Verifying the 10+ Year Product Life Requirement

The industrial market demands long product life and ultra-high product reliability. Accelerated Life Test (ALT) is one tool the highest quality vendors use to ensure their products near let the customer down. Tests include:

defect image

test to failure image

integrated circuits image

These tests allow vendors to identify and ultimately improve the weakest links in the system.
The combined test data is used to accurately predict product life prior to shipping a device to an end customer.
Companies leveraging ALT have spent decades verifying lifetime estimates match actual product performance.

 

Challenges of Applying 
Accelerated Life Testing to a Machine

Applying accelerated life testing to a complex system comprised of several different mechanical and electrical technologies is challenging.

Individual device testing is not an option, full systems testing is required. Common strategies include high ambient temperature testing and extreme vibration testing. With these extreme conditions applied it may be difficult to operate the system fully, which limits the accuracy of any ALT. As a result, ALT is commonly performed in conjunction with Ongoing Reliability Testing (ORT).

Rocket Launch Testing
Turbine

 

 

Ongoing Reliability Testing

ORT typically involves operating a machine under normal conditions for long periods of time. This testing continues well after the product is introduced to the market. It may be cost prohibitive or even impossible to allocate systems as long-term testing units from every batch or build.

Collecting data post-production from the customer site effectively moves ORT to the field, eliminating a majority of the cost. Field-based data collection allows manufacturers to verify the pre-production stress results at the customer site.

Enabling ORT Testing

Enabling ORT testing in the field requires a communications back-haul solution and a path to pull status/sensor data from the system. This is commonly done by extracting data from the local PLC or by adding additional discrete sensors. A test control unit (TCU) may be used to manage the sensor data collection. The TCU can be combined with the back-haul solution which is commonly referred to as an edge gateway. Integrating these technologies together lowers cost and improves the reliability of the system by reducing the number of components.

 

Edge gateways

 

 

In addition to the physical communications solution, there are a few legal terms and conditions that need to be negotiated with the end customer. The contract with the customer must state that telemetry data will be pulled off the machine. Most customers are comfortable with this request when it is offered in conjunction with improved service and support. A cellular connection can be used to eliminate the need to leverage the end customers network connection, but our experience has shown that most customers will allow outgoing status messages if the solution is secure and provided by a reputable vendor. HMS Industrial Networks can support end customer meetings, provide security certifications to ensure that the end customer has a clear understanding of the encryption, and access control technology built into our remote data solutions.

These system topics should be considered when defining a in the field ORT solution:

Network outages response

  • Can a service person download the data locally as an alternative to using the internet?
  • Multiple back-haul solutions.
  • Local data storage.

Fixed one-way data collection

  • Bi-direction systems may need a local lockout feature.
  • End customers may accept fixed one-way solutions more readily.

Re-purposing and Reselling data

  • Can the data collected be used by the customer?
  • Is the data valuable to the component or material suppliers?
  • Any additional revenue stream?

Reducing data bandwidth

  • Total data bandwidth can be reduced with careful planning
  • Direct impact on cellular costs
  • Off-shift data upload
  • Total bandwidth load on customer network

System Security Features

  • Device and Server Certificates
  • Data Encryption Standard and Version
  • User access and management
  • User access logs

Questions about how to leverage Ongoing Reliability Testing to verify ALT or HALT?

Contact one of our IIoT experts:

Learn more about IIoT

Stay up to date on the latest IIoT Trends

View our upcoming events, latest blog posts, and subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign Up for the HMS Monthly Newsletter