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New product releases Jun 18, 2021

RC-FLEXair beds of nails



If you think of a printed circuit board (PCB) as the central nervous system of a controller, then acupuncture and quality tests on the Reliable Controls production floor have something in common: Both use needles to stimulate points and generate reactions.

Herbert Ponting's 1907 photograph of a fakir in Benares (Varanasi, India). Over 1,000 years ago, gurus used beds of nails to practice meditation and healing.


Traditional beds of nails enhance circulation without piercing the skin—a technique used for centuries in the East to promote general well-being. The beds of nails hooked up to PCBs at our headquarters in Victoria, Canada, also focus on optimal health; the main difference is they are designed to prevent problems in the first place.

RC-FLEXair bed of nails.


Every circuit board we design (for each of our controllers) uses an equally tailored bed of nails to test the specific functionality of that controller. The new RC-FLEXair® has no less than three circuit boards: a mezzanine board, a main board, and an inputs/outputs board, each tested on its own bed of nails. This step in the quality control process begins with spending tens of thousands of dollars and months of work—an investment worth every penny considering the value we place on customer satisfaction.


Flexibility is a hallmark of Reliable Controls products. This means controllers are available in a range of models to best suit a customer's needs. That same flexibility adds a layer of complexity when testing quality, according to James Puritch, vice president of R&D. "We don't just test one version; we test every single model we offer.

"When you design a circuit board, you also design for manufacture," says James. "You can't just create something and hope it works." The addition of test points on every PCB ensures the boards can be put through their paces. The test jig itself needs to be robust to endure years of testing thousands of boards.


The RC-FLEXair beds of nails test eight PCBs simultaneously. The system—a MACH-ProCom, eight MACH-ProZone devices that control output loads and input elements via mechanical relays, a Belimo actuator, and a SMART-Sensor—simulate every task the controller is expected to perform. Only then does it pass to final assembly. That's quality assurance, the Reliable Controls way.