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Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

Hockey Helmet Testing – Why is a Properly Tested Helmet Important?

Although the National Football League has taken most of the heat for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in recent years, some are beginning to look at the National Hockey League. The media and medical community are taking notice to the rise in helmet-related injuries among players, such as facial lacerations, concussions and skull fractures.

These repeated blows to the head are dangerous to players mental and physical capabilities to not only play but live their everyday lives. Proper head protection is essential to preventing TBI and CTE in players. Ensuring that helmets and head gear are properly tested alleviates significant risk for brain injury.

The History of Hockey Helmets

Hockey is often known for its hard-hitting, board smashing, tough play. Players are considered to be some of the toughest athletes in competition – for good reason. While ice hockey has its origins in the late 19th century, the first helmets did not appear until Boston Bruins player George Owens wore one for the 1928-1929 hockey season.

Following this first appearance, helmets saw sporadic use in the early 1930s after an incident between Boston Bruins player Eddie Shore and Toronto Maple Leafs player Ace Bailey, which resulted in both players receiving massive head injuries.

However, helmets did not see full acceptance until the 1970s, following the death of Minnesota North Stars player Bill Masterton in 1968. Masterton died on January 15, 1968, after being checked onto the ice by two players from the Oakland Seals in a January 13 game at the Met Center. Masterton was treated on the ice and in the locker room, and then rushed to the hospital, where he remained in a coma for roughly 30 hours, finally passing in the early hours of January 15.

Masterton’s death opened a debate about player safety, specifically on the wearing of helmets. Many players disdained them over fear of being called cowards, and by 1971 only 6 players on the Minnesota North Stars wore them, the highest number of players on any team at the time. Additionally, the NHL, as well as other regulatory bodies, including New York’s legislature, had voted on and vetoed legislation regarding helmet use at least three separate times.

Finally, 11 years after Masterton’s death, the NHL ruled that helmets would be mandatory for all players who entered the league in the 1979-1980 season.

Goalie Helmets: A Slightly Different History

Unlike the regular hockey helmet, the goalie’s helmet has had a little less of a checkered history. The first goalie’s masks were simple leather affairs worn in most cases on a one-off basis. The father of the current goalie mask was Jacques Plante, who invented the face-hugging fiberglass goalie mask in 1959.

Plante’s fiberglass mask was widely adopted and, since its invention, no professional goaltenders play without a mask.

There are three main types of goaltender’s mask, though only two are in current use:

  1. Face-hugger. The initial face-hugging fiberglass design invented by Jacques Plante. This style of mask has fallen out of favor in the professional hockey world, having been replaced by either helmet/cage or fiberglass/cage combination helmets.
  2. Helmet/cage combination. A combination of a standard hockey helmet and an enclosing fiberglass cage, this design grew to popularity in the 1970s thanks to Vladislav Tretiak, the goalie for the Russian ice hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Helmet/cage combinations have largely been replaced by fiberglass/cage combinations in the NHL, although they remain popular with amateur and high-school teams, who cite the fact that the style of cage allows for a better view of the puck.
  3. Fiberglass/cage combination. This type of goaltender mask combines a mask with a cage attached in the middle. The mask can be made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar or a mix of the last two. The fiberglass/cage style of goaltender’s mask is used at all levels of organized hockey play, as it better disperses the impact of a puck.

Puck impacts are not the only injuries players face, however, and understanding how dangerous those injuries can be is just one part of selecting the proper helmet.

Hockey Injuries on the Ice

Puck injuries are one of the most serious a player can face out on the ice. The average slap shot propels a six-ounce puck at a rate of 97.25 square meters per second — enough to cause severe bleeding to an unprotected face even in a best-case scenario.

In fact, getting hit in the face with a puck, and the severe bleeding it caused, is what spurred Plante to invent and use the first fiberglass goaltender’s mask, which he used for the rest of his career.

High-speed puck impacts also have a significant chance of giving players a concussion, with pucks going over 33 meters per second, a feat easily achieved by skilled players, generating enough g-forces to cause a concussion or other mild traumatic brain injury in 80 percent of cases, according to the International Research Council On Bio-mechanics of Injury (IRCOBI).

