PCB Environmental Stress Screening

Environmental Stress Screening

Temperature Cycling Machine


Environmental stress screening (ESS) is a process where new or repaired electronic components are placed in a testing chamber and exposed to thermal cycling, vibration, and other environmental stresses. The purpose of ESS is to force the manifestation of latent mechanical defects that result in permanent or catastrophic failure of the component. This testing helps ensure the quality, functionality, and reliability of electronic hardware and components during shipping, storage, and use. PCB environmental stress testing is typically conducted during the design and development stages, and after the components are installed in electronic equipment.

PCB Environmental Stress Testing for Improved Reliability

Environmental stress screenings are designed to test your PCBs and components against the potential rigors of their intended environments, harsh or otherwise. Plasma Ruggedized Solutions uses this technique to measure the long-term reliability of products throughout their working life and to create systems to protect them against harmful environmental factors.

We use a large, in-house, temperature- and humidity-controlled chamber to perform environmental test screenings. Tested components are run through several cycles of rapidly fluctuating temperature and condensing or non-condensing humidity, with dwells at both high and low extremes. This simulates the range of environmental conditions that the tested devices will be subject to, and allows us to determine if our coating solutions have achieved the desired effect that the customer is looking for.

Contact our San Jose or Huntington Beach locations to learn more about how environmental stress screening for electronic components.

PCB Environmental Stress Testing Is Important for Electronic Components

Environmental stress screening lets us make necessary adjustments after testing to maximize the effectiveness of the conformal coating and potting/encapsulation process we’ve applied. It is a highly effective and reliable test, which allows Plasma Ruggedized Solutions to improve our processes continually.

Conducting environmental stress screening is also essential for improved reliability of your electronic equipment and components, and can help improve your production processes and increase yields. PCB environmental stress testing is beneficial for detecting a range of issues including:

  • Expansion and contraction of electronic components, or changes in electrical constants caused by temperature fluctuations
  • Delamination, swelling, embrittlement, leakage or changes in flexibility caused by exposure to humidity
  • Fatigue, loss in mechanical strength, cracking, or displacement of components caused by vibration

Plasma Ruggedized Accelerated Aging Testing for Mechanical Parts

Accelerated aging testing is a process used to simulate the effects of long-term environmental stress on products in a shorter period of time. These tests are typically performed on products that are expected to have a long lifespan, such as electronic devices or medical equipment.

The purpose of accelerated aging testing is to identify any potential failures or weaknesses in the product that may occur over time due to exposure to environmental stressors such as heat, humidity, or vibration. By subjecting the product to accelerated aging testing, Plasma Ruggedized can make design improvements and ensure that your products will withstand long-term use in the real world.

This type of testing can help to reduce the risk of product failure and increases customer satisfaction, making it an important part of the environmental stress screening process.

What Are the Different Types of Environmental Stress Screening?

To detect product defects and improve reliability, electronic components are placed through various temperature, vibration, pressure and flexibility tests. These tests can be performed on electronic components in the development stages or as final testing for assembled electronic equipment. Some of the common types of environmental stress screening for electronic hardware include:

Mechanical Shock Testing

Electronic components are subject to various levels of shock during packaging, shipping and in the application environment. Mechanical shock testing helps determine how well electronic equipment can handle these shocks and any effect it may have on the functionality of the product.

Thermal Shock Testing

Environmental conditions and a product’s operating environment can both affect the functionality of electronic components. During thermal shock testing, electronic hardware is placed in a chamber and exposed to extreme temperature ranges, known as thermal cycling, to determine whether the components can withstand sudden changes in temperature.

Temperature Humidity Testing

Temperature humidity testing involves placing electronic hardware in testing chambers to examine how changes in temperature and humidity influence the functionality of the electronic component. This test is useful for determining how well electronic equipment handles the various environmental conditions it will be exposed to during shipping and storage.

Vibration Testing

Vibration testing involves shaking and vibrating electronic components using various force ratings to test how the product will withstand shipping. Vibration testing is also used to determine fatigue, which directly impacts the life cycle of an electronic component.

Contact Plasma Ruggedized Solutions for PCB Environmental Stress Testing and More

Contact us for more information about our environmental stress screening process and how it can improve your next project.

Plasma Ruggedized Solutions provides several testing and laboratory services including ionic testing, two-dimensional X-ray diffraction, and more to ensure the functionality of your electronic components. We also provide conformal coating services, potting and encapsulation, and more.