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Guide To Environmental Testing & How To Choose The Correct Test Chamber

An in-depth look at the benefits of environmental testing and how to choose the best chamber for your application. 
environmental test chamber

In manufacturing, product quality is paramount. The consequences of a defect can be wide-ranging, from lost sales to costly product recalls. There’s also the opportunity cost of spending time rectifying the situation. Integrating environmental testing into your product development and manufacturing processes is a great way to avoid the financial and reputational hit of premature failure.

At Weiss Technik, we help support our customers in their testing efforts to ensure items brought to market are both safe and reliable. Here’s an in-depth look at the benefits of environmental testing and how to choose the best chamber for your application. 

Environmental Testing Explained

Environmental chambers are used during design or production to simulate the diverse climatic conditions and mechanical stresses that items may be exposed to throughout their lifetime. Subjecting products, materials, parts, assemblies to environmental conditions can help identify design weaknesses and set expectations.

Benefits Of Utilizing Environmental Chambers

Using environmental chambers can help companies understand how products will perform in the real world before bringing them to market. This provides a variety of benefits. Common types of tests performed include:

  • Catches Defects Early
  • Improves Product Reliability
  • Confirms Product Safety
  • Reduces Risks To Users
  • Determines Product Longevity
  • Lowers Company Liability
  • Set Warranty Periods

Additionally, it’s used to demonstrate compliance with industry standards and government regulations. Proving that parts or assemblies can withstand operating conditions goes a long way to building trust with customers.

How Does Environmental Testing Work?

environmental testing

Environmental testing is performed with a variety of different types of test chambers. Specific designs vary by application, but they’re typically an enclosed space fitted with equipment needed to create unique conditions. As a result, users can run controlled tests.

Sizes of these environmental test chambers vary from small chambers to spaces large enough for full vehicle testing. Common styles include:

  • Benchtop 
  • Reach-In 
  • Stackable
  • Walk-In
  • Drive-In

Typical Conditions Tested And Their Effects 

Generally speaking, environmental tests demonstrate products have the build quality to work perfectly, regardless of the operating conditions. Test chambers are used for different types of tests simulate a variety of test conditions for several different types of testing needs, which can include: 

  • Highly Accelerated Life Testing, or HALT Testing
  • Highly Accelerated Stress Testing, or HASS
  • Life Testing
  • Production Monitoring 
  • Shock Testing
  • Vacuum Testing
  • Altitude Testing
  • Vibration Testing 
  • Standards Compliance Testing 
  • Temperature Testing
  • Humidity Testing 
  • Thermal Shock Testing
  • Electromagnetic Radiation Testing 
  • Low Pressure Testing 
  • Weathering Testing
  • Corrosion Testing
  • Condensation Testing 
  • Salt-Spray Testing
  • Ingress Protection Testing
  • Dust Protection Testing
  • Water Protection Testing
  • Radio Frequency Shielding Testing

Test chambers can be designed to simulate one or multiple environmental conditions simultaneously, which can improve efficiency. When properly maintained, they can remain operational for twenty years or more.

How Are Test Chambers Designed?

The design and functionality of an environmental test chamber hinges upon what it will test. Some features include: 

  • Glass Windows
  • Steel Doors
  • Heating Systems
  • Cooling Systems
  • Humidification Systems
  • Air Flow 
  • Vacuum Systems
  • Explosion-Proofing
  • Access Ports 
  • Shelving or racks

Choosing The Correct Test Chamber 

When it comes to environmental examinations, selecting the right test chamber can be challenging. The devices under test and the types of tests you’re looking to perform are essential for finding the best test chamber. Other test chamber considerations include: 

  • Capabilities
  • Interfaces
  • Controls
  • Budget
  • Safety Features 
  • Maintenance Needs 

To start, you should identify your test requirements. Do specific industry standards or governmental regulations need to be met? 

Second, determine the size and density of the object under test. Is a compact benchtop, walk-in, or floor-standing best for your application? When it comes to test chamber size, don’t just consider the test chamber itself. The external dimensions need to fit in the space available at your laboratory or facility.

Next, you should weigh the power requirements. The power with which a test chamber operates indicates how quickly desired environmental conditions are reached. 

