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:

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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).

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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

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