Quality Q&A : What is life cycle testing and how is it performed?
Written by: Edito Suyom, Laboratory & Testing Supervisor, Pro QC Ningbo Office
There is no single standard applicable to life cycle testing in the sense that life testing is used for a determination to project or establish a product’s longevity before failure and help improve it by identifying the weak points in the product’s design, thereby focusing your improvement efforts only on the areas that need them. In short, life cycle testing relies on specific product engineering design and specifications.
To explain further, say the ON/OFF power switch of a product is required by the standard to pass 50,000 of on/off cycles, but your product is designed and guaranteed only for one year and that certain product is used three times daily. Then, the reference number life cycle should be 365 days X 3 cycles per day which will make 1,095 cycle of ON/OFF of the power switch. Meaning the ON/OFF power switch of a certain product must pass 1,095 on/off cycles. However, in any kind of product or component the given safety specifications must be calculated with added value of an 80% (standard) safety factor.
Therefore, in the example, the actual life cycle test applicable to the safety switch of the product is 365 days X 3cycles/day X 80% = 365 X 3 X 1.8 = 1,971cycles. The ON/OFF power switch must pass the 1,971 life cycles test. If the ON/OFF power switch of the product fails the 1,971-cycle test, then the product did not reach the guaranteed life of one year. It is failure of any part and/or component of the product that will result in the product being inoperative which will determine the end of the life of the product.