What Is An Automation System?

Automation systems are integrated hardware and software applications of sensors, controllers, and actuators designed to perform a task with minimal or no human action. These systems usually consist of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and distributed networks of I/O modules, sensors, and actuators that communicate with PLCs via standard industrial communication protocols. Automation systems are widely used in mass production and manufacturing assembly lines to meet high demand, increase quality and reduce cost. To ensure that these complex, large-scale systems operate safely, accurately, and reliably, exhaustive testing is essential.

Significance of Automation System Testing

Comprehensive testing of automation systems is crucial for two major reasons. First, testing is the way to ensure and verify the safety and reliability of production systems. Poorly tested automation systems can cause dangerous, even deadly, incidents. In addition, companies with poorly tested automation systems may suffer production delays due to long and frequent downtimes and costly repairs. Second, automation system testing is necessary to ensure high and consistent product quality. Poorly tested automation systems can result in defective, inconsistent, and unreliable products that cause tremendous financial losses and brand damage due to recalls and negative customer feedback. For these reasons, companies usually make every effort to properly test their systems. However, there are many challenges to completing meticulous automation system testing.

What Are the Biggest Challenges in Testing Automation Systems?

Many automation systems in manufacturing and assembly lines need to be tested manually with humans in the loop because PLCs and safety systems are incompatible with automation system testing tools in most cases. However, large-scale automation systems usually require hundreds, even thousands of pages-long test plans, and it is extremely time-consuming to update and maintain such large documents. Many professionals end up wasting a lot of time struggling with document formatting issues as well. Another big challenge associated with large test plans is that it is highly difficult to keep track of execution status and progress with large documents. These challenges cause testing to become disproportionately expensive as automation systems become increasingly complex with more features and interfaces.

There are a few existing test management solutions, but they are generally inapplicable for automation system testing due to being exclusively web-based. These applications require reliable high-speed internet, which is typically not available in factory automation settings. In addition, precautions against cybersecurity risks require setting up special provisions such as firewall exception rules for web-based tools, and this is usually not desirable due to increased cybersecurity risks.

TestForma provides a solution that enables you to ditch large test plan documents for an optimized GUI for test plan design and execution. You can still generate your test plan and report documents – automatically with one click. You can also work in offline mode with no need to have high-speed internet at any stage of the testing process.

How Does TestForma Help With Automation System Testing?

TestForma speeds up testing by addressing the challenges in test plan design, execution, and documentation with a modern, user-friendly software solution. Because we are intimately familiar with the challenges of testing complex, large-scale systems, we have designed TestForma to make it as simple as possible to design, execute and document test plans.

With TestForma you can organize your test cases to break down large systems into smaller groups. You can define your test steps however you like to fit your needs. You can easily track the execution status of your test steps, test cases, and groups. In fact, TestForma automatically updates and keeps track of execution status for you. Our execution engine enables you to quickly execute and mark your test steps with streamlined user interaction. With TestForma, you can test your automation systems more quickly, achieve better test coverage, and, as a result, better business outcomes with maximum ROI. Here is how TestForma helps optimize automation system testing in each part of the testing process:

Test management tool

Test Plan Design

  • Designing test plans is straightforward in TestForma. The GUI is self-evident and requires no tech-savviness. Associates at any job level can easily create test plans with TestForma.
  • You can flexibly design and update test plans for each component, as well as one integration test plan for the system as a whole.
  • You can easily create template test plans for different installations of the same or similar system.
Test management tool

Test Execution

TestForma’s primary objective is to make test plan management simple and efficient. That’s

  • The execution engine makes test execution easier and faster with optimized user experience.
  • You can execute test plans offline without the internet.
  • You can create and manage multiple execution instances in the same workspace for different iterations of the system and progressive stages of installation.
  • You can easily monitor and demonstrate your test execution progress with automatically updated test execution stats.
  • The touch-friendly GUI makes it possible to execute tests using ruggedized tablets for factory environments.
Test management tool

Document Generation

  • You can auto-generate professional-quality Word, Excel, or PDF docs for test plans and execution results with one click.
  • Customization features allow adding company or product logos as well as custom document headers and footers.
  • Fully customizable document templates allow report generation in any formatting and style.

Try TestForma for Better Business Outcomes And ROI

TestForma is thoughtfully designed to increase test coverage while reducing the burden on testing teams, cost, and time to market to improve your ROI. From test planning to execution and tracking to documentation, TestForma comes with ultimate simplicity and efficiency to help you speed up your automation system testing. With its simple GUI and feature-rich execution engine, TestForma is a powerful automation testing tool, enabling you to manage your entire testing process in one workspace.

With a simple, easy, and direct design, everyone with little to no technical know-how can easily learn and use TestForma. No difficult installation, no hassle. Start testing your automation systems with TestForma today!