When bringing a new product to market, manufacturers need to be confident that their product will perform as expected and withstand the rigors of real-world use. That’s where accelerated life cycle testing (ALT) comes in. ALT is a special type of testing that subjects products to extreme conditions to simulate long-term wear and tear. By doing this, manufacturers can see how their products will hold up over time and make any necessary changes before making them available to consumers or other manufacturers to be put into use. ALT can also help prevent product failures or costly recalls down the road.
There are three main types of accelerated life cycle testing: qualitative, quantitative, and accelerated aging.
Qualitative accelerated life cycle testing such as HALT focuses on determining if a product will function as intended over its expected lifespan. The goal is to quickly determine if a product has any design or manufacturing weaknesses. Testing begins by subjecting the product to normal levels of stress that simulate real-world conditions, such as temperature and humidity, and increasing those levels until the product fails, exposing its weaknesses. Qualitative testing provides engineers with the information they need to improve the product design and increase its reliability. Qualitative accelerated life cycle testing is typically performed on aerospace, commercial, medical, and military products.
Quantitative accelerated life cycle test (QALT) differs from qualitative testing in that it is used to determine the service life or mean time between failure (MTBF). Quantitative testing often requires developing a custom test plan based on the product’s intended use and the real-world stresses it will routinely be exposed to in the field. QALT test results are analyzed to calculate the estimated life span or MTBF of the product. It also includes measurements of the product’s performance over time. This type of testing is typically used for products with longer lifespans, such as medical devices. QALT is often performed using accelerated aging techniques, such as gamma irradiation or thermal cycling.
Accelerated aging, or shelf-life testing, is used to determine how long a product can be stored before it begins to degrade. This type of testing is typically used for medical devices or other products to determine an acceptable shelf life. To conduct accelerated aging or shelf-life testing, test engineers will need to define the stress factors, which are the environmental conditions that can cause the product to age prematurely. Accelerated aging is usually performed using one or more of the following stressors: temperature, humidity, oxygen, light, or pressure.
Professional Accelerated Life Cycle Testing
When choosing a life cycle testing method, it is important to consider the needs of the project. If cost and time are major concerns, then qualitative accelerated life testing may be the best option. If accuracy is a major concern, then quantitative accelerated life testing or accelerated aging may be the best option. Each of these life cycle testing methods has its own unique benefits. The best life cycle testing method for your product will depend on its intended use and expected lifespan.
Located in Huntington Beach, Quality Testing Services began as a HALT/HASS testing facility. We have expanded over the years and now offer a wide range of product testing services. With more than two decades of experience, we have become the industry leader for product testing in Southern California.
Quality Testing Services has experience with all types of accelerated life cycle testing. While we may not be the largest product testing company in the industry, we believe our attentiveness and flexibility set us apart from other companies. We meet with our clients to get a complete understanding of their testing needs and develop a relationship with them. If their product needs special equipment for testing that isn’t standard, we will do our best to fabricate the equipment needed.