About Weiss Technik

Weiss Technik is one of the most innovative and significant manufacturers of environmental simulation systems. They are the market leader and one of the most innovative manufacturers of environmental simulation systems. With these testing systems, they can simulate all climatic conditions around the globe and beyond, under accelerated conditions. Whether temperature, climate, corrosion, dust or combined shock testing: Weiss Technik has the proper solution. They supply systems in all sizes, from standard versions up to customized, process-integrated facilities – for high reproducibility and precise test results.

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Natalie Myers

Inside Sales Administration

Natalie Myers joined Vic Myers Associates in September 2021 and is excited to be part of the team. She received her bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix and prior to her position as Inside Sales Administration she worked in the Hospitality Industry for over 15 years as a Senior Sales Administrator. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, family and friends along with watching sporting events, traveling, hiking and cheering on her daughter in dance and basketball! Natalie is located in our Arizona office.

KAREN M. ROSS

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Cell Phone: 505-720-9123
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Karen has been a part of Vic Myers Associates team since February 2023. Prior to her position as People and Culture Specialist, she worked in the Science & Technology field as an HR Manager & Project Lead for SAIC and LANL. In the short time with VMA she has learned a lot and looks forward to knowing our business even better in support of all of our employees. She values her church community, her two sons who happen to be engineers, volunteering, and golf. Karen is located in our Albuquerque, NM office.

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Felecia Stivers, a native of Rockford, IL, now excels as a Field Sales Engineer at VMA in our Arizona office. Holding a BSEE from Arizona State University, she draws from her extensive background at Medtronic, Orbital Sciences, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman.

Specializing in high-reliability applications, Felecia stands out for her proficiency in relationship-building and innovative problem-solving. Whether contributing to medical devices or playing a vital role in rocket launches, her work has had a tangible impact on saving lives and safeguarding the nation.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Felecia enjoys time with her two teenagers, finds joy in travel, and actively engages with her local church. Driven by a passion for helping customers navigate cutting-edge technology, she is committed to delivering dependable solutions in fast-changing environments.

TAYLOR GAUNTT

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Taylor is a Texas native, and grew up in the small town of Boerne, Texas.  He attended Texas A&M University, where earned his bachelor’s degree in Engineering.  After college he was recruited by a Manufacturer’s Rep Firm, where he spent the first 7 years of his career. Initially hired on as an inside salesperson, Taylor quickly accelerated within the organization and expanded into various other roles such as Distribution Manager, and Field Sales Engineer.  Taylor then spent the following 7 years working for an electronic component distributor named Electro Enterprises that almost exclusively supported the mil/aero market.

Taylor worked as a Field Sales Engineer supporting the Texas, Utah and New Mexico territory, Product Manager, as well as Director or Business Development where he managed a team of 10 Field Sales Professionals across the entire United States.  Gathering from his previous experiences, Taylor has now taken on the role of Field Sales Engineer with Vic Myers supporting the Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas territory.  Outside of the office you will usually find Taylor either spending time with his wife and two young children, or out on the lake bass fishing.

RICHARD MENDEZ

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Richard was born and raised in Arizona. Attended Arizona State University with a focus in Mechanical Engineering and then fell into Technical Project Management. After 12 years of managing large budget projects spanning system integrations and upgrades, he transitioned into the role of Field Sales Engineer with VMA.

Richard has a deep passion for building relationships with his clients and principals, and supporting them to problem solve and develop innovative solutions. Outside of the office, Richard can be found volunteering as a mentor and coach of high school students at his church, running and hiking the extensive trails of Arizona, and spending time with his wife, 2 boys, 2 girls, and 2 grandkids. Richard is located in our Arizona office.

TARIN SCHONCHECK

Sales Administration

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Email: tarins@vicmyers.com

Tarin was born and raised in Wisconsin, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Prior to Vic Myers she worked in the hospitality industry 20+ years as a Sales Analyst/Administrator.

In her spare time, Tarin enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to historical sites throughout the United States, reading, going to movies and concerts. On the weekends you will find Tarin at her nephews’ band concerts and baseball games. In addition, music and dance have been a part of her life with musical contrasting influences ranging from Prince to Olivia Newton-John.  Tarin is located in our Arizona office.