Around Videon, “HALT/HASS” has become part of our vocabulary. But we realize that the acronyms–and the value they represent–aren’t known everywhere. So here’s a quick primer on HALT/HASS testing, and why it matters.
HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Testing) is performed while a product is being designed or prototyped. It exposes the product to high and low temperature and vibration stresses. And, in the course of a couple of days, it mimics a lifetime of product stress.
Why does it help to put a product through so much stress? The simple answer is that by forcing your product to fail, you learn its weak points. If a certain component is always the first part to fail, you can replace it or change the design, extending the life of your product. The test/improve cycle can continue until your product is as rugged and/or long lasting as your customers need it to be.
HASS (Highly Accelerated Stress Screening) is a similar test, involving temperature and vibration, but rather than stressing products to the point of failure it only simulates about a month of normal use.Thislight touch testing lets you catch manufacturing defects before the product is in customers’ hands. It almost entirely eliminates out of box failures and infant mortality.
When I discuss HALT/HASS, I’m always telling people that if I had my own company and we made a commercial product, I would always perform HALT. Same goes for HASS–when components or process changed in manufacturing, I would take the time to ensure that the product is still reliable with HASS testing. Just a couple thousand dollars up front could save tens of thousands down the road, especially when you consider the high cost of returns, warranty issues–and the cost of customer dissatisfaction.