We work in highly-regulated industries, and we know how important product testing is. Early on, we went to official certification labs with what we thought were finished products. Occasionally we returned home with products that hadn’t passed, requiring redesign and retesting.
To save both money and time, we made a capital investment in testing equipment of our own, specifically an EMI chamber, HALT/HASS chamber, temperature chamber and ESD testing equipment. With in-house equipment, we could finally test our own products. As expected, this saved us money on official certification testing. Our products passed at certification labs, because they’d already been tested! But there was an unexpected side benefit. We learned the importance of testing our products throughout their development. By testing prototypes and component pieces, we streamlined our process and improved product quality. In other words, we learned that there are lots of reasons to test products.
To ensure compliance. If a product has to pass strict certification standards, it only makes sense to test it during the design process. Identifying failing parts earlier can reduce costs, as we found when we began testing our In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) products in-house.
To compare designs. In the early stages of a product, competing designs need to be evaluated. Testing those prototype designs, as opposed to guessing about their function, can help make the right choices from the beginning.
To identify failure points. Similarly, it’s always good to understand a product’s weak points. HALT/HASS testing is particularly important for this. By accelerating stresses on a product, HALT/HASS can pinpoint exactly what part of a product is weakest.
To validate manufacture. Even when the design is final, it’s important to make sure that it is being built correctly. Testing will highlight manufacturing failures: poor soldering, loose screws, etc.
To minimize downstream service costs. If a product has warranties or guaranteed service, testing can pay back in the long run. Designs can be changed to avoid related repair costs down the road.