Product reliability testing is a must for importers who want to avoid risk…
2020 added considerable strain and difficulty to many importers’ lives, so today, more than ever, it’s so important to implement measures to protect your business against expensive recalls and lawsuits which may occur if your products don’t reach expected reliability, quality, and safety standards. Undertaking thorough product reliability testing during the development and manufacturing stages is one such way to nip any potential issues in the bud at a very early stage.
So, what is reliability testing, who needs it, what kinds of tests may be conducted, and what does it cost? We’ll be answering all of these questions and more in this episode of the podcast, and, hopefully, you’ll share our opinion that skipping it just doesn’t make sense!
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🎧 Why Do Importers Need Product Reliability Testing? 🎧
Here’s a summary of key sections of this episode:
✅ What is product reliability as a concept?
✅ How do unreliable products affect importers? The results can range from getting poor online reviews to being sued in court and paying heavy damages.
✅ What typically causes reliability issues in a new product? The causes of reliability issues can usually be broken down into 2 categories:
- Design: Poor design is usually the top cause of reliability problems later on.
- Manufacturing: Mistakes from component manufacturers or manufacturing at the main assembly site can also cause reliability issues.
✅ How easy it is for consumers to leave bad reviews on the internet. Hence the need to be extra careful about only selling reliable products.
✅ Understanding safety standards and brainstorming all possible product problems that could cause injury etc to consumers during development.
✅ Do 3rd party testing companies help importers find and eliminate risks they may not have thought of? The onus is on the importer to be the ‘expert’ about their product and consumers, but, if we take my company Sofeast as an example, we will usually discuss the relevant regulations and potential risks with a customer who is developing a new product where needed, challenge their design and prototypes to assure that they’re going in the right direction for their goals for the product, and also often perform risk analysis and a design FMEA, too.
✅ How to confirm the performance of and pushing the limits of the product during development. Whatever fails first is often the main flaw in the design if there is one, and so an area of special interest when testing and developing.
✅ Reliability and compliance testing during mass production. A pilot run is very helpful because samples from it can be tested to check both the reliability and the manufacturing process is solid before mass production begins and a large number of products have been made.
✅ Do some companies still take the risk of not performing reliability testing? Some less experienced importers trust their manufacturer blindly, but this is risky in China.
✅ A summary of the many different types of reliability testing that may be conducted.
- For electronics: Cycling the product from low to high temperature, humidity testing, salt spray testing on exposed metals, mechanical tests like drop and vibration tests, flexing cables, lifecycle testing (HALT), and more.
- Packaging reliability testing is also a consideration, as it is often a part of the product offering these days and will need to reliably protect your product and its retail packaging during transit and storage. So for this, there will be drop tests, vibration tests, atmospheric testing, and compression testing, and more.
- Batteries, in particular, will have many types of tests, such as charge/discharge cycling, drop tests, thermal tests, and more.
✅ Examples of real product disasters caught by reliability testing. Products that catch fire (!) are a constant threat and something seen a number of times, but also products which instantly break, scratch or corrode immediately, and more!
✅ The link between reliability, quality, and safety, and how they overlap. If importers get reliability during development and quality during production right, safety issues are unlikely.
✅ How much does product reliability testing cost? Product reliability testing can range between $300-3,000 for most products not produced in massive quantities.
Even more content about product, battery, and packaging reliability testing…
- Product Reliability Testing | 7 FAQs – this is a further introduction to the topic.
- Reliability Testing Plan For A Home Appliance (an Electronic Hairbrush) in China [Example] – this shows you a real example of a testing plan for a pretty common electronic product.
- Why NOT to skip reliability testing on electronic products from China – a cautionary post showing what can go wrong and how to avoid issues.
- We discussed product packaging, so learn more about common packaging types and features in this guide.
- Our guide on battery choice for importers of electronics also covers battery testing in some detail, and you can read that here.
- Watch our playlist of videos on battery testing and quality here.
- Also, at Sofeast, we provide product reliability testing (and packaging testing) for our customers, too, so take a look and get a quotation for your project.
What sort of product reliability testing do you currently perform?
Let us know your experiences by leaving a comment, please.
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