Designing the Right Inspection Protocol for Manual Testing of Electronic Products
The requirement for shorter turnaround times (TAT) when developing inspection protocols has led to some developers relying upon previous experience when designing their manual tests.
This practice comes with the inherent risk that the inspection/test protocol will not be synchronized with current market conditions.
Markets are dynamic, and no more so than in the electrical and electronic (EE) product market. What is applicable during the timeframe of when one product is being created and marketed may not be relevant when a new product is developed. Relying on previous experience leaves the manufacturer open to the risk of using out-of-date inspection and testing protocols on their latest products.
To ameliorate this situation, manufacturers should design their testing and inspection protocols using objective methodologies based upon the expected behavior of the consumer. These will relate to how a product is commonly handled and used by current consumers, as opposed to the way a previous generation may have interacted with an earlier generation of an EE product. By using this type of approach, the manufacturer can determine a testing and inspection process that objectively represents the current expectations of the consumer.
Common objective methodologies utilized to support the development of inspection/testing protocols are:
- Behavioral studies of consumer habits
- Market research of subject matters
Example: The Remote Control
When testing the reliability of a remote control, it is common to perform a bare unit drop test as part of the inspection protocol. The designer of the protocol can use market research to determine the height of the bare unit drop test to ensure it is relevant to the current average adult’s height. Behavioral studies of consumers will also show you that children may use the remote whilst in their parent’s arms – thereby increasing the number of potential drops and the height from which it is dropped.
Studies have also shown that rounded remote controls are more liable to fall off a table than a flat-bottomed remote. The designer of the inspection protocol should therefore factor this into their determination, along with the average height of tables available on the market. This last piece of data can be found through market research.
Consumer behavior studies will also demonstrate to manufacturers that different forms of remote may require different tests. For example, it would be considered an abuse test to throw a TV remote control two meters away to the floor, but it may be considered a normal usage reliability test for a sports game remote control. For both products the test standard and procedure are similar, but the criteria determining whether it passes or fails will be very different in QAQC practice.
To learn more about how SGS can help you design the right manual testing inspection protocol for your product, please visit SGS Electrical and Electronics.
For more information, please contact:
Integrated Quality Solutions Manager
t: 770 570 1807
m: 404 977 7827