NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

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

leansixsigmaconferencebanner2016Don’t miss the Lead Six Sigma Conference in Huntsville, AL on November 3 & 4, 2016.  NTS’ own Beth Reid, Regional Lean Manager, will be presenting “3 Approaches to Continuous Improvement” at this years event.

Additionally attendees will be touring the NTS Huntsville facility, focusing on the 5S progress in the dynamics department.

NTS Volunteers Honored for Contributions to IPC and the Electronics Industry

NTS is proud to announce that our own Debora Obitz, Elizabeth Allison, Renee Michalkiewicz, and Russ Shepherd were among the seventy-five individuals who were presented with Committee Leadership, Special Recognition and Distinguised Committee Service Awards at the IPC Fall Standards Development Committee Meeting this past September in Rosemont, IL.30153606905_3577b56ce1_z

For their contributions to IPC-A-600J, Denise Chevalier, Amphenol Printed Circuits, Inc.; Lorraine Hook, Streamline Circuits; Chris Mahanna, Robisan Laboratory Inc.; Debora Obitz, NTS – Anaheim; and Joey Rios, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earned a Distinguished Committee Service Award.

Leaders of the 7-31AT IPC-A-600 Technical Training Committee that developed the training and certification Program for IPC-A-600J, Acceptability of Printed Boards, Leo Lambert, EPTAC Corporation and Debora Obitz, NTS – Anaheim, received a Committee Leadership Award.

30118587106_5c59f025c8_zFor their extraordinary contributions to the training and certification program for IPC-A-600J, Elizabeth Allison, NTS – Baltimore and Renee Michalkiewicz, NTS – Baltimore, received a Special Recognition Award. Helena Pasquito, EPTAC Corporation; Russell Shepherd, NTS – Anaheim; and Debbie Wade, Advanced Rework Technology-A.R.T., received a Distinguished Committee Service Award for their contributions to the training and certification program.

For their leadership of the 5-32e Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF) Task Group that developed IPC-9691B, User Guide for the IPC-TM-650, Method 2.6.25, Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF) Resistance and Other Internal Electrochemical Migration Testing, Karl Sauter, Oracle America, Inc. and Russell Shepherd, NTS – Anaheim, earned a Committee Leadership Award.

29524746043_44027d8efe_zDistinguished Committee Service Awards were presented to Douglas Eng, PPG Industries Inc.; Todd MacFadden, Bose Corporation; Renee Michalkiewicz, NTS – Baltimore; and Bhanu Sood, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, for their contributions to the document revision.

X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT) Scanning & Battery Cells

Next-generation energy storage technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries, are changing the landscape of just about every major industry – from advanced aerospace applications to everyday consumer products. With the major advantage storing very high energy densities while remaining small in both size and weight, lithium-ion batteries are becoming more and more prevalent in electronic devices.  These batteries function differently than their predecessors and can be susceptible to different kinds of failure modes, including the very well-publicized “thermal runaway”, which has plagued even the largest aerospace programs and some of the most well-known consumer brands.

Understanding the results of battery testing and failure analysis is key to improving design and ensuring the proper functioning of internal safety features. X-ray CT scanning has proven to be an excellent method to obtain internal, three-dimensional data in a non-destructive manner. Industrial CT scanning has been used in the analysis of batteries for several years now, including some very high-profile investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB). The images and data captured using NTS Chesapeake’s state-of-the-art CT scanning equipment were included in several NTSB reports.

Image of a damaged battery unit (left) and CT scan cross section of one of the cells (right), both taken from the NTSB Interim Factual Report on the 787 Dreamliner Investigation in 2013. (http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/DCA13IA037-interim-factual-report.pdf)

Image of a damaged battery unit (left) and CT scan cross section of one of the cells (right), both taken from the NTSB Interim Factual Report on the 787 Dreamliner Investigation in 2013.

