Environmental Testing: Improving the Life Span of Electronics: Part-1
In our last blog post, The Importance of Product Testing, we discussed the different ways the automotive industry uses Tenney Environmental test chambers for testing various parts of the vehicles we drive daily. In Part-1 of our two-part blog series, Environmental Testing: Improving the Life Span of Electronics, we will go over the various ways your everyday electronic devices, such as the television, computer, and tablets, are tested.
When an electronic product is purchased, the expectation is that it will work well, last a long time, and not catch on fire. New products may have design flaws or new materials that make them vulnerable to the environment. Electronic products go through rigorous testing, often times in a temperature chamber, humidity chamber, or steady state test chamber, to ensure they are durable, function properly, and meet safety specifications.
Several environmental factors can lead to failure in electronic products. These environmental factors include temperature, vibration, humidity, sand and dust, corrosion, altitude, and thermal shock. Environmental testing helps manufacturers find out how their products will react to these environmental factors.
Testing Electronic Components – Making Products That Last
The average age for all cars on the road today is 11 years, according to Consumer Reports, which means automotive manufacturers must install electronics that can withstand the test of time. The typical computer lasts for three to five years, while a flat-panel LCD TV can now provide nearly 100,000 hours of viewing pleasure. Of course, manufacturers cannot wait the five+ years to test their electronic components before installing the electronics, so they use environmental test chambers to speed up the process.
Believe it or not, early televisions were mechanical rather than electrical. This was because vacuum tubes and photoelectric cells were not yet available. The early televisions used a mechanical scanning device, a rotating disk with holes in it, to scan the scene and transmit the images along with a similar device that acts as a receiver to display the images.
Picture quality was poor, and the screens were small, which created the need for the electronic shift. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that manufacturers discovered this. To continuously improve picture quality, manufacturers had to continually increase the testing of their products. For example, early manufacturers and repair professionals used oscilloscopes to study how signals changed over time.
Product testing evolved over time as televisions, computers and other electronic devices developed. Today, manufacturers use environmental chambers to test electronic components for vehicles, televisions, computers, tablets, and any products that utilize circuit boards, semi-conductors or other electronic assemblies. These environmental test chambers help manufacturers identify defects, improve reliability, and create products that are robust enough for every day usage by the consumer.
Tenney and Lunaire Environmental are leaders in the design and manufacture of environmental temperature cycling and steady state stability test chambers. Their test chambers are used in a multitude of industries. For more information visit www.tenney.com.
Stay tuned next month for part 2 on environmental testing for electronics. We will dive deeper into the tests performed on electronics prior to reaching the marketplace.