with the first two steps.
The first and last step described above should give the best results when trying to fix incorrect fiducial reading. Parameters from second option can be changed but are best left untouched, because they are optimised to some degree already.

RIO/DMM problem

This section will adress two connection problems and a measurement problem. First are connection problems.


We will first deal with RIO connection problem. In case when the main program cannot connect to the RIO, a message will be written to the console.


First we must make sure that the following is true:

  • Main power switch on the small electronic box is switched to ON.
  • LED On/Off switch is turned up.
  • The three LED lights next to 12 V, 24 V and 36 V are lit.
To fix the problem we can try:
  • Repeat the steps from point 5 in section Powering up the hardware. Press any key in the main program console to re-establish connection to RIO.
  • If the above point doesn‘t work, power off the main power switch on the small electronic box, wait 10 seconds and power it on again. Repeat the above point again.
If none of the above works or if solving the RIO problems causes other problems, e.g. DMM reading problems, close the main program, power off the small electronic box and the DMM and return to point 5 in section Powering up the hardware and continue from there.


Secondly, if the main program can‘t conect to the DMM at the begining of the test, it will report to the console.

Make sure the DMM is switched ON, select console window and press any key. If the problem persists, try resetting the DMM. If the above doesn‘t work, close the main program and power off the DMM. Power the DMM back on and start again from Main Tape Tester program.

Sometimes the main program reads the measurement from the DMM in an incorrect format. This will also be signaled to the console and the reading will automatically be repeated. Most of the time the second reading should be correct. If however for some reason 11 attempts are incorrect, the program will signal the user to manually input the value into the console.

In that case the operator should read the measurement from the DMM display and write the value of current (in miliamps) or resistance (in ohms) to the console, depending on the measurement type, and press Enter.

PAC connection problem

T/H meter problem

T/H meter is located in an independent control box, next to the DMM. It is connected to sensors and power supply via small electronic box and to the PC via USB cable.

  • First we will check the initialisation issue, which is signaled with a T/H meter message yellow warning pop-up, asking if we want to reastablish connection to T/H meter. Check if the electronic box is turned ON and if the LEDs on can be seen flashing from the T/H meter box. Press Retry. If the issue remains, try pressing the MCU RST button located on the bottom left corner of the T/H meter message (or the RST button on the small electronic box) to reset the meter. Also check if the USB cable is connected to the PC and if the COM5 port is visible in the computer devices. Wait for around 10 seconds and press Retry.
    If we press Cancel and choose to proceed without the T/H meter, another pop-up will appear, asking us to confirm the choice.
  • Second type of issues happen when the meter is running and gathering measurements. The error will trigger a pop-up message with more information. These type of T/H meter problems and error messages will not block the main program execution, even if left unresolved.
    • First type of errors signal a problem with connection to the meter. The green dot in the environment section will turn red is such event.
      Check if the USB cable is plugged in, check if the COM5 port is visible in computer devices and reset the meter by pressing the MCU RST button on the message (or RST buton on the small electronic box). Close the message by clicking OK. Please allow around a minute for the the main program to re-establish connection, before the environment section updates and before trying to debug the meter again. In the meantime, when the meter is reconnecting, the same pop-up message may appear. Close this message. The red dot in the environment section should turn green if the meter has successfully reconnected.
      If a third pop-up message appears, there may be a more serious problem with the T/H meter. You can leave this third message opened and continue with the test without the temperature & humidity measurements.
    • Second type of errors are related to a malfunctioning or a disconnected sensor.
      Check the Environment section to see which sensor is affected. Reset the meter by pressing the MCU RST button on the message (or RST buton on the small electronic box). Do not try to cross the safety curtain and access the sensors when the robot is running! Close the message by clicking OK. Please allow around a minute for the the main program to re-establish connection, before the environment section updates and before trying to debug the meter again. In the meantime, when the meter is reconnecting, the same pop-up message may appear. Close this message.
      If another pop-up message appears and the problem still isn't resolved, press OK, which will close the message and ignore this error for the entire test. Try disconnecting/reconnecting the sensor wires only after the robot has finished running and is turned off. Check if this solved the problem the next time the test procedure is started.

-- MihaMali - 2021-12-28

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Topic revision: r23 - 2022-01-31 - MihaMali
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