Accelerated life testing (ALT) is a method of subjecting a product to a variety of high stress conditions to evaluate performance and try to induce failure to find potential weaknesses. ALT can evaluate any type of stress such as temperature, humidity, vibration, or any other type of environmental stress that your product may experience in its lifetime. For example, for products that are intended to operate over a long time span, accelerated life tests are critical to assess the probability that they will meet their performance goals.
ALT analysis is a methodology for analyzing various types of accelerated life testing data in order to predict failure trends. ALT analysis essentially captures the data obtained through accelerated life tests and, using mathematical techniques, provides critical predictive measures on product reliability.
Why perform ALT analysis?
Just recently, Consumer Reports performed a review on roof shingles. When testing a product whose intended lifespan is 50 years, you can envision why labs such as Consumer Reports need to find a way to test that lifespan in a reasonable time frame – rather than waiting 50 years to see what happens! How do testing labs verify a product’s intended lifespan? Or, how do you, as a product designer, determine with a level of certainty that your product’s lifespan goals will be achieved? That is where accelerated life testing and analysis is vital.
Using this information, you can:
- evaluate product performance trends
- assess the probability of a system operating over a time interval
- analyze the mean life of a system
- predict failure rate
- evaluate how your product will perform under a variety of stress conditions
- determine a warranty period
How do I perform ALT analysis?
The first step in accelerated life testing is to gather data. For example, to test roof shingles, or other products that are exposed to varying weather conditions over a long period of time, a device such as an accelerated weather tester may be used. Weather testing devices can simulate long-term effects of exposure to weather elements such as light, water, and temperature. Gathering data from devices such as this provide a wealth of life data which can then be used for lifetime analysis.
Once a sample set of life data is gathered, ALT analysis can be performed. ALT analysis uses mathematical and statistical techniques to fit the data to a distribution. ALT plots are generated which provide visual assessment of product performance based on the data obtained from accelerated tests. Plots offer insight into your product trend curve and can be enhanced with confidence bounds to delineate boundaries for probability metrics.
Almost all ALT analyses are done using a specific software tool designed for the process. There are other means of performing ALT analysis, but those are extremely limited in comparison to using a software tool. Look for a tool that provides an easy-to-use interface combined with plotting capability that is easy to read and interpret. A web-based package allows you access to your ALT analyses across remote teams or distributed locations. A browser-based package enables you to access your ALT software tool easily from any device using any browser.
As with all Relyence products, Relyence ALT is an integral part of the Relyence platform and is a component of our Relyence Studio integrated tool suite. It exhibits all the unique design elements and powerful capabilities that you expect from the Relyence brand. Relyence ALT is built with today’s technologies in mind, including a full browser-based interface.