Not only do players have to contend with getting hit in the face with a puck, but they also have to deal with getting checked into the glass or onto the ice by other players, as was the case with Masterton in 1968.

The Physics of Hockey Injuries

Getting checked into the open ice can be one of the most dangerous things to happen to a player. Since the player being checked is slammed downward onto the open ice, all of the kinetic energy of the checking player is transferred into their body, generating huge amounts of force.

For example, if Jeff Friesen, who stands 6’0” and weighs 200 pounds, checked Eric Lindros, who stands 6’4” and weighs 230 pounds, into the glass at the average hockey speed of 29 miles per hour, Friesen would impart more than 16,000 joules of force into Lindros’ body — enough force to shoot a puck over 160,000 feet at an initial speed of just under 700 miles per hour. Or, in simpler terms, Friesen would put enough force into Lindros’s body to power a 60-watt light bulb for 271 seconds, or just over four and a half minutes.

These sorts of forces are easily enough to give the checked player concussion. In fact, being checked onto the open ice is worse than being checked into the boards, as the Plexiglas barriers and the boards below them are designed to mitigate some of the force of the check. The ice is not.

No matter whether they’re checked onto the ice or into the boards, players find being checked is often a recipe for a concussion. From 1997 to 2008, 759 NHL players received a concussion following a check by another player. This works out to roughly 76 players per season, or about 31 concussions per 1000 hockey games.

The Importance of Helmets and Helmet Testing

 Wearing a helmet can significantly decrease a player’s risk of receiving a concussion as a result of a puck to the face or slam into the boards.

Mostly this is done through the use of a hard plastic shell separated from the head by a softer foam liner. The amount of shock and force absorbed by each helmet depends not only on the type of shell material used but also the type of liner. Thicker shell materials and foams can take more force but may conform less to the head, requiring more stringent retention systems to keep them in place.

Testing helmets acts as an important way to gauge what gives you the most protection. As part of the research into helmet design, IRCOBI released a paper in 2014 that showcased the results of 24.2 m/s and 33 m/s puck impacts on the five leading styles of helmet design:

  1. A two-piece high-density polyethylene (HDPE) shell with a perforated vinyl nitrile (VN) liner
  2. A two-piece HDPE shell with an expanded polypropylene (EPP) liner
  3. A two-piece HDPE shell with an EPP liner
  4. A single-piece polycarbonate shell with an EPP liner
  5. A single-piece HDPE shell fitted with a liner built out of an array of plastic discs

According to the IRCOBI research, HDPE helmets lined with EPP padding took higher amounts of cumulative strain than the helmet made out of a single piece of polycarbonate and lined with a similar EPP liner or helmets made out of a similar HDPE shell and lined with perforated vinyl nitrile.

Part of this is because of the increased thickness of single-piece HDPE (2.5mm) when compared to two-piece HDPE (2.3mm) and a single-piece polycarbonate shell (0.5mm). The type of liner foam also helped absorb stress, with thicker types of foam able to absorb more stress.

Research on the Most Effective Helmet Styles

For example, during a 33 meter-per-second puck impact, a one-piece polycarbonate shell helmet with EPP foam had a 14.36 percent chance of cumulative strain damage compared to a two-piece HDPE shell with VN foam, which actually had the lightest, at 3.20 percent.

Two-piece HDPE shells with EPP foam were a solid compromise between the two, with the two models used by the IRCOBI paper having a 5.82 and 5.14 percent chance of cumulative strain damage, respectively. Mostly this can be put down to weight: the lighter HDPE helmet (514 grams) had a higher chance of strain damage (5.82 percent) than did the heavier (578 grams) helmet at 5.14 percent.

While two-piece HDPE helmets are a solid compromise between single-piece polycarbonate and single-piece HDPE helmets with regard to cumulative strain damage, the IRCOBI research shows that single-piece HDPE helmets fitted with a plastic disc array actually transferred the lowest average and max amounts of pressure to the testing head-forms.