The industrial CT scanning process is very similar to a medical CAT scan, which uses high-resolution radio-graphic data captured at multiple angles around a part. Because the objects under test are inanimate and the operators are well-protected from any radiation, industrial techniques typically include higher x-ray energies and longer acquisition times in order to maximize resolution and quality on more dense, metallic components. This process has been accessible to research scientists for decades now, but only recently has it become more cost-effective, thanks in large part to advances in digital x-ray imaging and computer processing. This means that scanning and processing techniques that previously took hours or days, are now completed within minutes.

Two-dimensional digital x-ray radiograph (left) and 3D cross sections (right) from a CT scan of a common lithium ion battery design found in many cellphones and other mobile devices

Two-dimensional digital x-ray radiograph (left) and 3D cross sections (right) from a CT scan of a common lithium ion battery design found in many cellphones and other mobile devices

Much of the recent work including CT scanning of batteries often comes from the need to better understand and control the quality of consumer-grade battery cells. Issues span many types of everyday electronic devices from laptops and mobile phones, to popular motorized scooters and even e-cigarettes. Being able to obtain these internal images non-destructively creates many opportunities for improved quality control and failure analysis techniques. Data can be collected at different stages of charging or after certain types of destructive testing, such as extreme temperature, shock and vibration, and even ballistic and cell puncture testing. When it comes to analysis and high-level investigations involving suspected battery failures, one additional advantage of utilizing CT scanning is evidence preservation.


Two-dimensional image cross sections taken from a CT scan of a small cylindrical battery cell showing the internal structure of the layers (often called the “jelly roll”) and even the gel polymer electrolyte.


In addition to performing inspection and analysis for its clients, Chesapeake Testing has been exploring techniques for optimizing x-ray and CT scanning to better analyze battery cell structure and damage. This includes investigating methods to increase resolution and lower the noise caused by x-ray scatter, which can be detrimental to detailed image analysis, especially within larger cell designs. Academic research also continues into better imaging processes to detect and analyze failures, including in-situ, or real-time, imaging. Just last year, researchers at European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, led by University College London, performed high-speed radio-graphic and CT imaging of battery cells while under thermal runaway. Their results include some extraordinary images and videos taken from the data and can be found here: http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms7924.

As echoed in the media and among industry experts, there is a pressing need to improve the quality and safety of these devices. Technologies such as x-ray computed tomography are providing engineers and researchers with the information needed to more effectively analyze failures and ultimately improve battery cell design. Even with all of the negative attention surrounding lithium-ion batteries, if manufactured correctly, there are still so many benefits. There can be little doubt that these battery technologies will continue to drive new advances in energy storage and be implemented in every facet of modern life.

NTS’ Chesapeake, MD division operates one of the most powerful, high-resolution x-ray CT scanning systems in use today. A large walk-in 450kV micro-focus system enables large objects (up to 37 inches in diameter) to be imaged with extremely high resolution. This system, combined with  NTS’s other testing capabilities and state-of-the-art processing and visualization tools, allows this technology to solve numerous problems spanning many different industries.

For additional information, visit the CT Scanning section of our website here: https://www.nts.com/services/non-destructive-testing/ct-scanning

Solicitation Alert: Plate Carrier System, Generation II, and Components

Solicitation Title: Plate Carrier System, Generation II, and Components
Issued by: DLA Troop Support

Solicitation Number: SPE1C1-16-R-0172
Solicitation Location: Click here for Solicitation

Issued: 6 October 2016
Response Date: 21 November 2016

First Technical Factor: Ballistic Test Results and Areal Density (page61 of solicitation)

  • The solicitation states that this testing can be performed at a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Certified Laboratory.
  • Ballistic Testing Data Requirements (testing and requirements describedin Paragraph Sections 3 and 4 of DTL-14007A0000, dated March 18, 2015):
    • Eight (8) shoot packs for 17gr V50’s
    • Eight (8) shoot packs for 9mm V50’s
    • Eight (8) shoot packs for 9mm V0’s
  • Areal Density Data Requirements (testing requirements per Paragraph,, and 4.8.3 of DTL-14007A0000)
    • Provide one (1) shoot pack, not sewn, for Areal Density testing.

