What is High Performance Thermal Testing?

I am sure there are quite a few different answers to that question depending on what you are trying to accomplish.


What is your idea of high performance thermal test?




Here is my Top Ten List:


°   Temperature Accuracy: For thermal environmental simulation or temperature cycling, either from an existing requirement or from developing a deeper understanding of the thermal properties of your system, you need to know that your readings and assumptions are correct to make a meaningful test.  Good calibration and multiple sensing points help to better understand what you are working with and the best methods for screening of your electronic device under test.


°   Speed: For good or bad, economics drives things and usually the quicker appropriate testing can be done the better.  Increasing throughput is good within the limits that the device can withstand is the goal.


°    Low Initial and Ongoing Cost: Accurately calculating both initial and ongoing costs can seem foreboding but often can be determined with reasonable accuracy and minimal assumptions. A surprising array of variables are in play  however, often some good estimates can be made.  Expendable coolant cost and faster test times versus electricity plus the higher maintenance of a refrigeration compressor can be estimated.


°    Appropriate Automation and Process Verifications as required: A system that automates tests and provides convenient verification by user, USB removable memory log or remote communication makes testing more productive.


°    The Temperature Chamber or Platform is a good fit for the product: Clearly some products are best tested on a thermal platform (coldplate) and some better in a temperature chamber.  Appropriate size of chamber can increase speed accuracy and otherwise optimize the process. If the product is suitable for test on a thermal platform, that often will provide the optimal results.


°    Ease of Use: Portability / Convenience of Operation: In some case portability, co-location or benchtop operation of thermal test gear can provide a significant efficiency advantage


°    Special Utilities / Services required: Electrical Service, LN/ Liquid CO2, ventilation: Any special services required are extra costs, some are one-time and some are ongoing that play into the total cost/performance equation.


°    Lab Space Required: Lab space is a valuable commodity, thermal testing gear that uses less space is better.


°    Reliability / Support: Clearly nobody wants to sit around with broken equipment when there is testing that needs to be done, reliable and easily serviced equipment is a must.


°    Safety: I needed 10 items to round out the list so it’s always a good idea to keep safety in mind.  With cash being tight, many people choose modifying/repurposing or pushing older worn out systems back into service, we can’t ever forget safety so if repurposing always think through and test for safe operation with a few unexpected circumstances before calling it good.




What does high performance temperature testing mean to you?


I am sure many different things to different people.


Let me know what it means to you.

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