The single-piece HDPE helmet only transferred 96.5 newtons of pressure per square centimeter on average and 373 newtons per square centimeter at maximum compared to the single-piece polycarbonate helmet, which actually transferred the highest amounts of pressure in both cases — on average, the single-piece polycarbonate helmet transferred 127.5 newtons per square centimeter of pressure, while at the maximum it transferred 521.4 newtons per square centimeter.

Because of this increased pressure transfer, the single-piece polycarbonate helmet also had a 0.39 percent chance of causing minor to severe head injuries as a result of a 33 meter-per-second puck impact. Comparatively, the other four helmet designs had less than a 0.05 chance of causing minor to severe head injuries, with the two-piece HDPE helmet with VN foam leading the pack at 0.01.

The Worst Styles to Prevent Concussion?

In fact, the IRCOBI research actually showed the single-piece polycarbonate helmet was one of the worst styles of helmet design, at least in the 33 meter-per-second test. It maxed out the values for linear acceleration, angular acceleration, angular velocity, average pressure, max pressure, head injury risk and cumulative strain damage.

While it did not max out the variables in the 24.2 m/s impact test, the single-piece polycarbonate helmet did have the highest angular acceleration, angular velocity and cumulative strain damage chance. Again, this is most likely due to the sheer thinness of the polycarbonate shell, which is a little under a quarter as thick as the two-piece HDPE helmet and about a fifth as thick as the single-piece HDPE helmet.

So if you’re looking for a helmet design to protect against the rigors of a game of hockey, it’s probably best to stay away from single-piece polycarbonate helmets, even if only on thickness alone.

How Do I Select The Best Helmet?

 The best helmet is one that not only fits snugly to your head but is also comfortable while at the same time providing the best amount of protection possible. Players should look for helmets that have equal amounts of protection when it comes to high-mass low-velocity impacts, like a head drop, and low-mass high-velocity impacts, such as getting hit with a puck.

For this reason, it is best to purchase a helmet in person at a retailer where you can try the helmet on and staff can help you ensure the helmet fits your head properly. Unless you’ve tried on and fitted a similar or previous helmet, it’s best you don’t order helmets online or via catalog.

Additionally, ensure the equipment you purchase has been certified by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC), which evaluates and selects standards and testing procedures for hockey equipment with the purpose of providing standards by which a product may be certified for player use.

Standards for Hockey Helmets

HECC provides four different standards, one for each type of hockey headgear:

  1. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F1045 for hockey helmets, which deals with areas of helmet coverage, form and extent of protective material — both helmet and liner — strength and elongation ability of the chinstrap and shock absorption as a whole.
  2. Goaltenders’ headgear is evaluated against ASTM F1587, which combines elements of ASTM F1045 and ASTM F513 for face and eye protectors. ASTM F1587 tests helmet coverage area, helmet liner shock absorption, face mask impact resistance, chinstrap strength and field of view, with minimum requirements for each.
  3. ASTM F513, as described above, deals with the standards for face and eye protectors. Like all of the other ASTM standards, ASTM F513 tests area of coverage. However, it also deals with field of vision, much like goaltender’s headgear, as well as stick blade penetration, impact resistance and, of course, compatibility with standard helmet designs.
  4. Visor testing deals with much of the same standards that face and eye protectors do, such as area of coverage, impact resistance and compatibility with helmets. Instead of using another ASTM standard, as in the other three testing procedures, visors are tested against CAN/CSA Z262.2. CAN/CSA Z262.2 specifies requirements for visor construction, puck impact and penetration resistance, field of view standards, markings and user manual specifications.

All HECC-certified protective hockey equipment is tested by an independent testing organization, i.e. one that is neither part of HECC nor part of the company sending the equipment for testing, and then validated by HECC’s independent validator. The current HECC validator is Ann Overbaugh.

Certification and Standards for Helmets

You can tell equipment has been validated as conforming to HECC standards and certifications because it will bear a blue-bordered sticker that lists the standard the equipment has been validated as conforming to — for example, ASTM F1045 — the date that the standard was last revised, and the year after which the certification expires.

