Investing in testing
By Jussi Hämäläinen, Hardware Engineer at Danfoss Editron
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and environmental testing are critical aspects of the overall delivery of our drivetrains – without them, we can’t guarantee the quality of our systems to our customers.
Until recently, all these tests were performed outside of the Danfoss Group at external facilities, which created a number of challenges. It was easy for the queue of products that required approving to bottleneck, due to limitations with the testing facilities as well as testing times, which needed to be planned and booked in several months in advance. If problems were found while the tests were taking place, then it could take a few months for the next availability to open up for testing. Additionally, it would be rare that any problems identified could be fixed on the test site, adding further delays as the machine would need to be transported back to our manufacturing plant then again sent to the testing facility once fixed.
We knew we needed to invest in our own EMC and environmental testing facilities to enhance our product quality and support our business growth targets, which is exactly what we’ve done. We’ve invested over €700,000 in an in-house laboratory at our headquarters in Lappeenranta, Finland to fulfill our testing requirements.
In addition to the dedicated EMC and environmental testing chambers, which can perform immunity and electrostatic discharge tests, specific IEC/EN and automotive immunity checks and conductive emissions assessments, we have also installed electronic loads, a high-power DC power source and climatic test chamber. Additionally, a climatic walk-in chamber will be also added to our facility by the end of this year. All of this extra equipment will enable us to provide more versatile testing of our products going forward.
We have already started to see the benefits of having our own testing equipment, especially in our research and development activities. We’ve been able to improve the way our products behave with regards to conductive emissions, while we’ve also proved that we can verify design improvements quicker than when we used external testing services. More benefits will be realized when our new testing laboratory becomes fully operational too. We’ll be able to begin EMC testing in early design phase prototypes and identify any potential problems at an earlier stage when problems are easier to fix than at later stages of product development. Furthermore, our laboratory will play a pivotal role in future research and development projects, as higher levels of product quality can be assured from the beginning of a project. Overall, this is a significant investment and improvement in the quality and reliability of the products we design, manufacture and deliver to customers globally.
I’ve been heavily involved in EMC and environmental testing my entire career, especially during my time with Danfoss Editron. It has been a good way for me to deep dive into the usage, operation and behavior of our EDITRON systems. I’ve long advocated for us to invest in our own testing equipment so that we could perform testing in-house instead of using external facilities. Using external laboratories for testing was both expensive and time-consuming, especially as we have so many systems that require testing as our production levels increase. I’m confident that we have made a decision that will be beneficial to our business as it will create further awareness across the company of the requirements and standards needed to fulfil electric applications. Our new and improved testing facilities and quality inspection capabilities could also motivate new customers to choose to work with Danfoss Editron to electrify their machines as we’ve made testing an easier and faster process.