The decision to finding the right vibration test lab to perform your vibration tests shouldn’t be rushed. It requires conducting thoroughly research and asking questions regarding any vibration test lab you are considering. After all, you don’t want to have to repeat the tests or have your product development behind schedule.
An ideal vibration test lab should have high level of expertise and knowledge of the vibration theory, fixture design, fixture qualification, skilled engineers who operates the vibration test equipment and generate reports.
Here are major crucial factors you should consider when choosing a vibration testing laboratory
Expertise & Capability
Probably the most important factor when considering a testing laboratory is their expertise and capability to expertly and accurately test your product.
How would you tell? talk to their main point of contact and ask in-depth technical questions. Many labs will allow you to speak directly with the test engineer who would be assigned specifically to handle your project.
Do you find him/her knowledgeable? Helpful? If Yes, then you’re off to a good start.
Another important factor you must consider is the vibration test lab’s turnaround time, Will they meet your deadline? If you’re on a tight schedule, the turnaround time on testing is of great importance.
Ask potential vibration testing laboratories for estimates on their turnaround time and in addition to this, you need to ensure that the vibration test lab’s availability to perform the test matches with your desired deadline.
Available Adhoc Services
In addition to finding a capable vibration test lab, it is be advisable to think ahead about unforeseen testing requirements which you may need and choose a laboratory that could easily facilitate them for you.
A the end of the day if your product doesn’t pass the test, most labs simply give you a pass/fail report and send you on your way, while other would offer additional services and recommendations which can help you solve emerging issues as they occur.
Some labs also offer proactive services to help their clients before testing begins by reviewing the design for regulatory and reliability compliance standards.
For instance, At Paragon Systems Testing, we help to design, build and qualification vibration test fixtures before conducting your vibration test. Research as shown that vibration fixtures have a significant impact on the reliability of your test results because a poorly designed fixture may either amplify or damping resonance leading to inaccuracy of test results.
It’s logical to work with a vibration test lab that can handle your potential future projects in other areas. They become your one stop service center and it’s more convenient working with the same lab on multiple or varied projects.
You’re in their system; they know you and your requirements, and you know them and how they work. It’s an all-around win-win.
During your interactions, has the lab been quick to respond to you and your questions? Have they tried to get accurate information for you? Find a laboratory you feel comfortable engaging with and who you feel will be responsive to you.
The test sample size and a couple of things may affect your location radius. If you’re a hands-on person and would like to hand-deliver your product to be tested or if you’d like to be present during testing (if the lab allows it), you’ll want to choose a local lab.
But if you’re planning on shipping your product then feel free to make a nationwide or worldwide search.
Lab Accreditations and Certification
One of the more important factors to consider when choosing a vibration test laboratory is third-party accreditation which ensures credibility.
It’s important to work with a lab that has been accredited by a third party organizations, such as A2LA (American Association for Laboratory Accreditation) or NVLAP (National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program).
These parties provide third-party accreditation in response to Congressional mandates, administrative actions by the Federal Government, and/or requests from private-sector organizations, government agencies and other governing bodies.
By choosing an accredited lab, your results will be widely accepted.
Cost is an important factor which drives our decision, but don’t let it be your ultimate deciding factor. You can negotiate with the vibration test lab for discounts in case of continuous or large volume testing, but keep in mind that the cheapest option isn’t always the best.
A lab’s expertise, time to market and additional services will save you not only time and be more convenient, but also will potentially save you money with faster turnaround time and having things done right the first time.
Results and Reports Presentation
Lastly, before making your decision, determine how the laboratory reports their findings to you. Some labs deliver only the energy generated from the vibration shaker, which very often is not the energy that is introduced into your product.
Secondly, the energy introduced into the product sometimes is not the same as the energy monitored from the product. It is always best to have the laboratory report all of the data above so you can evaluate the results properly.