Consumer Electronics

  • Overview +

    The lightfastness and weather durability testing of consumer electronic products and components is rapidly growing. More types and greater numbers of products are mobile and subject to exposure to various sources of light, such as direct sunlight, and different climatic conditions. Consumer Electronics OEMs are concerned with maintaining their brand image and meeting customer expectations for quality. This includes not only functional performance, which can be negatively influenced by the environment, but also color and appearance as well as mechanical and physical properties. Therefore, major OEMs require environmental durability lightfastness or weathering qualification testing on new materials and designs, and acceptance testing throughout their supply chains during the product lifecycle.

    This type of durability testing is separate from both operational and “torture testing” under various conditions, such as drop tests at freezing temperatures. Rather, environmental durability testing helps identify materials issues of premature wear-out under expected use conditions, as well supply chain issues during the production lifecycle. Several major consumer electronic companies now require lightfastness/weather durability testing of materials and product components across their global supply chains.

    Several levels of consumer electronic products and testing requirements can be envisioned, each with their own unique testing solution:
    • Products intended primarily for indoor use, such as VR headsets and gaming consoles
    • Devices which may see outdoor exposure under normally dry conditions, such as smartphones
    • Items which are used mostly outdoors and may get wet, such as fitness trackers, action cameras and UAVs
    • Products intended for continuous outdoor exposure, such as security cameras and outdoor entertainment systems
    • Devices which may be exposed full or part time in special environments such as automotive interior.

    Some issues which can be avoided include:
    • Yellowing, cracking, fading of plastic, rubber and elastomer parts
    • Peeling, delamination, appearance changes of decorative and functional coatings
    • Photodegradation of LCD and OLED display organic chemical pixel elements
    • Corrosion of metals such as electrical connectors
    • Solar heat load effects on active electronics and form-fit-function characteristics

    Lastly, a special note regarding OLED displays and lighting, particularly the AMOLED displays used in smart phones. Due to the relatively poor yield and batch variability of current materials and production techniques, the use of Atlas Ci-Series xenon arc lamp instruments is pervasive within both OLED R&D and manufacturing facilities for production lot acceptance.

  • Atlas Solutions +

    Environmental exposures testing to the effects of light, heat and moisture are mostly performed in specialized laboratory exposure test instruments based on xenon-arc lamp technology. With the proper selection of optical filters, test specimens may be exposed to artificial full-spectrum direct sunlight, sunlight as filtered through window glass or automotive glazing, or to artificial indoor lighting, as appropriate. Temperatures, including specimen test surface temperature and moisture, as relative humidity or water sprays, provide complete simulation of specific outdoor, indoor, automotive interior, or other climatic conditions. These durability tests address the longer-term material degradation from exposure to in-service environmental stresses and are different from many of the accelerated reliability and “torture tests” that are used.

    The majority of smaller consumer electronic devices and components, including material test plaques and coupons, or sections cut from larger products, are mostly exposed for lightfastness and weather durability in Atlas Ci-Series xenon arc Weather-Ometers. These are the instruments most likely to be found in, or specified by, global consumer electronic OEM R&D and supply chain quality labs. Xenotest series instruments may also be used, especially for smaller material test coupons and plaques. Both Ci-Series and Xenotest instruments feature rotating specimen racks which move test specimens through the heat/light/moisture environment to provide the high uniformity of exposure required for product acceptance tests.

    The SUNTEST XXL+ flatbed model is useful for testing products that have more 3D dimensionality than can be accommodated in the rotating rack instruments. The UVTest is a fluorescent sunlamp device with or without condensation or water sprays, which is useful for testing thin, flat samples which are known to be sensitive only to the lower portion of the solar UV spectrum; otherwise full-spectrum xenon arc technology is recommended, especially for predicting color and appearance change.

    There currently are no international test standards specifically for consumer electronics, however several major global OEMs have established their own test criteria. While some general test standards, such as those for plastics and coatings, for example, can be used, testing of electronic products (which may be operating) often requires special conditions. Atlas has created a series of recommended test parameters for various circumstances which may be used or modified as needed.

    Metallic components such as connectors, and coatings on metal, are tested for durability in Atlas SF, BCX and CCX series corrosion test chambers. Corrosion testing services are available in Atlas’ Chicago area laboratory.