All HECC certification stickers are invalid 6.5 years after the date of manufacture. For helmets, manufacturers provide a sticker on the inside of the helmet that lists the date of manufacture.

As part of its goal to ensure all protective hockey equipment is manufactured to a universal safety standard, HECC maintains a list of certified products on its website, organized by manufacturer, certification, brand and model number, among other criteria.

Why Should I Get My Equipment Validated?

If you’re a retailer of hockey/sports equipment, getting the equipment you sell validated as conforming to HECC standards is the only way you’ll sell protective hockey equipment, as HECC-certified equipment is required for play by the following hockey organizations:

  • USA Hockey
  • The National Federation of State High School Associations
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association, for face masks only

Additionally, the HECC symbol or name cannot be used on a product unless that product has been certified, and that certification validated, before the product’s publication.

So how do you get equipment HECC-certified? First, you need to find an independent testing organization.

Trust National Technical Systems for All Your Product Testing Needs

With over 50 years of experience and the largest network of testing laboratories in North America, National Technical Systems (NTS) is prepared to meet any challenge you can come up with, including product testing and certification, product inspections and supply chain management.

NTS engineers work as an extension of the client’s own engineering team, filling any gaps and providing their expertise in order to build products that are safer, stronger and more reliable than the competition. And when the time comes to bring those products to market, NTS has a team of supply chain management professionals ready to ensure your products get to their designated market spaces quickly and efficiently.

Here at NTS, we offer a wide variety of testing services for manufacturers and product developers in dozens of industries. Testing services at NTS include:

  • Environmental testing
  • Dynamics testing
  • Product safety testing
  • Mechanical and materials testing

For our sports-minded customers, the newest NTS facility, NTS Chesapeake in Belcamp, Maryland, offers sports equipment testing to ensure the gear you produce is up to the standards of your industry. We offer testing on equipment for numerous sports, including football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer and others.

Certified to Assist With Hockey Equipment Testing

The Chesapeake testing facility is Safety Equipment Institute certified for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) testing, ASTM testing, DOT testing and other specifications as needed.

As part of its ASTM testing, the NTS Chesapeake facility offers ice hockey safety equipment testing. We are equipped to handle puck strikes, drop impacts and chinstrap/retention system testing. We can even verify your face masks have the correct opening sizes in order to fit HECC-certified visors and cages.

In addition to the HECC’s ASTM standards, NTS Chesapeake is also capable of testing hockey helmets against NOCSAE-ND030 standards and capable of testing hockey face protectors against the standards set by NOCSAE-ND035.

If you are interested in having your hockey safety equipment tested by the team at NTS Chesapeake, feel free to contact us or use our website to request a quote. We want to help you show your products can keep players on the ice and performing to the best of their abilities.

Upcoming Changes for Wireless Equipment – EN 301 489-x

EN 301 489 series of standards for EMC testing of radio equipment are being revised. Although these EMC standards are intended for radio equipment, they are not planned to be listed in the Official Journal of the European Union under the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (RED). Depending on your risk analysis results, the use of the new versions of the EN 301 489-x standards may fully cover the essential requirement of article 3.1(b) of RED for all types of radio equipment.

Depending on the results of the risk analysis, manufacturers should follow the new version of EN 301 489-1 and the particular EN 301 489 standard requirements and update their test reports for their current products as soon as possible. Testing may be necessary since there may be changes in the requirements. In particular, the radiated immunity frequency range for many but not all products has been extended to 6 GHz.

Manufacturers of radio equipment can use the R&TTE Directive – 1999/5/EC (Radio and Telecommunication Terminal Equipment Directive) and it’s harmonized standards, such as EN 301 489-1 V1.9.2 and EN 301 489-3 v1.6.1 in their Declaration of Conformities (DoC) until June 12, 2017.

After this date, manufacturers of any radio device who places product on the market in any country which requires CE marking, have to use RED (Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU) in their DoC. This is applicable for all new products as well as for products that are currently being marketed and intended to be placed on the market after this date. Products with DoCs that are not updated to the RED are not to be placed on the European Union market after June 12, 2017.

