Your products are a reflection of an experience you’re trying to convey to your customers. Before you unveil something new to the world, make sure you have confidence that it will perform flawlessly.
Modern businesses are becoming more innovative and prevalent than ever before. This realization means competition is growing at a very rapid pace, which makes it essential that a company that wishes to compete offers top-tier products that rival anything else on the market. One way to ensure the development of a superior product before it reaches potential customers is by performing extensive tests and quality checks before hitting the shelves.
That said, product development is no easy endeavor. It takes time, creativity and a significant amount of resources. The aspects commonly evaluated include reliability, quality and durability. Once you understand what your product is meant to do — and verify that it can perform for a substantial amount of time and still do its job when the conditions aren’t perfect — you will be ready to send your product into the market without any uncertainty.
What Is Product Testing?
What is product testing, and what exactly does it mean to a business? The purpose of product testing is for quality control and allows companies to evaluate their products to ensure their quality and safety. This method of quality control also verifies that the product complies with mandates of regulatory agencies in the respective industry.
Product testing may be done in-house by yourself or your manufacturer. Testing can also be outsourced by an independent product testing agency that specializes in the craft. While it is essential to many businesses to be in control of every facet of their products, there are many advantages to outsource product testing, including:
- Cost: A common reason companies go without product testing is because it does not fit in their budget. The return on investment is mistakenly not justified, and they are overconfident in their products performance and safety. A solution that many businesses use to combat costs is to do the testing themselves, but this is not a financially wise decision. A testing lab requires pricey upfront costs related to space, equipment, labor, training and certifications. Maintenance, whether it be repairs, upgrades or recertification is expensive, as well.
- Unbiased Information: Outsourcing ensures the information gathered is not influenced by the same company that is hoping for its success. Using a third-party provider of testing guarantees relevant regulatory agencies and manufacturers alike will know the results in the tests were not manipulated or influenced in any way. The manufacturer also can gain insight on what a fresh set of eyes might see upon review versus the employees that have been working with the product since its conception. Outsourcing can catch issues that may otherwise go unnoticed and determine that the product is ready to go on the market. The use of different firms also increases the credibility of the results and will aid in your brand’s reputation and trust.
- Requirements: Some regulatory agencies require manufacturers to perform their testing with a trusted third party. This statement is particularly true in the pharmaceutical industry that emphasizes strict compliance with regulations.
Questions you may ask during the development and manufacturing phases of product development include:
- How will the product or part be used?
- How long is the product or part expected to last?
- What sort of elements will the product or part see exposure to?
Depending on the product or industry, it will be handled and used in different environments that require increased durability in certain types of pressure. Anticipating these scenarios and understanding the length of typical use will allow you to examine how the product performs under these conditions and time frames, identify failure rates of the product and determine preventative measures that will maximize the lifespan and reliability of the product.
Why Is Product Testing Important?
In particular, why should you do product testing? A professional unfamiliar with its applications and the advantages it can provide may see it as an unnecessary expense, as mentioned before. That belief is incorrect — you can take advantage of several product testing benefits.
Product testing helps companies make sure their quality is top tier. It is becoming even more beneficial to businesses because of the way consumers are conducting their own research instead of taking a company’s word for their claims. These days, consumers seek online reviews and trust testimonials to aid their decision making more than ever before.
Producing a stellar item is even more essential for a brand new company, but rings true no matter the size or experience of the business. The product needs to surpass customers’ expectations to stand out in an industry and deliver what consumers expect out of it. Doing so will increase customer loyalty and satisfaction, as well as ensure a strong relationship with the public that will boost your brand’s image.
Testing can find flaws in new products and compare their uses to competitors. That way, your company can be more confident it will perform well and rise above similar products on the market by comparing its use in a real-life environment.
Product testing can measure many different aspects of value, such as:
- Accelerated Life Testing: Ensuring a product can withstand the test of time is crucial for a customer to believe they got their money’s worth. This form of testing measures the effects of aging on products and is particularly important in technology-based businesses, where the innovations included do not have history to back up their effectiveness. Accelerated life testing is an umbrella term that encompasses many different forms of tests to get the full picture of how the product will perform under any amount of stress or in different environments.
- Customer Testing: Aside from the actual product, testing can be applied to the customers themselves. By predicting consumers’ acceptance for a proposed product, they can better determine how well the item will sell or if it still needs work before it hits the market.
- Safety Testing: Products that do not meet high safety standards are subject to failure or additional costs trying to backtrack the mistakes caused by a faulty product. Product testing makes it possible to be confident an item will hold up to general use and not cause the consumer any danger or issues.
All these types of tests illustrate why product testing is vital, but specific requirements and benefits exist based on the particular industry your business is in.
Which Industries and Products Need Product Testing?
If you’re pondering what industries need product testing, it’s safe to say that almost any company could benefit from the process. While the importance of product testing is evident no matter what industry or sector you’re involved in, here are six examples.