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

Solicitation Primary Point of Contact:
Catherine Dillon, Catherine.Dillon@dla.mil, 215-737-2497

Contracting Office:
700 Robbins Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19111-5096

NTS Wichita and NTS Chesapeake are both NIJ-Certified 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.

India BIS Exemption Clarifications

Bureau_of_Indian_Standards_Logo.svgWe have received questions about the clarification for BIS HSE Exemption from manufacturers and it is confirmed that the equipment is exempted from BIS registrations if less than 100 units are shipped into India per year and one of the following conditions met as below (a, or b, or c, or d). Though, the regulations do not clearly specify “and one of the following conditions”, this understanding has been confirmed with India labs, agents and authorities multiple times.

Highly Specialized Equipment (HSE) as per the criteria given below shall stand exempted from the application of said Order provided they are manufactured/ imported in less than 100 units per model per year-

  1. Equipment  Powered by Three phase power supply or
  2. Equipment  Powered by Single phase power supply with current rating exceeding 16 Ampere or
  3. Equipment  with dimension exceeding 1.5m x 0.8m or
  4. Equipment  with weight exceeding 80kg

Open House at our newest Colorado facility!

NTS Chicago Ribbon Cutting
Great food from Frank’s BBQ and live music by the band Romero Unplugged greeted our guests at the NTS Longmont. CO Open House last Friday. Over one hundred customers, prospective customers and local business people toured the new 32,000 square foot facility and were able to see the testing capabilities first-hand.
Local government and city officials, Sam Bailey, Senior Manager – Global Business Development at the Governors Office of Economic Development and International Trade and Bruce R Partain, President and CEO of the Longmont Chamber of Commerce were present. Their encouraging remarks during the ribbon cutting ceremony were well received by the open house attendees. The Colorado business community is growing and NTS is well positioned to support that growth.  NTS’s CEO, Vicki Panhuise, also spoke and reinforced the commitment NTS has to support the testing needs of the business community of Colorado and surrounding areas.  ‘NTS is committed to help its customers deliver products the world can trust and we’re proud to have expanded our footprint in Colorado’.
Longmont Open House
For more information about our Longmont facility or NTS please click here.

Reverberation Chamber Workshop Coming to Fullerton!

reverb-600x240We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting the IEEE Los Angeles EMC Chapter and MTT/AP Joint Chapter Meeting at NTS Fullerton, CA location on October 17.

This workshop will address fundamental to advanced topics regarding reverberation chamber test methodology, including the new applications for this versatile and robust test environment. Once mainly used for Government test requirements, the reverberation chamber is increasingly being used for aerospace, automotive and consumer electronic test applications due to its inherent efficiencies in cost and time. Practical, application oriented material will be provided that you can use on the job. The workshop concludes with a live demonstration of a EUT using the reverb chamber at NTS.

Speakers include Garth D’Abreau, Director of Automotive Solutions at ETS-Lindgren, Dr. Vignesh Rajamani, Senior Associate at Exponent, and Jeff Viel, Corporate Director of EMC at NTS.

Click here for more information and to register. If you would like more information about the NTS Fullerton reverberation capabilities, click here.

NTS International Approval Staging Services

untitled-1Preparing for in-country testing is very similar to preparing for CE, FCC tests. However, some commonly seen issues such as language barriers, incorrect instructions/faulty samples or customs clearance issues may cause delays for obtaining the approvals.

The international approvals staging session at NTS is designed to mitigate these potential problems. With our experienced team at NTS, we will help to ensure the test instructions are executed correctly and more importantly, that the product is operating according to the relevant country specific standards. Lastly, before shipping out the test sample, we will check the product has the proper documents in order to clear customs.

Please contact our NTS International Approvals Team at IATeam@nts.com for more details on preparing for your in-country test.

This post was written by Luis Cabrera. Luis has 10 years of experience at NTS in the areas of international shipping, testing and international approvals.