Solicitation Alert: SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems Coxswain Helmet System

Solicitation Title: SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems Coxswain Helmet System
Issued by: U.S. Special Operations Command

Solicitation Number: H92222-17-R-027
Solicitation Location: Click here for Solicitation

Issued: 12 May 2017
Response Date: 25 July 2017

Other details/instructions:

  • This is only a pre-solicitation. Final solicitation expected to be released in June 2017.
  • All interested offerors MUST submit a Notice of Intent to submit a proposal in order to obtain the Performance Specification and have their proposal considered by the Government.

Please visit this link for detailed solicitation information and attachments: Click here for Solicitation

Solicitation Primary Point of Contact:
Kelly L. McNeill, kelly.mcneill@socom.mil

Solicitation Secondary Point of Contact:
Laura Fuller, laura.fuller@socom.mil

NTS Wichita and NTS Chesapeake are both NIJ-Certified, ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories with the expertise and availability to perform all ballistic and non-ballistic testing as identified in the Solicitation. Both laboratories have the capacity to accommodate test range needs and provide deliverables within the due dates specified in the Solicitation.

NTS Wichita POC:
Matt Lutz, matthew.lutz@nts.com, 316-832-1600

NTS Chesapeake POCs:
Craig Thomas, craig.thomas@nts.com, 410-297-8154
Kyle North, kyle.north@nts.com, 410-297-8154

The Solicitation Reminder is a service of NTS Wichita and Chesapeake Testing divisions to help our customers uncover Federal Business Opportunities. We hope that you find this a valuable benefit of your partnership with us.

Learn how Lightning Phenomena is Shaping the Wind Power Industry

Did you know that WindPower contributed more new electric generating capacity in 2016 than any other source?¹ And did you know that NTS has supported the WindPower industry for 30 years?

HV Blade

NTS will be participating in this year’s AWEA WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition in Anaheim, CA from May 22-25. Attending from our Pittsfield location is Andy Plumer, world renowned lightning expert, founder, and chief engineer. Joining Andy, will be Justin McKennon, senior engineer and subject matter expert in analytical modeling, and SarahMarie Snow, applications engineer.

Swing by booth #4050 to learn how advanced capabilities in analytical modeling and test services have contributed to the Wind Power industry’s growth and, help Andy, Justin, and SarahMarie celebrate 40 years in the lightning phenomena industry!

AWEA Floorplan

Click image to enlarge; for the interactive AWEA floorplan, click here.


Meet the Team


Andy Plumer

Talk with Andy regarding your potential damage issues and/or future designs to improve turbine structure and system longevity.

Andy Plumer
Founder and Chief Engineer

Andy is a long-standing participant in the IEC TC-88 PT 24—for the development of wind turbine Lightning Protection standard IEC 61400-24—and his work is well known in the formulation of advanced design and verification methods for the aircraft and wind industries.


Justin McKennon

Meet Justin and discuss how analytical modeling might be the solution for your system and structural design challenges.

Justin McKennon
Senior Engineer

Bringing his M.S.E.E., E.I.T., experience as a systems engineer from General Dynamics, Justin is highly accomplished with having made significant contributions in developing the analytical modeling software COMSOL. He has provided design solutions for several large wind industry programs, is an active participant in the Lightning Direct Effects committee for SAE RTCA DO-160, and helped establish NTS’ FEM and simulation services engineering group.


SarahMarie Snow

Let SarahMarie introduce NTS’ engineering and test service capabilities that can support your current or future program needs.

SarahMarie Snow
Applications Engineer

Possessing a wealth of knowledge—a bachelor’s in Science, certified Technical Writer, and NTS Pittsfield’s Lightning Protection of Aircraft and Avionics courses alumnus—SarahMarie has been mentored for the last 12 years by Andy Plumer and Mike Dargi. She is a dedicated applications engineer, interfacing with customers to help them find solutions for their program needs.


