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Home / News Archive 2005


How to Select the Right Environmental Test

1 Dec 2005

...but will it withstand the test of time?

Really, when we are doing testing, what it comes down to is will our product be able to hold up reliably for a given length of time - at least as long as the warranty period!

The best way to select the right test(s) is to start thinking about your end product. You know it better than anyone else. Think about the environments it will see. The three main environments to think about are usage, storage, and transportation.

Product Questions

Here is a list of questions you can ask about your product, keeping all three of these environments in mind:

  • What temperature will it see?
  • Will humidity be a concern?
  • Will it be exposed to vibration? (Almost always the case during transportation)
  • Will there be temperature swings?
  • Will it be exposed to salt air or corrosion?
  • Will it be in a high vacuum or high pressure situation?
  • Do I need combined environments?
  • Does it need to be powered up?
  • What is the worse case scenario? And what safety margin do I want beyond that?

Test Questions

Next, think about the purpose of the test:

  • Is it a simple pass/fail test?
  • Are you doing it to satisfy a customer?
  • Are you following a specification?
  • Are you trying to find out lifetime?
  • Are you purposely taking it to a failure to find out which failures would be most likely to occur in the field? (Like HALT testing)
  • Is this pre- or post-production testing?
  • Are you trying to replicate field failures?

Maybe you can see that there is no simple answer to the question of choosing the best test(s): It depends on your product, and your needs.

Chamber Choice

There are times that one chamber can serve for many different types of test. For instance, according to MIL-STD 810F, a thermal change rate of 25?C or more per minute is equivalent to thermal shock. If you have an environmental chamber that can change temperature that quickly, you could have the possibility of running thermal shock, standard thermal tests, humidity, and possibly vibration all in the same chamber. This cuts down on the floor space necessary if you were to do each test separately. (Of course, throughput should be considered. If you have tests that need to be vibration only and none with combined environments, it would make more sense to keep the vibration system separate.)

When you think about it, all products are exposed to combined environments in real life. Temperature is a given, but sometimes people forget about humidity (or lack of it) and vibration - even if it is just from heavy trucks driving by outside the building. A lot of electronics products create their own vibration - for instance office equipment like copy machines and printers.

Measuring and Monitoring

When doing your testing, decide what to measure. In standard ESS testing, temperature is usually measured on air. However, there could be a huge difference in what is happening to a single PC board compared to a full computer system. It is good if you can measure directly on the product to know what IT is doing, not just what the working space environment is doing. The faster the change rate, the more likelihood there is for big measuring difference.

It is very important to monitor your product during testing. One company that I worked with used to bench test each unit before putting it in the chamber, then bench test it again after the chamber test. They were having a much larger field failure rate than they expected. They started to monitor the product during the environmental testing and found that 50% of the failures were intermittent. If they wouldn't have been checking during the test, they would have missed half of the failures.

The Value of Knowing Your Product

Knowledge is power. Knowing your product well is the first step. Knowing why you are doing the testing is the next. Understand the equipment needed and how best to use it.

Knowing someone that you can trust to help you if you have questions is very helpful, whether they are a colleague, someone that helps to write specifications, or a chamber manufacturer. I have seen a growing network of people willing to help each other out. Stay as informed as you can about changes in your industry and in testing.

I am a working group chair for the ISO for vibration, working group member for the IEC for test conditions, a member of IEEE and IEST, and used to help chair the Accelerated Stress Test Workshop each year. I do this purposely to keep up to date with testing techniques and to network with some of the best experts in the field.

If there is any way that I can ever help you out, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'll be happy to share what I've learned.

Chris Peterson
HALT & HASS Consultant
Angelantoni Industrie S.p.A.
+39 075 8955 1 Ext. 375

Service Engineer required

1 Dec 2005

We require an engineer to carry out repairs to climatic chambers at our customers sites. Experience of work on climatic chambers is desirable but not essential.

Overtime available. Fully expensed company vehicle.

If you are interested in this position please contact Bill Blake on 01992 899 440.

3 day short courses for the first half of 2006

1 Dec 2005

18-20th January 2006 - VIBRATION TESTING

This course provides an introduction to the technology of vibration testing and outlines the principal features of typical vibration test programmes. The course is organised jointly by the Vibration Shock and Noise Group of the Society of Environmental Engineers and the School of Engineering at Cranfield University.

15-17th February 2006 - CLIMATIC TESTING

This three day course provides a practical introduction to climatic testing and will cover general principals, test facility requirements and practical test procedures. The course is organised jointly by the Climatic Group of the Society of Environmental Engineers and the School of Engineering at Cranfield University.

26-28th April 2006 - MECHANICAL SHOCK TESTING

This 3 day course provides an introduction to shock testing techniques. The principle of shock testing machines and the artificial generation and measurement of shock environments will be covered, together with a review of analysis techniques and the interpretation of shock data in relation to standard and specification.

The course is organised jointly by the Vibration Shock and Noise Group of the Society of Environmental Engineers and the School of Engineering at Cranfield University.

For information about any of these courses visit the SEE website

Electrical/Electronic engineer

29 Nov 2005

ETS require an engineer to carry out the following tasks:

  • Design and build electrical control panels for climatic chambers
  • Retrofit controllers to climatic chambers
  • Project manage chambers from our Italian supplier

Good rates of pay, company vehicle, some travel involved.

If you are interested in working for a growing forward looking company please contact Trevor Leake on 01992 899 440.

Service Engineer required

29 Nov 2005

We require an engineer to carry out repairs to climatic chambers at our customers sites. Experience of work on climatic chambers is desirable but not essential.

Overtime available. Fully expensed company vehicle.

If you are interested in this position please contact Bill Blake on 01992 899 440.

1st European Mobile Air Conditioning Workshop

17 Nov 2005

November 29th - 30th, 2005
Auditorium CEA - Centro Ricerch Fiat,
Via Faustro Coppi 1 - 10043 Orbassano (Torino) Italy

On the 30th November at 11.30am Angelantoni Industrie's Technical Manager, Maurizio Ascani, will present a contributed paper at the 1st European Mobile Air Conditioning Workshop titled

"Advanced Air Conditioning Testing"

The paper will focus on ACS' experience and know-how about calorimeters - mainly used to test the efficiency of home appliances and vehicle air conditioning units.

PRODUCTRONICA

10 Nov 2005

15-18 NOV 2005
MESSE MÜNCHEN
GERMANY
STAND A2.259 HALL A2

ACS ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING DIVISION WILL BE ATTENDING THE PRODUCTRONICA FAIR IN MUNICH PRESENTING THREE NEW PRODUCTS:

"anyvid" The new family of Environmental test chambers for vibration tests.
anyvid: the easiest way to combine any kind of shaker with an environmental test chamber

"flower" The new environmentally friendly climatic chamber
flower: an opportunity to help the environment

"spinner" The new air to air thermal shock test chamber
the spinner: a new design for a compact, precise, quieter and user friendly thermal shock chamber

Service Engineer required

29 Nov 2005

We require an engineer to carry out repairs to climatic chambers at our customers sites. Experience of work on climatic chambers is desirable but not essential.

Overtime available. Fully expensed company vehicle.

If you are interested in this position please contact Bill Blake on 01992 899 440.

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