What Is Accelerated Life Testing?
What happens when a product is designed to last for 100 years?
Durable products like swaging tools, vehicle dampers, appliances, and laptop batteries are designed to operate for a given amount of time or number of cycles, known as service life. To quantify the overall durability of these systems verification testing throughout the development process is required to ensure final product service life is met.
What happens when the product is designed to last for 100 years? That’s a tough wait for the average consumer.
One way of determining the service life of a product is accelerated life cycle testing. Whether it’s the number of cycles the tooling components can handle before wearing beyond tolerances, number of wash cycles a washing machine can withstand, the amount of damped energy converted into heat before seal failure, or total charging cycles before the internals of a battery overly corrode, the “life” of a durable product is engineered to deliver a finite amount of utility at a given price point.
Accelerated life cycle or durability testing is putting a product or system through the same amount of operational stress that it will see during the entirety of its life condensed into a short period of time. For example, if a washing machine is designed to operate for 10 years or 1000 wash cycles based on an average of 2 cycles per week, accelerated life testing could consist of subjecting the washing machine to 1000 cycles in a matter of weeks or months to ensure that it will last a minimum of 10 years.