Environmental Testing: Improving the Life Span of Electronics: Part-2
In Part-1, we went over the importance of conducting environmental tests for electronic products. The reason that you can keep the same hair dryer for five years, the same TV for ten years, and the same car for fifteen years is due to product testing, most of which can be done in a Tenney Environmental Test Chamber. Here in Part-2 we will go over the different types of environmental testing: simulation vs. stimulation.
Simulation tests the product in the environment in which it normally operates. In other words, simulation tests how well the electronics perform in normal temperature, humidity, and vibration.
Stimulation tests uses stress to uncover a product’s weakness. A gradual temperature increase reveals the maximum temperature at which a product will operate. Once the product fails, manufacturers can decide whether the failure is acceptable or if they need to change the product.
Burn-in is a traditional form of testing to stimulate premature failure from high temperatures. Testing is usually performed while the device is powered; temperatures may be cycled to cause the device to be heated and cooled several times during testing. While burn-in is easy, it has relatively low testing effectiveness and lengthy test times. Many manufacturers are turning to temperature cycling for testing electronics. Temperature cycling subjects the device to predetermined extremes in temperatures for several cycles. Ramping up the temperature quickly causes effective stress for a given number of cycles.
Testing helps manufacturers reduce product development time, reduce costs, increase profitability, and decrease post-sale service; these can help keep costs low for you and other consumers. Electronic product testing can also ensure the quality of the products you buy. Product testing can help manufacturers predict how long a product will last and look for ways to improve product durability and performance.