The Importance of Validation Testing During Product Design

Posted on 9/10/18 1:12 PM


Testing is a crucial element during product development of an electrical product—especially for companies choosing to design and build products for global markets. It is essential to know that the product will operate correctly in the country it will be used in.

Testing helps to give a competitive edge and can help to enhance customer relations. “The intended end use and destination of the product needs to be considered. The designer needs to keep in mind which safety standards need to be met per the country,” explained Ron Barnett, Product Development Manager at Interpower. “Validation testing throughout the design phase helps to verify whether a product will work in a specific country.”

Product Design

The following considerations are necessary when designing for a global market.

Plug and Socket Patterns

Currently, there are numerous plug and socket patterns used worldwide. Using the correct plug and socket pattern for the country of export is important, as is equipping the product with the correct cable and connector (if applicable). By doing so, this helps to ensure the customer will not have to modify the product before use and will be able to use it safely.

Voltages and Frequencies

Voltages and frequencies vary around the world, so determine what is correct for the product’s end destination.

Safety Standards

Determine at the beginning what is needed to ensure that the product meets all applicable safety standards of the country where the product will be exported to.

Validation Testing

Testing during the design phase helps to ensure the product will work when it reaches the global customer. The product should be thoroughly tested at the appropriate voltage and frequency, including a suggested 24-hour burn-in test before shipment.  This allows testing of the equipment in the same manner that the global customer will use it.

By testing during the design process, the manufacturer can potentially save costly modifications that may occur after the product is in production, avoid possible failures or repairs, and hopefully avoid returns because the product doesn’t work properly in that country. “Because validation testing helps to ensure that the product meets the intended needs of the end use customer, an International Socket Strip offered by Interpower can be used to test or burn-in electrical and electronic equipment with the power cords or cord sets that will be exported globally,” Ron said.

To test a product, the correct power cord needs to be installed into the product and connected to the proper socket. “The International Socket Strip enables designers to perform internal testing in a simplified manner using a single power strip which includes multiple country-specific sockets. This eliminates the need for multiple socket strips to perform in-house testing,” Ron said. “It should be noted that the International Socket Strip does not change voltage or frequency. 

The International Socket Strip can be connected to a test bench or burn-in rack that has a source of 50Hz or 60Hz to deliver power to some of the most commonly used worldwide sockets. (If a source of 50Hz or 60Hz is not available, this is an example of when the International Socket Strip and the International Power Source can work together.) Interpower offers three different models of the International Socket Strip. Each model incorporates the following sockets: Continental Europe (16A), Denmark (16A), Italy (10A), India/South Africa (15A), Switzerland (10A), Australia (10A), and United Kingdom (13A). One of the models also includes a NEMA 5-15 socket.

Additional Resources

See the complete line of International Socket Strips, along with the Featured Product page and “More Information on Testing.”

Interpower offers free technical support. For further assistance, please see Interpower’s contact information below.

Topics: testing, designing for export, international socket strips

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