1. Consumer Products
Consumers’ expectations are only increasing in this day and age. The losses of a failing or recalled product going on the market can be more than just financial — it can also negatively impact your company’s brand. Making sure every aspect of your product will fulfill a customer’s needs and wants is crucial.
Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT) is a popular test choice in the consumer product industry and many others. The method works by putting a workpiece into a machine that gradually increases stress levels of a specific nature and uncovers flaws that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. It reduces the risk of a product being made or marketed without discovered weaknesses and deficiencies that could cost millions of dollars in recalls and redesigns if caught too late. This form of testing is more applicable than Design Verification Testing or Environmental Stress Screening because it is much less time-consuming, giving consumer product manufacturers more freedom to make adjustments in the design phase.
Highly Accelerated Stress Screening (HASS) often supplements HALT testing by uncovering defects due to assembly procedures or supplied materials. This process works by using incrementally stronger thermal and vibration stress tests used to find the maximum limit of stress a product can reach without defecting. If these discoveries come after hitting the market, your company will suffer consequences.
2. Defense and Military Applications
Protecting armed services personnel is a given, and product testing for defense applications is growing in popularity to do just that. Product testing meets military standards and regulations, and thanks to developments in reliability engineering and related product testing procedures, military suppliers and contractors can far exceed issues such as Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) situations and solve more complex operations.
These considerations are where Accelerated Stress Testing such as HALT and HASS come into play for Defense and Military applications. Providing good insights and results derived from reliability and quality control programs is crucial in such an important industry.
3. Automotive and Transportation Testing
The automotive industry in the United States is at an all-time high thanks to the work of hundreds of thousands of individuals that have their hand in the transportation sector. But, as with any booming business, consumer and business demands increase alongside success. The automotive and transportation industry, in particular, has never been under more pressure to produce safe, durable and fuel-efficient vehicles. If your company can not optimize these aspects, you’re more likely to drown beside the vast number of competitors.
The new electronic components becoming more prevalent in vehicles require special care and testing to make sure each one will hold up to the mechanical and environmental issues it will undoubtedly face.
4. Aerospace and Aviation Applications
It is critical to ensure all product tests for aerospace and aviation applications are perfect. Even if one component fails in an airplane, it can be disastrous for a company and puts passengers in danger. Reliability testing is critical to ensure any new or existing aircraft are appropriately outfitted and maintained.
Accelerated Stress Testing (AST) is one method that the aerospace industry has been using to speed up the process of going from development to market since 1995. Plane manufacturers with reliability ratings reaching over 99 percent apply AST to each piece used throughout its conception and design.
5. Energy Industry
The innovations in the energy sector, such as smart grid technology and offshore wind turbines, have advanced the industry faster than many others. This new technology has required the demand for product testing just as quickly. Whether you are dealing with equipment used for the generation, storage or transmission of energy, they all must meet safety and regulatory standards to not incur expensive costs for both your company and the consumer.
During the design stage, measuring and monitoring components to prevent failure is crucial. Once the product is conceptualized and a design is put into place, take care in ensuring proper operation and reducing the number of repairs needed to guarantee safety and earn the trust of your consumers and personnel. Doing so quickly is also a priority due to the fierce competition in the market.
6. Medical Industry
Many medical devices require premarket approval (PMA), which is a process of regulatory and scientific review administered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to evaluate effectiveness and safety. Devices that sustain or support human life are especially important to prevent faults that may harm users and potentially result in death or permanent damage to someone’s wellbeing. Medical instruments are expected to live up to the highest standards due to their uses, which could determine whether a patient lives or dies.
Working With Quality Testing Services
Once you’ve understood the benefits of outsourcing your product reliability testing — to ensure your upcoming product complies with all regulatory standards and reaches a pristine quality before it hits the market — the next step is to find a testing laboratory you can trust to perform their duties quickly and effectively.
Quality Testing Services has been a leader in product reliability testing, and we use our expertise in many key industries to exceed standards in reliability and performance. Our highlighted services include:
- HALT Testing: Gradually increases stress levels of a specific nature and uncovers flaws that may have otherwise gone unnoticed
- HASS Testing: Uncovers defects due to assembly procedures or supplied materials
- Vibration and Shock Testing: Evaluate products that incur large volumes of vibration or force and replicate conditions during use or transportation of the given product
- ESS Testing: Assesses the environmental impact of a product
- Accelerated Weathering Testing: Simulates severe weather conditions to test a product’s durability against the elements over time
- Thermal and Humidity Testing: Examines a product’s endurance to harsh weather conditions, especially after prolonged or extended use
- Mechanical Endurance Testing: Determines if a product can withstand an expected processing load and ensure heavy use over long periods
- Consulting: Take clients’ needs and helps them understand which tests are most important for their endeavors, then supply them with informed suggestions to reach the best results
Requesting a consultation from us is easy and free. We would love to help determine your product testing needs and conduct a plan on how to achieve them. Submit a request for a quote today.