LifeTest Software Q&A: A Data-Driven Partnership

3 minute read

From telecommunications companies with robust networks of base station amplifiers to cutting-edge companies testing semiconductor technology boundaries, performing best-in-class life testing across your device portfolio is a crucial component of long-term sustainability and efficacy of service life and maintenance. Accel-RF's turnkey Automated Accelerated Reliability Test Stations (AARTS) are built to handle various device types.

AARTS RF-HTOL can test devices under RF, DC, and thermal stimulus. The AARTS DC-HTOL is designed to test with DC stimulus and is equipped with maximum channel density. And our mm-Wave AARTS System is specifically designed for telecommunications equipment. While all of these solutions vary in hardware components, they share one thing in common — the industry-standard LifeTest software powers them.

So, what is LifeTest? How does it help you monitor device performance? And why do all of our turnkey AARTS systems rely on LifeTest software?

What is LifeTest?

LifeTest is Accel-RF's accelerated life testing software solution. In today's ecosystem, companies must regularly measure their products, from discrete HBT devices to multi-stage GaN MMICs, to quantify reliability. On the hardware side, AARTS lets you test under a variety of stimulus conditions (e.g., power, temperature, etc.) 

LifeTest is the software that facilitates these long-term tests for viability. 

From the European Space Agency to The Microsystems Technology Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, public and private entities worldwide rely on LifeTest to garner valuable insights into their hardware components.

There are two primary components to LifeTest:

  1. Data acquisition
  2. Data analysis

LifeTest's Data Acquisition Capabilities

LifeTest has deep integrations with our best-in-class AARTS systems. Configurations made on LifeTest control hardware parameters. So, LifeTest is receiving data directly from AARTS systems, and it's using software parameters to control hardware functionality during tests. For example, when you run RF accelerated life testing on a device to predict the expected product lifetime, you initially define the failure criteria, data storage interval, storage folder, etc. You then set RF, DC, and temperature targets, create stress temperature targets and configure temp stability criteria. These configurations are done through the LifeTest monitor, and LifeTest will communicate values to the hardware to control each specific criterion.

LifeTest Analyze Folder ResultsLifeTest Analyze Folder Results

LifeTest's Data Analysis Capabilities

LifeTest also has data analysis capabilities. All of that rich data generated from stress tests is ingested by the software and extrapolated for value. Over time, you can start to get an accurate picture of the critical reliability parameters for your technology, including mean time to failure (MTTF), activation energy (Ea), and failure rate. You can extract this data for graphs, spreadsheets, or any visual system you need, and then leverage that analyzed data to make informed decisions regarding your device design and fabrication.

What Accel-RF Equipment Comes with LifeTest?

Currently, all of our AARTS systems are equipped with LifeTest, including:

Our benchtop test platforms are also compatible with LifeTest AARTS systems, including:

Does LifeTest Create a Fully-integrated, Silo-free Data Ecosystem?

We know that building in-house life testing equipment can be a nightmare. You have to deal with data silos between hardware, testing equipment, and software solutions, and you have to configure each solution to work together haphazardly. With LifeTest, compatibility is baked into the instrument. Software and hardware are bundled together under one roof. There's no need to port data to your analytics software (though we certainly allow that). This means less vendor stress, fewer data silos, and a more holistic overall life testing environment.

The end goal of life testing is cost-cutting by deriving time and temperature-based stressors. You want to predict MTTF accurately. We're committed to making this process as cost-effective and time-reductive as possible. After all, life testing exists to save time, money, and future headaches. If you're spending all three on setting up your life testing capabilities, the end analysis may not be worth the pain.

LifeTest Edit Levels Screen

LifeTest Edit Levels Screen

How Long Does it Take to Learn to Use LifeTest?

It depends! Like any solution, there's a learning curve. Whether you're a semiconductor physicist, a reliability engineer, or an RF engineer, you can learn the LifeTest system and use it to garner valuable insights. But it doesn't happen overnight. We aren't promising that you'll learn the systems immediately. There's a layer of complexity to LifeTest that's necessary to generate the type of data you need to better understand your device. After all, RF tests are long-term tests that involve plenty of statistical data gathering.

During your first experience with our turnkey solutions, we help you understand the interface, how to run the tests, and what the data looks like coming out of your first tests so you can apply them to acceleration models. We offer training on each new piece of hardware. In addition, our warranty involves multiple yearly touchpoints. We make sure that there's a level of intuition with LifeTest that builds over time. Your first log is always your hardest log to understand. Once you're familiar with the solution, we'll help you find streamlined ways of getting exactly what you want.

Accel-RF is dedicated to helping each customer go beyond familiarizing themselves with our LifeTest software. We want it to become second nature. We generally see plenty of questions during the first year. But, by the second year, many clients take LifeTest into their own hands and start to manipulate and work with it in unique ways.

LifeTest's ability to perform dynamic, multi-dimensional, RF, DC, and temperature tests naturally comes with complexity. However, our experience in RF-biased and high-voltage accelerated life testing helps us provide best-in-class support and training during your initial learning curve.


Reliability Testing: Setting Up For Success

With reliability testing, it's important to plan your test strategy with your desired end-result in mind. In this demo, you'll get a detailed overview of the reliability testing process, as well as a glimpse into configuring your system to fit your reliability testing needs.

Register now for immediate access to this on-demand product demo.

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