The three primary stages of product validation, starting from the earliest and moving closer to mass production, are EVT, DVT, PVT.
- Engineering Validation Testing (EVT)
- Component level validation to ensure the discrete parts of a project all function as expected. This can include specific circuits and any aspect of mechanical fitment.
- Design Validation Testing (DVT)
- Unit level validation to ensure that components of the system will work together effectively when combined. Full system validation will begin at this stage.
- Production Validation Testing (PVT)
- Full system level validation, assembly and regulatory testing to verify that the entire device functions as expected and can be manufactured at scale.
Every product development is unique, but this broad framework has proven successful for both simple and complex products. For an intricate product, like an industrial computer, every stage of the process is vital to ensure quality and reliability. So, what are the stages that take a proof of concept (POC) to mass production (MP)?
What is EVT?
Engineering Validation and Testing, or EVT, is the first step in the process of moving a proof of concept toward a final, manufacturable product. The individual components that will go into the finished design are vetted and, if necessary, adjusted.
EVT is often the final opportunity to change the scope of a project. If early testing determines that a product isn’t viable its components may be changed, its design honed, or it may even be scrapped altogether. Part of success for any product company is the willingness and ability to “fail fast“, and adjust developments as needed.
Elements vetted during EVT:
- Thermal Tolerances and Output
- Power Draw
- Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
- Early Physical Fitment
- Early Packaging Design
EVT at OnLogic
Reliability is paramount for industrial computing equipment. While durability and longevity are a focus during EVT, DVT, and PVT alike, the EVT stage at OnLogic is particularly rigorous. EVT lays the foundation for the subsequent stages of development, so being diligent at the EVT stage best sets a project up for success. Validation testing done at this stage includes:
System bring up – This is the earliest debug phase. Before any other testing can happen, the motherboard must be able to boot into the BIOS/OS. The power sequence of the platform is analyzed to identify any power rail or signal timing violations. The BIOS is debugged to ensure that the memory can be accessed and that the handoff from BIOS to operating system is successful.
Signal integrity testing – All high speed signals are measured with an oscilloscope to ensure that signal routing and motherboard materials are within electrical test limits for signal propagation.
Component specification verification – Individual component circuits are stressed and measured to ensure that power, signals, and thermals are within manufacturer defined limits.
Motherboard voltage regulator (VR) testing – All voltage regulator circuits are tested and stressed to their design limits to ensure stable power delivery and high efficiency. This testing helps to verify that all components are operating within safe limits.
EMC pre-scan testing – Early hardware samples are tested in-house, and in collaboration with a local accredited test center, to identify and address any potential problems that may arise when final EMC testing is conducted. Tests may include FCC, UL, CE, and other application or region-specific testing. Learn more in our blog about safety testing.
Feature and compatibility testing – System compatibility is assessed with a wide range of hardware and software products to identify and address incompatibility issues with both the hardware and BIOS.
Mechanical validation and assessment – The different components that make up the chassis are tested to our design specifications. This validation ensures that the chassis of the computer is able to protect the system against any number of potential risks. Any potential improvements are noted and passed onto the next phase where they can be reviewed and implemented.
An example of a signal integrity test result.
What is DVT?
Design Validation and Testing, or DVT, is when the individual components of a product begin to be combined and assessed as a unit. Small batches of products are produced in order to ensure that they look, feel, and function as expected. Testing may include subjecting the sample products to the real-world conditions that they will be exposed to when in use. This is also the stage at which durability and longevity are verified.
Elements vetted during DVT:
- Final physical fitment
- Product cosmetics
- Environmental readiness
- Regulatory compliance preparation
- Product reliability
- OS integration
- Early design for manufacturing (DFM)
- Early design for assembly (DFA)
DVT at OnLogic
We use a wide range of testing equipment, including our thermal chamber, to put DVT systems through their paces. The DVT phase is also a focus for our regulatory team, who work with DVT samples to prepare for certification testing. Tests may include CE, FCC, UL or other international and application-specific standards. Types of tests done at the DVT phase include:
Stress testing at temperature – Testing systems with worst-case thermal loadouts to ensure that there are no hard failures of any individual components. This stress testing ensures that we can be confident that our product will not only work reliably, but that it will perform at the full specified temperature range.
Thermal safety testing – Similar to stress testing above, these tests verify that internal components operate within their specified temperature range to ensure operational safety as well as acceptable expected component lifetimes.
Cycle testing – These tests ensure that a system can undergo many state changes (on/off, sleep, reboot, etc.) with no noticeable impact on the system or its internal components. This ensures that the system can perform under a variety of challenging conditions, which is when our customers need reliability the most.
What is PVT?
The Product Validation and Testing, or PVT phase ensures that a given product can be produced repeatedly at scale. PVT is used to assess and optimize the assembly and delivery process at every stage of production. The PVT phase provides an opportunity to fine-tune the way a product is manufactured, packaged and shipped. During PVT the customer out-of-box experience is also verified and optimized.
Elements vetted during PVT:
- Final design for manufacturing (DFM)
- Final design for assembly (DFA)
- Final packaging & out-of-box experience
PVT at OnLogic
Production turnaround times and overall lead times for product delivery can make or break an industrial hardware project. Ensuring that we can build and deliver products quickly, as expected, and with an effective out of box experience is what the PVT phase is all about. A few of the key elements we focus on during the PVT phase include:
- Assembly and shipping – We order a small batch of components from our contract manufacturers to assemble, test, and package final complete systems. This gives us the opportunity to refine the process and adjust any elements to optimize delivery times and customer experience.
- Packaging design and brand messaging – We assess whether the product appropriately reflects OnLogic’s reputation and conforms to brand standards. Elements like placement of labeling and any necessary tolerance tweaks in the packaging are assessed.
The importance of a PRD throughout EVT, DVT and PVT
Each of the stages above is commonly guided by a Product Requirements Document, or PRD. The PRD is created by the team responsible for a given product. It details the capabilities, features and key differentiators that the product must include to be considered complete.
The PRD outlines not only what the product will look like and how it will function, but what it’s intended to be used for. Each step during validation is designed to confirm that the final product will meet the needs of the applications outlined in the PRD.
Need help getting your own project started?
As you can see, the EVT/DVT/PVT process is complex. We’ve helped thousands of clients take their ideas and turn them into cutting edge technology solutions. OnLogic offers a menu of services to help get your project from POC to production. We’re here to help you make it possible!