When talking about Real-World vs Laboratory Testing, which is better? Does the one compliment the other? How does each play its part as a legislative tool?
Corroshield SA had the opportunity to ask Mr. Jason Hoo, Managing Director of Engineering Edge (Singapore) Pte Ltd, his opinion on Real World vs Laboratory Testing, as relates to the Roofing/Fastener industry.
Laboratory testing is conducted in a controlled environment.
The focus being, to keep contaminating factors consistent, in order to provide control over the intensity of our testing to achieve specific results. Test results become inconclusive if we have other variables interfering with the result of that specific test. Involving a laboratory test, the ease of repeatability is also an extremely important factor – and the laboratory is the ultimate environment for achieving repeatability. Repeating the test under exact conditions gives you the flexibility to repeat the test at a later point in time, or with modified samples. Additional variables can also be added as part of a comparison testing procedure. Laboratory testing provides a high degree of objectivity when comparing different test sample variants.
In most industries (including medical and aerospace etc.) laboratory testing is adopted because not only is it a cost-effective way to derive conclusive results; it is also very effective in integrating it into the manufacturing and administrative process of any organisation.
It is important to note that laboratory testing is statistical in nature and the way it is carried out makes a huge difference. For example, it is common practice with some manufacturers to acquire a single, laboratory test report and use it as accreditation for all of their product’s quality and consistency. Such a report is also used almost indefinitely. However, such a short-term approach very often produces an inaccurate reflection of fastener performance post initial test results.
At Engineering Edge with all our products including Corroshield and Tapperman brands, we prefer to carry out similar tests with multiple parties: such as at the production level; QA level; R&D level, and also including 3rd party level. This evaluation is performed on every batch over a long-term period. By collecting and analysing all of this test data, it provides us with accurate and valuable information about our products and how to manage it in order to improve product consistency. Using these fixed parameters and the feedback we receive from our distributors through our Delivery Irregularity Report (DIR) protocol, this allows us to adjust the product timeously to suit different applications or requirements.
Having said all of the above; real-world testing does have one advantage. It provides us with an alternate view. Despite uncontrollable and unaccountable variables, such as changing climate; pollution levels and workmanship, etc., the results from real-world testing give us an idea of how products perform at that period in time in that particular location.
As relates to professional bodies and their opinion on real-world vs laboratory testing, I cannot imagine real-world testing being adopted as a unit of measure for performance. Simply because the unit of measure is not consistent. It is my hope that these professional bodies can see this objectively.
Today, algorithmic decision making, (using computers to manage huge amounts of quality data in order to process; breakdown, and analyse) is the future.