Capabilities and Services


Lightning Protection Design

  • Blades (traditional makeup, CFRP makeup, Anti-ice/De-Ice technology, Electronic Systems, Control devices)
  • SCADA
  • Control Electronics
  • Power Distribution
  • Structural Components (Hub, Spinner, Nacelle, Mechanical Drive Train and Yaw Control System, Tower Installation, Grounding and Equipotential Bonding)
  • Numerical Simulation Services
    • Blades with Candidate Protection Designs using COMSOL Multiphysics
    • Blade, Hub, Nacelle, Tower and Earthing Installations to predict responses to lightning strikes and performance of protection designs
    • Evaluation for protection devices (SPD, TVS, Shielding, etc.)
  • Lightning Exposure assessments (Zoning, LPZ, per IEC 61400-24)
  • Damage Risk Assessments (On- or off-site turbine inspections for incident investigation)
  • Retrofit Design services

Protection Verification Services

  • Certification Test Planning and documentation
  • Annex D of IEC 61400-24
    • High Voltage Strike Attachment testing
    • High Current Physical Damage testing
Learn More

About NTS Pittsfield


NTS Pittsfield, formerly Lightning Technologies, Inc. (LTI), is home to one of the most complete lightning-simulation laboratories in the world and ranks as an international leader in the development of sophisticated lightning protection systems for customers in the aerospace industry as well as for industrial complexes, golf courses, wind turbine farms, theme parks and other high-risk locations. NTS Pittsfield operates from an 18,000 sq ft facility which includes 14 foot and 25 foot tall generators.

NTS Pittsfield has provided lightning protection design and validation for major aircraft and space vehicles and launch facilities including NASA Space Shuttle and KSC launch complexes. Additional clients include: GE, FAA, Hamilton Sundstrand, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center, Typhoon Lagoon, and Animal Kingdom parks.

Facility Highlights

  • Design and analysis of systems and subsystems to determine the optimum protection
  • Design and testing of systems and subsystems against international standards for lightning protection
  • Consultation on lightning protection design projects as well as for lightning related problem solving, incident/accident investigations and analysis.
Learn More

¹http://www.windpowerexpo.org/content.aspx?ItemNumber=5529&navItemNumber=5417

What is Climatic Testing?

Ingress Protection

Ingress Protection testing at our Montreal, QC laboratory.

Climatic testing is a type of environmental stress testing that recreates in a controlled setting all environmental/weather conditions a product could conceivably encounter. This is done not only to ensure compliance with any applicable regulatory standards, but also to determine the reliability of a product and its potential longevity. Products that undergo climatic testing will perform more reliably and be easier to bring to new markets.

NTS’ extensive climatic testing capabilities give manufacturers an accurate picture of how their product will perform in any environment. Our engineers can design a testing program that meets your requirements. Contact our office directly for assistance.

Types of Climatic Testing

Climatic testing is a broad category covering a range of simulations and testing programs. It may include:

  • Temperature and humidity testing: NTS performs temperature and humidity testing in a variety of chambers to accommodate products of any size. We can provide static testing at a constant temperature/humidity level or thermal cycling to determine how a product reacts when exposed to rapid environmental shifts. Thermal cycling is frequently used to measure the reliability of a solder joint. Static testing, or steady state testing is often used to determine high and low ground survival temps when testing aerospace equipment.
  • Corrosive atmosphere testing: Salt spray and salt fog testing measure the ability of protective coatings and electronic components to withstand corrosive environments. For this type of testing, we use a sealed chamber in which a product or component is exposed to an atomized sodium chloride solution. One of the more common tests we perform involves subjecting a product to a 5% salt solution for 720 continuous hours, ensuring compliance with ISO 9227:2012 standards.
  • Sand and dust testing: Sand and dust testing is especially important for electronics used in military ground vehicles and other delicate applications. In our facilities, we can test components as large as 8 ft3, simulating winds up to 40 mph and temperatures in excess of 200˚F. Using the results of these tests, our clients can produce reliable ruggedized components that meet the MIL-STD-810 standard. We can also perform dust explosion testing to OHSA, NFPA and other standards.

Other tests we provide involve wind and rain, hail impact, solar radiation, altitude and other simulations. We can combine our testing programs with shock and vibration simulation for a more accurate picture of the real-world conditions your product will face. Contact one of our engineers to explore your options.

