Environmental exposures testing to the effects of light, heat and moisture are mostly performed in specialized laboratory exposure test instruments based on xenon-arc lamp technology. With the proper selection of optical filters, test specimens may be exposed to artificial full-spectrum direct sunlight, sunlight as filtered through window glass or automotive glazing, or to artificial indoor lighting, as appropriate. Temperatures, including specimen test surface temperature and moisture, as relative humidity or water sprays, provide complete simulation of specific outdoor, indoor, automotive interior, or other climatic conditions. These durability tests address the longer-term material degradation from exposure to in-service environmental stresses and are different from many of the accelerated reliability and “torture tests” that are used.
The majority of smaller consumer electronic devices and components, including material test plaques and coupons, or sections cut from larger products, are mostly exposed for lightfastness and weather durability in Atlas Ci-Series xenon arc
Weather-Ometers. These are the instruments most likely to be found in, or specified by, global consumer electronic OEM R&D and supply chain quality labs. Xenotest series instruments may also be used, especially for smaller material test coupons and plaques. Both Ci-Series and Xenotest
instruments feature rotating specimen racks which move test specimens through the heat/light/moisture environment to provide the high uniformity of exposure required for product acceptance tests.
The SUNTEST XXL+
flatbed model is useful for testing products that have more 3D dimensionality than can be accommodated in the rotating rack instruments. The UVTest
is a fluorescent sunlamp device with or without condensation or water sprays, which is useful for testing thin, flat samples which are known to be sensitive only to the lower portion of the solar UV spectrum; otherwise full-spectrum xenon arc technology is recommended, especially for predicting color and appearance change.
There currently are no international test standards specifically for consumer electronics, however several major global OEMs have established their own test criteria. While some general test standards, such as those for plastics and coatings, for example, can be used, testing of electronic products (which may be operating) often requires special conditions. Atlas has created a series of recommended test parameters for various circumstances which may be used or modified as needed.
Metallic components such as connectors, and coatings on metal, are tested for durability in Atlas SF, BCX
series corrosion test chambers. Corrosion testing services are available in Atlas’ Chicago area laboratory.
Outdoor exposure testing in various locations, particularly for permanent outdoor electronic products, such as entertainment systems, can also be performed at Atlas outdoor exposure test sites in subtropical Miami or the Sonoran Desert in Arizona (US) or any of our more than 20 sites in our Worldwide Exposure Network. Some materials can also be exposed using concentrated natural sunlight in EMMA/EMMAQUA
accelerated outdoor weathering devices.
Laboratory exposure testing of large devices can be performed in large solar/environmental chambers at Atlas’ DSET Laboratories Arizona facility, and both xenon arc and larger product solar/environmental chamber testing is available at Atlas’ Chicago (US) area Germany commercial labs.
Through proper testing, risk can be avoided.