NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

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

Challenges of Meeting Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) Requirements

Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) requirements for products that operate in certain 5 GHz bands are now firmly established in most regions of the world. DFS is a mechanism that allows sharing of spectrum with radar systems operating in the 5250-5350 MHz, 5470-5725 MHz and in some regions of the world 5725-5850 MHz of the RF spectrum. Regulatory authorities required this sharing mechanism when the decision to open this spectrum up for uses like WiFi was adopted. The mechanism needed to verify that a channel is free of radar before using it, monitoring a channel for radar once a channel is in use, vacating the channel if radar is detected and remain off of a channel on which radar has been detected.

In some cases, the requirements have continued to evolve. For example, last year the FCC updated their testing procedures (KDB 905462 D02) for the Bin 5 radar type waveform to use a fixed width chirp in a given trial and changed which frequencies are used for each trial in the statistical performance check.

A continuing challenge is the requirement that the FCC pre test all products that are required to detect radar transmissions prior to a grant of equipment authorization being issued by a Certification Body. Depending on the FCC workload this can delay FCC certification by 1-3 months.

Since DFS compliance is primarily related to the software controlling a radio, it is necessary to involve software development personnel in DFS evaluation process that includes debug of issues found during testing. In addition, a description of how the product software that controls the radio DFS functions is secured to prevent tampering with by users of the product is necessary for product approval.

DFS testing involves different operation of the radio from other certification testing. Normal product operation with the added ability to restrict DFS functions and report detections are needed (KDB 905462 D04). Testing will proceed more quickly if a complete setup typical of actual use with the device configured to communicate with another product in a manner that produces a sufficiently high use of the channel (typically 17-30%). Additional information needed for performing the tests are the modes of operation, 99% bandwidth for each mode and antenna types and gains (testing with the lowest gain antennas is required).

If you have any questions regarding the best methods to ensure your DFS test session is successful to gain compliance, ask our experts or call 800-270-2516.

3D Modeling Aids the “Digitization of Science”

CT ScannerIn January 2016, Popular Mechanics paid a visit to the Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland and met with Nick Pyenson, paleontologist and curator  of the Marine Mammal Collection, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world.  The team at NTS Chesapeake has been providing CT X-ray scanning support to Pyenson in its large scale scanner, enabling him to study larger specimens from the collection, such as blue whale skulls.

Check out the Popular Mechanics article by Matt Blitz here.

Training: HALT – Product Design and Reliability

Do you need to know how much margin your product has beyond the specification limits? Is your design too close to the limit or possibly over-engineered?

For those responsible with designing products–ensuring the quality and overall reliability–these questions must be answered before their products go to market. Equally important is having certified that their products have met its specified reliability requirements while avoiding delays and incurring additional costs.

Join engineers and technicians from our NTS Chicago facility as they host an all-day, interactive seminar March 3, 2017 on HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Test) covering the basics, the benefits and its relationship with your product’s reliability. Additionally, they will introduce other available tools designed to prevent infant mortality (e.g. HASS – Highly Accelerated Stress Screening) as well as share with you, answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on product reliability testing.

Visit our events page to learn more and register today!

For more information on HALT testing offered by NTS, click here.

Training: MIL-STD-810G: Understanding, Planning and Performing Climatic and Dynamic Testing

NTS is once again pleased to host the Equipment Reliability Institute at our Santa Clarita, CA location on March 6 -9 for a four-day in depth course covering the climatic and dynamic testing methods needed to meet the requirements of the MIL-STD-810G standard.

This 4-day class focuses on the purpose of each test, the equipment required to perform each test, and the methodology to correctly apply the specified test environments. This class is applicable to ANY testing done to Environmental test standards including DO-160, IEC specifications, and all other documents which provide test methodology for environmental testing. The test methods explained and taught in this class apply to environmental testing of ANY equipment whether it is intended for military/aerospace, commercial, or consumer use.

To learn more and to register, visit the Equipment Reliability website.

Training: Modern Practices in Intermediate Vibration Testing

Santa Clarita Vibration TablesNTS Santa Clarita is pleased to host the IEST for the course “Modern Practices in Intermediate Vibration Testing” on February 7, 2007.

The purpose of this course is to offer a comprehensive familiarization with leading edge issues and best practices in vibration during all phases of the system development. Moving beyond the basics to more complex and realistic vibration scenarios, the student will interact with the instructor and fellow students to maximize understanding of leading concepts in fatigue theory, requirements development, advanced test techniques (including multi-axis and synergistic testing), and vibration test management.

Numerous “how to” examples and vibration testing “traps or pitfalls” will be discussed in class. During an extensive case study, the students will participate in a detailed practical exercise designed to demonstrate the development and execution of a complex vibration test program.

The course will be instructed by Robert L. (Andy) Anderson. Andy has over 35 years experience in the test industry, most recently serving as Dynamics Manager for NTS in El Segundo.

Visit the IEST website for more details and to register here.

To learn more about NTS vibration testing capabilities, click here.

