Key Life Testing – Accelerated Design EvaluationMarch 9, 2018
Key life testing is carried out to help evaluate the design life of a vehicle component at an accelerated pace. The basis of key life testing is the determination of the anticipated real-life operating conditions for the vehicle, and then that set of conditions is accelerated so that the system or component under test can fulfill its design life of 150,000 miles in weeks or months rather than 10 years.
Key life testing is carried out at component and sub-assembly level using highly accelerated life testing (HALT) which involves repeated six-degree-of-freedom vibration and rapid temperature changes (thermal cycling). HALT testing applies stresses to the equipment under test in controlled increments while the product is continually monitored for failures.
At NTS, key life testing is performed typically on parts, radios, fuel injectors and systems like the tail light in the video. However, these tests are also designed for use on hard drives, printers, and other electronics.
Because HALT testing reduces the amount of time needed for testing, it also uncovers design problems more quickly than traditional methods, which allows for a faster time-to-market. Accelerated testing processes such as HALT can be more cost-effective than traditional methods because, due to the fact that they are so much faster, they require fewer man-hours and free up test equipment for other projects.
HALT testing not only uncovers problems more quickly, but sometimes uncovers problems that might not have been uncovered at all during testing thanks to the combination of test parameters applied simultaneously.