Benefits of Climatic Testing

Climatic testing is often a requirement when bringing military, aerospace and other components to market. Testing is also essential for demonstrating that your product meets end-user expectations. For example, through climatic testing, manufacturers can determine a product’s high and low operating temps. By sweeping through a wide range of climatic conditions, it’s possible to pinpoint specific failure modes, reducing liability and improving overall product quality.

NTS provides climatic altitude testing for aerospace and aviation manufacturers that meets RTCA DO-160 requirements. Other standards we frequently work with include MIL-STD-202 and MIL-STD-883, as well as industry and manufacturer-specific programs for OEMs. For more information, contact NTS by submitting a request for quotation online.

 

Failure Analysis with X-Ray CT Scanning

Failure Analysis Laboratory

Failure analysis is a critical step in addressing a reliability or performance issue with one of your products. Sophisticated tools help you get to the root of the problem quickly and determine how to correct the underlying issue. As part of our commitment to bringing innovative testing solutions to demanding clients, NTS offers x-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning and other services through our Chesapeake failure analysis laboratory.

Our acquisition of Maryland’s Chesapeake Testing has expanded our ability to deliver fast and accurate scanning services that go beyond visible or mechanical inspections to identify why and how a product has failed.

Non-Destructive vs. Destructive Testing

Non-destructive failure analysis testing can range from visual inspections to CT scanning, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and other methods. Non-destructive testing methods are typically employed first, as they don’t permanently alter the device being tested. Destructive testing, such as thermal and cross-section analyses, provide information non-destructive testing can’t, but render the device unusable and, in many cases, unsuitable for further testing.

Both non-destructive and destructive testing methods may be required to get to the root cause of a product failure. One of the benefits of working with an expert team like NTS is that we tailor our investigations to deliver the best results for the situation.

Markets Served

NTS’ expanded testing capabilities allow our team to provide a range of failure analysis services. We can perform testing on:

  • Printed circuit boards: Depending on the specifics of the issue, we use a combination of X-ray scanning, contamination testing and solderability testing to determine why a printed circuit board is falling out or failing in other ways.
  • Batteries: NTS provides CT scanning of failed battery components in our Chesapeake facility. Prior to being absorbed into NTS, Chesapeake Testing was routinely called on by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to aid in investigations and provide non-destructive failure analyses of lithium-ion-type battery cells.
  • Plastic components: Plastics and composites may fail due to stress, bending, extreme heat and other conditions. Plastic failure analysis requires the use of sophisticated tools such as microscopic and spectroscopic analyzers to look at the product at a molecular level.
  • Metal components: Metal and other material failure analyses demand a customized approach. An appropriate testing program may involve impact and fatigue testing, corrosion studies and more.

These are just a few of the many applications and testing services we offer in our Chesapeake laboratory. The facility, located conveniently outside of Washington, DC, is an ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited lab that is fully certified to perform demanding work for government clients such as the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Army and U.S. Department of State.

Contact NTS to Get Started Today

Our Chesapeake, MD lab is fully equipped to test devices of any size or configuration. We can help you quickly and accurately diagnose an issue and suggest corrective action that will limit your liability and improve the performance of your product.

To learn more about the failure testing capabilities at our Chesapeake facility or for more information about failure analysis in general, please submit an RFQ using our online form.

Do you have questions about our capabilities? Fill out the form below to ask our experts.

Seeing Beyond Boundaries: Industrial CT Scanning

Have you see the NTS sponsored white paper “The Basics, Common Applications, and 4 Tips to Maximize Results from Industrial CT Scanning Inspection” on the InCompliance EERC Resources page? Check it out today to learn about the history of CT scanning, X-ray and CT scanning imaging process, the difference between medical and industrial scanning, common applications and industry examples. Most importantly, learn how to maximize results with industrial CT scanning inspection! Click here to download the white paper. Click here to learn more about NTS non-destructive and CT Scanning services!

