Product testing is an issue every manufacturer has to be concerned with. Companies all over the world in aerospace, defense, automotive, communications, consumer electronics, and countless other industries are performing compliance testing for one or more of the numerous testing standards like MIL-STD, UL, ANSI, SAE, RTCA/DO-160, and CE Mark, and multiple other requirements. These companies, like yours, are faced with the issue of how to go about conducting these necessary tests. Should you send the product out to an independent lab for performing the tests or should you perform the tests yourself? Product testing can last days, weeks, months, even years depending on the product, test and/or design issues. Whichever the decision, the process can be timely and expensive.
The market is filled with equipment that can perform the specific test needed to meet the test standard, but buying new or used equipment can be expensive, often exceeding $100,000. Not every company is willing or able to spend the money for the one to three times a year they will use the equipment. And still others with the capital are not willing to make the investment out of uncertainty of amount of use. On the other hand, independent lab can be costly to send the product to test and if a single portion of the test results fails, the product will need to be corrected and sent back for testing again, adding to the expense and delays to market. Lastly, renting test equipment can be cost effective on the short-term, but in the long-run, when does the cost to rent exceed buying the equipment?
Advanced Test Equipment Rentals (ATEC) is the compliance standards headquarter for all types of testing requirements. ATEC carries brands from top manufacturers like Keysight (formerly Agilent), AMETEK brands IFI and Teseq, EMC Partner, EM Test, Haefely, Fluke and many others. Companies rent the equipment they need for as long as they need it, and then send it back when done. That same independent lab that can perform the test may also be renting the equipment from Advanced Test Equipment Rentals. ATEC is A2LA ISO 17025 accredited with Cal labs certified to ensure the equipment you rent is accurate for the tests you need to perform.
MIL-STD-461 is a United States Military Standard that defines the test limits, levels, and procedure of how to test equipment for electromagnetic compatibility. EMI test receivers, like the Rohde & Schwarz ESU40, and spectrum analyzers, like Keysight (Agilent) E4440A, are used to measure the characteristics of radio signals by measuring and displaying the magnitude of the input signal versus the instrument’s frequency within the full range. These products comply with certain sections of MIL-STD-461 and also fully comply for CISPR 16-1-1 specification requirements, making these test equipment optimal equipment to have on-hand.
Companies directly correlated with aerospace find the RTCA/DO-160 standards for lightning induced transient susceptibility a resource for compliance tests. Solar 2654-2 Lightning Transient Generator System and Thermo Keytek ECAT EMC Lightning Test System synthesizes electrical impulses needed for testing susceptibility to transients induced in aircraft equipment. This standard is essential in ensuring functionality of equipment during the occurrence of direct and indirect lightning strikes.
SAE standards are internationally recognized for their role in helping ensure the safety, quality, and effectiveness of products and services across the automotive industry. Products like the EM Test LD 200N100 Load Dump Generator simulate the sudden disconnection (e.g. by corrosion) of the battery from the alternator while the alternator is generating current to load the battery.
The IEC is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies — collectively known as “electrotechnology”. Wherever you find electricity and electronics, you find the IEC supporting safety and performance, the environment, electrical energy efficiency and renewable energies. The IEC 60601-1-2 standard applies to electromagnetic compatibility of medical electrical equipment and medical electrical systems. Equipment like the Teseq NSG 4070-75 Conducted and Radiated Immunity Test System, a multi-functional device for carrying out EMC immunity tests to accompany development and conformity testing, can be used in the testing of such medical devices.
Many test and measurement equipment carry over from one standard to the other and can be used in different industries, but no one equipment can be used to meet every standard for a specific industry, so having a single source to get what you need proves extremely beneficial. Advanced Test Equipment Rentals carries one of the largest varieties of equipment, providing great ease of access to the equipment you need.
Next week, I will address how to determine when is it right to buy, rent or send to test lab as the second part or this article. Contact ATEC at 800-404-ATEC (2832) or visit www.atecorp.com.
Written by Richard Russo
Advanced Test Equipment Rentals