Reusable Shopping Bag Mandates and Your Polymer Testing

Plastic bags have an undeniable impact on our environment, and it’s not for the better. Up to 300 million plastic bags find their way from the U.S. to the Atlantic Ocean each year, where they cause harm to countless sea life. Some of the most impacted species include porpoises, turtles and other animals that eat jellyfish because a floating plastic bag will often look like a delicious snack.

On land, our bags clog pipes and sewers, take up landfills and spoil waterways, and each discarded bag may kill as many as four animals per year.

These environmental concerns are causing a push for reusable shopping bags, and many cities are looking at banning single-use grocery bags. The first statewide ban has come in California with legislation touting the benefits of reusable plastic bags but also new requirements like those from the Environment Choice Program. Here’s why your business should take note of California’s Proposition 67.

See How the Plastic Bag Ban in California Impacts You

The recent passage of Proposition 67 ratifies a 2014 plastic bag ban in California. This bans retailers from giving out single-use grocery bags at checkout. The goal is to eliminate waste and make the state more environmentally friendly. And the Los Angeles Times says this will get rid of about 15 billion pieces of trash each year.

That’s a major change that will likely see more people using tote bags and create an emphasis for the need to test reusable plastic bags so you are staying within the bounds of the law. Reusable shopping bags are now needed, and you’ll have to make sure you’re in compliance.

Proposition 67 creates a new set of standards for the material content and durability of reusable utility bags. The California Department of Resources Recovery and Recycling, or CalRecycle, has long touted the benefits of reusable plastic bags, and now it will be in charge of inspecting manufacturers’ bags to make sure they meet new requirements.

Meet Your Reusable Plastics Needs With NTS

CalRecycle is expected to provide a series of new guidelines for plastic bag testing as well as changes to overall plastics and polymer testing to make sure bags can be used multiple times, with the goal of being less likely to end up in the landfill or littered on the street.

What does that mean for you?

You could face fines or worse by offering a degradable product, creating a need to test reusable plastic bags. For most of the manufacturers we work with, plastics testing can be difficult and hard to verify internally for the purposes of meeting regulations. That’s why NTS offers plastic bag testing.

Consumer-grade products need to balance versatility and longevity with cost, so we’ve built a polymer testing service that can help you meet regulatory requirements plus keep your manufacturing costs lower. We’re staying on top of the new CalRecycle requirements, the Environmental Choice Program reusable utility bag requirements and potential changes that may happen during 2017.

Work with NTS for your rubber, polymer and plastics testing to know you’re safe and ready for what the new year brings.

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New and Upgraded Aerospace Test Capabilities in Santa Clarita

As part of our continual effort of improvement, the Santa Clarita laboratory has just opened a revamped acoustic test facility along with a brand new vibration facility. It features two oversized doors to easily accommodate large test items and staging/prep area with an 8 ton crane.

The upgraded acoustic facility features:

  • 5,000 cubic foot Reverb Chamber
  • 1,400 square foot High Bay
  • Class 100k (ISO Class 8) Clean Room
  • M+P and PAK Closed Loop Control Systems
  • 100+ Instrumentation Channels (Microphones Accelerometers, Force Sensors, Strain Gages)

The new vibration facility features:

  • 2,500 square foot Vibration Facility
  • 15 Ton Crane
  • 2 Ling 340 Shakers 30,000 lbf ea.
  • Class 100k (ISO Class 8) Clean Room
  • Closed Loop Control Systems
  • 100+ Instrumentation Channels

NTS Santa Clarita is one of the largest test facilities in the U.S., covering over 150 acres. Whether you require small component level testing or massive complex system simulation, our mission is to streamline testing, verification and evaluation processes to reduce cycle time and bring your product to market faster.

Our technical experts have extensive experience providing a variety of complex test setups gained from our experience with major aerospace and defense related programs over the last 55+years. Click the here to request a quick quote and let us help you expedite your next project!

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersize X-Ray Analyzer (EDS) Technology now in Anaheim, CA

We are pleased to announce the addition of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with fully integrated expanded Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analyzer (EDS) at our Anaheim, CA materials testing lab! This capability has been in place at our Baltimore, MD lab for the past year and clients have been thrilled with the high resolution imaging and range of acceleration voltages provided by this research-grade technology.

For those new to the technology, SEM allows for visual observation of an area of interest in a completely different way from that of the naked eye or even normal optical microscopy. The images generated by the SEM show greater contrast between organic-based and metallic-based materials and thus instantly provide a great deal of information about the area being inspected. Simultaneously, EDS can be used to obtain semi-quantitative elemental results  about very specific locations of interest.

Some common uses of SEM and EDS are contamination analysis, solder join evaluation, component defect analysis, inter metallic evaluation, Pb-free reliability, elemental mapping, tin whisker detection, and black pad analysis.

Click here to learn more about SEM/EDS. Contact our Anaheim, CA or Baltimore, MD lab to discuss your programs today.