    Outdoor exposure testing in various locations, particularly for permanent outdoor electronic products, such as entertainment systems, can also be performed at Atlas outdoor exposure test sites in subtropical Miami or the Sonoran Desert in Arizona (US) or any of our more than 20 sites in our Worldwide Exposure Network. Some materials can also be exposed using concentrated natural sunlight in EMMA/EMMAQUA accelerated outdoor weathering devices.

    Laboratory exposure testing of large devices can be performed in large solar/environmental chambers at Atlas’ DSET Laboratories Arizona facility, and both xenon arc and larger product solar/environmental chamber testing is available at Atlas’ Chicago (US) area Germany commercial labs. Through proper testing, risk can be avoided.

  • Testing Standards +

    A variety of general international standard test methods are available for testing consumer electronics materials and products. Some are general methods while others are more specific to materials such as coatings or plastics. In addition, Atlas has developed a set of specific test recommendations which are more optimized for typical consumer electronics in-use service conditions. The following is a partial listing only of several common international test methods which may be applicable. Please consult Atlas for the specific requirements of a test method, or for recommendations for your specific needs.

    • ASTM B117 Standard Practice for Operating Salt Spray (Fog) Apparatus
    • ASTM D1435 Outdoor Weathering of Plastics
    • ASTM D4329 Operating Light- and Water-Exposure Apparatus (Fluorescent UV Condensation Type) for Exposure of Plastics
    • ASTM G85 Standard Practice for Modified Salt Spray (Fog) Testing
    • ASTM D4364 Performing Accelerated Outdoor Weathering of Plastics Using Concentrated Sunlight
    • ASTM G7 Atmospheric Environmental Exposure Testing of Nonmetallic Materials 1
    • ASTM G90 Performing Accelerated Outdoor Weathering of Nonmetallic Materials Using Concentrated Natural Sunlight
    • ASTM G151 Exposing Non-Metallic Materials in Accelerated Test Devices That Use Laboratory Light Sources
    • ASTM G152 Operating Open Flame Carbon-Arc Light Apparatus for Exposure of Nonmetallic Materials
    • ASTM G153 Operating Enclosed Carbon-Arc Light Apparatus for Exposure of Nonmetallic Materials
    • ASTM G154 Operating Fluorescent Light Apparatus of UV Exposure of Nonmetallic Materials
    • ASTM G155 Operating Xenon-Arc Light Apparatus for Exposure of Nonmetallic Materials
    • ASTM D1014 Conducting Exterior Exposure Tests of Paints on Steel
    • ASTM D5894 Standard Practice for Cyclic Salt Fog/UV Exposure of Painted Metal, (Alternating Exposures in a Fog/Dry Cabinet and a UV/Condensation Cabinet)
    • ASTM D6695 Standard Practice for Xenon-Arc Exposures of Paint and Related Coatings
    • ISO 11341 Paints and Varnishes - Artificial Weathering and Exposure to Artificial Radiation - Exposure to Filtered Xenon-Arc Radiation
    • ISO 11997-2 Paints and varnishes - Determination of resistance to cyclic corrosion conditions - Part 2: Wet (salt fog)/dry/humidity/UV light
    • ISO 16474-1 Paints and varnishes - Methods of exposure to laboratory light sources - Part 1: General guidance
    • ISO 16474-2 Paints and varnishes - Methods of exposure to laboratory light sources - Part 2: Xenon-arc lamps
    • ISO 16474-3 Paints and varnishes - Methods of exposure to laboratory light sources - Part 3: Fluorescent UV lamps
    • ISO 2810 Paint and Varnishes - Notes for Guidance on the Conduct of Natural Weathering Tests
    • ISO 4892-2 Exposure to Laboratory Light Sources – Xenon-arc Lamps
    • ISO 4892-3 Exposure to Laboratory Light Sources – Fluorescent UV Lamps
    • ISO 4892-4 Exposure to Laboratory Light Sources – Open Flame carbon-arc Lamps
    • ISO 877-1 Plastics-Methods of Exposure to Direct Weathering, to Weathering Using Glass-Filtered Daylight, and to Intensified Weathering by Daylight Using Fresnel Reflector
    • ISO 877-2 Direct weathering and exposure behind window glass
    • ISO 877-3 Intensified weathering using concentrated solar radiation
    • ISO 9227 Corrosion tests in artificial atmospheres — Salt spray tests
  • Education and Training +

  • Downloads +

  • Videos +

  • Recorded Online Seminars +

    Consumer Electronics - Photostability and Weatherability Testing - Atlas Online Seminar