Environmental Testing Services

Environmental Testing

Environmental testing laboratory in Frederick, Maryland

Washington Labs is a full service Environmental Testing/Test Lab with extensive experience in both testing and test plan/procedure preparation with an emphasis on flexibility and support during testing.

Covering MIL-STD 810G testing, DO-160 testing, IEC 60068 testing, IP Testing/IEC 60529, Vibration/Shock testing and more. Our list of accreditations is supported by a broad range of environmental test equipment, including vibration, shock, temperature & humidity (including walk-in size chamber), altitude, rain, immersion (IPXnn) and salt fog chambers.  Equipment includes a climatic chamber that attaches to the vibration table providing support for combined tests support many HALT test programs.

We commonly test to MIL-STD-810, DO-160, IEC 60601-1-11 and IEC 60068, but if you need to test to a different standard or have a special set of requirements, just ask; we would be more than happy to discuss your testing needs!

Environmental Testing

Customized test requirements and approval management for military and commercial with our state of the art testing equipment.

This list covers just a few of the more common tests we do – please see our complete list of environmental testing capabilities if you have a test requirement not shown here.

  • Temperature Testing: -73 °C to +200 °C
  • Humidity Testing: 5-100% RH
  • Altitude Testing: Ambient to 100,000ft
  • Vibration Testing: 2” P-P displacement, 600lb load capability
  • Shock Testing: 75G TPS, 50G Half-sine
  • Combined Temperature & Vibration Testing
  • Salt Fog Testing: 72” x 42” x 42”
  • Rain & IP-code Water Ingress Testing

Environmental Testing: What and Why?

Environmental testing demonstrates the ability of a product to survive harsh conditions under use, storage, and shipping.  Transportation vibration, temperature shock, corrosion resistance, or water ingress?  Prototype unit testing to determine deficiencies in design?  Concept analysis, to see if that better mousetrap really is better?  Production-stage testing to prove the robustness and reliability of the finished product?  All covered by environmental testing.  And oft-overlooked, success in environmental testing can be a great marketing tool: don’t just tell your engineers you passed, tell everyone you passed!

Compliance with environmental test standards also highlights a manufacturer’s commitment to providing high-quality, thoroughly tested products to the market, both domestically and world-wide, and applies to everything from home medical equipment to orbital vehicle components.  An important step in military COTS procurement, even the most innocuous commercial equipment can benefit from environmental testing by identifying potential problems, assisting in warranty mitigation, and providing a more reliable product to the end consumer.

Environmental Tests in the Classroom

While Washington Labs provides a range of environmental testing services, we also provide classroom- and webinar-based training covering many aspects of environmental testing, including initial planning and procedure creation, test procedures and details, pass/fail criteria discussions, and “end-game” planning regarding test reports, overcoming test failures, and using the data gathered from testing to test effects.  Please see our website for a list of available environmental webinars and upcoming events, as well as a variety of other presentations, from MIL-STD-461F EMC testing to product safety testing for a variety of standards.

Did You Know? MIL-STD-810

Did you know that single axis vibration testing requires cross axis control?

Discussion:  MIL-STD-810 establishes a requirement to limit cross axis acceleration to 0.45 times the axis under test acceleration.  This calls for installing accelerometers in both axis orthogonal to the primary axis or using a multi-axis accelerometer.  If the cross axis vibration is greater than 3.5dB below the primary axis acceleration, then the cause needs to be determined.  If the cause is related to the vibration test fixture inducing the cross axis issue, then the fixture should be corrected to eliminate or move the resonant frequency outside the test range.  If the test article is the source, you may need to limit the drive spectrum or consider multi-axis testing.

Article Reference ID: DYK00006

Did you know that IPX7 and MIL-STD-810 Immersion are “almost” the same?

In general procedure, both tests are performed the same way; immersion in 1-meter of fresh water for 30-minutes. The primary differences lie in smaller details; MIL-STD 810G testing is typically performed with the unit to be tested either 10C or 27C above the water temperature depending on deployment. This allows for contraction of air in any internal voids during testing, which results in a slight negative pressure inside the unit. IEC 60529, the IPX7 test, requires that the test unit is within 5K of the water temperature. The immersion depth is also measured slightly differently between the methods; 810G measures the 1 meter immersion depth from the highest surface of the test unit, while the IPX7 test is measured from the bottom of the test unit.

Pass/fail criteria between the two standards is also similar; both allow water ingress, by requiring the manufacturer determine what an acceptable level of water ingress is, but also require that the test unit function following (and in some cases, during) the immersion test and not result in a hazardous condition due to water ingress (electrical shorts, etc.). For small pieces of equipment, and units that cannot be disassembled (epoxied clamshells), we typically measure the weight before and following testing, to determine if any water ingress occurred. For some test units, where it cannot be disassembled and where it is difficult to remove all water by patting dry following the test due to the physical shape of the unit, the pass/fail criteria is typically limited to confirming the equipment operates following testing, and doesn’t pose a hazard (water ingress to transformers, batteries, etc).

Of the two tests, the 810G procedure is slightly more difficult to pass due to the temperature differential requirement, but as a general statement both tests are very similar. I would also note that IPX8 testing is essentially the same as IPX7 testing, but with either a longer duration, or a deeper depth requirement; a 45-minute test at 1 meter, or a 30-minute test at 1.3 meters, would both qualify as IPX8.

For more information contact us.

Article Reference ID: DYK00014

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