I just came across the above video on the Nokia Press website which gives us a walkthrough of the Nokia Test Centers where they subject devices to extreme tests in order to test the durability of the product. Ever wondered how come your Nokia has the reliability you have come to expect from it? Here’s why. Some of their devices may creak a little, but you have got to admit when you think of solidarity and mobile manufacturers, it is Nokia’s name that pops up.
Nokia has eleven such centers in different countries such as Finland, Denmark, Germany, UK, China, Japan, US and Canada which put the devices through the following hell:
1. EVERYDAY USE: We carry our devices around with us everyday and they have to be able to survive the wear and tear this causes.
- When phones are carried in handbags they can be covered in hand lotions, sunscreen, makeup and other substances carried with them, so we test our devices to ensure the design can help protect the exterior and also components within the device.
- Devices are often in bags or pockets with other items like keys or coins, so we place devices in a special “shaker” machine with hard particles to see how resistant they are.
When we carry devices in our back pockets they may bend when we sit down or rub on trouser fibers.
- We simulate these effects with special machines that bend and twist the device, and one that uses a real pair of jeans to test friction and wear and tear.
- Because we take our phones with us everywhere they sometimes get coffee, water or other liquids spilt on them. We test to check that these kind of spills don’t affect the surface of the device and that we can limit the impact on internal components if the liquid gets inside the phone.
2. KEYPADS: People press the main keys on their device an average of 200-300 times every day. To ensure the keypads can respond to this level of use we press the keys up to one million times in the lab.
3. WEATHER CONDITIONS: Our devices are used around the world and need to be able to withstand different weather conditions and temperatures.
- We use special machines to expose them to extreme temperatures from around -40°C to +85°C, helping them to withstand conditions from the cold of the arctic circle to the heat of the Sahara desert.
- We also test for use in tropical and humid parts of the world by placing devices in a special chamber for several weeks where they will experience humidity levels as high as 95%.
- To help protect against damage that could be caused by sun bleaching we use a solar simulator to test paints and finishes.
4. MECHANICS: In its lifetime a phone will be opened and closed many thousands of times so we have to put our hinges, folds, camera shutters, and other mechanics through rigorous force and pressure testing.
5. ROBUSTNESS: We test the structure and strength of devices in several ways, for example:
- We drop the device onto a concrete surface to simulate falling from the height of a shirt pocket to test its resistance.
- To ensure devices can stand up extreme force they are pressed with a steel fixture that applies 100 newtons, the equivalent pressure to two times the maximum clasp force of an average person.
6. RESISTANCE: Many different aspects of the device are tested for resistance.
- Dust resistance is tested by putting the device into a bouncing dust box to see if dust can enter inside
- The wear resistance of labels is tested by multiple rotary and linear wear equipment. This is to make sure labels remain readable and do not come off due to wear and tear
ANALYZING THE TEST RESULTS
- Drop test results are analyzed with a high-speed camera that can take up to 100 000 frames per second, over 3 000 times faster than a normal video camera, allowing frame by frame analysis of test results.
- Analysis with microscopes with 1 000 x (optical) to up to 50 000 x (electron) magnifications are used to see when and where possible micron size solderings may crack.
- 3D X-rays are used to analyze different types of failures, such as device components which may have cracked or broken due to dropping, twisting or bending.
- Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy is a technique used for the elemental analysis of materials, this process uses electrons and x-rays.
After reading all of that and watching the video, if you still want more – then Ewan from Mobile Industry Review has just the dosage for you. Below is 14 minutes of film from the Nokia Handset Test Laboratory in Farnborough, UK.
No wonder my N96 survived a two storey fall!