Upcoming Changes for Transmitters and Receivers for Private Mobile Radio (PMR) service in the European Union. EN 300 113

By Deniz Demirci, Senior Wireless / EMC Engineer, NTS Silicon Valley

Manufacturers of radio transmitters and receivers used in stations in the Private Mobile Radio (PMR) service, operating on radio frequencies between 30 MHz and 1 GHz, intended for sale in the EU should take note of some important changes.

Currently, manufacturers of these type of equipment can still use the R&TTE Directive 1999/5/EC (Radio and Telecommunication Terminal Equipment  Directive) and it’s harmonized standard EN 300 113-2 V1.5.1 in their Declaration of Conformities (DoC) until June 12, 2017. After this date, manufacturers of any radio device that enters any country which requires CE marking, have to use the RED (Radio Equipment Directive – 2014/53/EU) in their DoC. This is applicable for all new products as well as for products that are currently being sold and are intended to be placed on the market after this date. Products for which DoCs are not updated to the RED are not to be placed on the European Union market after June 12, 2017.

The new version of the standard for Radio Equipment Directive was published in the ETSI web site as EN 300 113 V2.2.1 and it is listed in the Official Journal (OJ) of the EU (Harmonized).

Our recommendation to manufacturers is to schedule tests for the new requirements as soon as possible in order to update their test reports for the new directive.

The receiver performance requirements in the standard, which were not part of essential test suites before, are now unconditionally applicable to all receivers and transceivers in order to align with the Article 3.2 of the directive.

The new essential receiver test suits are;

  • Receiver maximum usable sensitivity1.
  • Receiver error behavior at high input levels.
  • Receiver co-channel rejection.
  • Receiver adjacent channel selectivity1.
  • Receiver spurious response rejection.
  • Receiver intermodulation response rejection.
  • Receiver blocking or desensitization.
  • Duplex operation receiver tests.

Note 1: The tests have to be repeated in extreme voltage and temperature conditions with every available channel spacing and modulation.

Manufacturers who cannot or decide not to use harmonized radio standards in their DoCs must have a Notified Body Type Examination & Certificate in order to presume compliance with the directive. The Notified Bodies have to follow Article 3.2 of RED in their type examination evaluations and will ask for evidence of presumption of conformity which must include a demonstration that the product meets the requirements of the directive which includes spectrum protection measures such as the performance characteristics of receivers.

Upcoming Changes for Wireless Equipment operating in the 2.4 GHz Band EN 300 328

By Deniz Demirci, Senior Wireless / EMC Engineer, NTS Silicon Valley

EN 300 328 V2.1.1 was harmonized and listed in the Official Journal of the European Union under Directive 2014/53/EU for RED (Radio Equipment Directive) on January 13, 2017. This version of the standard covers the essential requirements of article 3.2 of RED for 2.4 GHz ISM band WiFi, Bluetooth, and other Wideband transceivers.

Manufacturers of these types of equipment can still use the R&TTE Directive – 1999/5/EC (Radio and Telecommunication Terminal Equipment Directive) and its harmonized standard EN 300 328 V1.9.1 in their Declaration of Conformities (DoC) until June 12, 2017.

After this date, manufacturers of any radio device who enter any country which requires CE marking, have to use the RED (Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU) in their DoC.

This is applicable for all new products as well as for products that are currently being marketed and intended to be placed on the market after this date. Products which DoCs are not updated the RED are not to be placed on the European Union market after June 12, 2017.

Manufacturers should follow EN 300 328 V2.1.1 requirements and update their test reports for their current products as soon as possible since there is significant change in the essential requirements.

  • The Receiver Blocking requirement is unconditionally applicable to all radio equipment regardless of receiver category or adaptivity capability. This is a major change from the previous version of the standard.

Since the Receiver Blocking was previously conditionally applicable to the adaptive equipment only and the test methods as well as the performance criteria were different, most products may have never been evaluated for this requirement before.

Note:  After June 12, 2017, any radio device which the standards are not yet harmonized and listed in the Official Journal of the European Union, must have a Notified Body Opinion/Type Examination Certificate in order to presume compliance with the essential requirements in Article 3.2 of Directive 2014/53/EU – RED.