For a vague term that runs the gamut as it pertains to products, load sizes, performance, materials, and more, testing can be reduced to three purposes: You test for durability, reliability, and suggested lifetime, no matter your industry.
Essentially, you want an answer to, ‘Does my product or device work as intended?’ That’s an important question that requires a confident ‘Yes’ as opposed to an ‘I think so.’ The consequences of a recall or lawsuit are far too severe to take lightly.
Your business depends on quality testing, and for that, you need a partner. Whether you’re in need of service, a replacement part, rental, or are a startup looking to make a capital investment to pursue a market niche, you should identify the following characteristics in a test chamber manufacturer.
Before you go shopping for a test chamber, first establish the standards to which you’re testing. These will determine the specific test chamber you need. When it comes time to pick up the phone, you’ll also know what you’re looking for. Hopefully, the manufacturer has it in stock and can get it to you in a timely manner.
Inventory goes beyond availability, though. Look at the manufacturer’s site. Do listed models range in size and type—thermal shock, temperature and humidity, and salt spray, to name a few? Does it carry standard and high-performance test chambers? What customization options and upgrades does it have?
Those may not apply to you, but more offerings signal that the manufacturers have a solid team of engineers behind their products, and do well enough in sales to merit a wide selection of chambers.
The history of a company may be less important than the other qualities, but it should be noted. After all, environmental testing has evolved over the years. Think about it: If a company served the automobile industry in the 1950s and 1960s, and is still producing test chambers for electric car testing today, they must have a stellar record and reputation.
The fact is technology changes rapidly, as do testing standards themselves. The best environmental test chamber manufacturers adapt to the times. Think of retrofitting old test chambers with new instrumentation, or pushing for innovation as much as their clients.
Newer is not always better, as the saying goes, and that’s true in an industry that exists solely to ensure quality.
As standards and technologies shift, the definition of customer service shifts, as well. Manufacturers who operate without leveraging all forms of communication—calls, texts, email, instant messaging, and video calls—fall behind. After all, customers may need service, or a quick response, outside of business hours, especially as it pertains to ongoing tests.
Manufacturers should be easy to reach, empathetic to your challenges, and offer genuine advice. For example, they should be the first to tell you when a costly repair is only a short-term fix for a long-term problem. They should also guide your purchasing process. Perhaps you intend on renting instead of buying a test chamber, or you’re wavering on upgrading from a standard model to a high-performance one. In both cases, the best manufacturers walk you through the benefits of each option.
Maintenance & Support
The best test chamber manufacturers maintain communications long after the initial transaction and provide support when needed. Many offer free replacement parts and services in a warranty period following your purchase. Also, look for what kind of troubleshooting is available so you don't have to always rely on an outside service to keep you running and to identify what the issue is before you bring in a service team.
The real difference, though, comes in long-term maintenance plans. It’s essential that you practice preventive quarterly and yearly maintenance to keep your test chamber running. Look for factory service employees as opposed to HVAC technicians. If you can work with manufacturer service for maintenance, it’s an advantage. They know the intricate details of environmental test chambers, which are much more complex than typical HVAC maintenance and repair. Plus, working with factory service helps you cultivate a working relationship that you can turn to when questions or problems arise.
Ideally, the manufacturer has service team members placed around the country. That way, when you’re in need of a repair, they can get to your shop quickly.
Expertise & Innovation
This is the X factor, the quality that can distinguish great test chamber manufacturers from merely good ones. They specialize in innovation and customization. If you have a challenge, they’ll work to find a solution, and if that solution pays dividends, it may become a standard feature on future models—the AESONE CONNECT technology is one such example.
Their expertise extends to their own models, too, retrofitting older test chambers, regardless of manufacturer, with modern instrumentation and fixtures, and providing parts and repairs.
It’s all done for the same reason you prioritize innovation. Just as you look to stay at the forefront of your industry, so, too, should your test chamber manufacturer.
Want to know what the best environmental test chamber manufacturers have to offer? Contact Associated Environmental Systems (AES) and discover how we’ve serviced companies across industries with the latest test chamber technologies and solutions.