There’s a common phrase in the product testing industry: verification vs. validation. IEEE defines verification as the process of evaluating a system or component to determine whether the products of a given development phase satisfy the conditions imposed at the start of that phase. IEEE defines validation as the process of evaluating a system or component during or at the end of the development process to determine whether it satisfies specified requirements.1
My personal interpretation: verification is getting a customer what they want, while validation is getting a customer what they need. This is why a significant part of UEA’s ISO procedure includes a validation form; a new and improved validation form, at that. This simple one-page document is our history of checking with customers to ensure that when we build a new product it is actually working in the application. Most importantly if it isn’t working as optimized this form prompts our engineering team to get with the customers engineering team and ask why.
So back to the title question, does UEA field test? Absolutely. For over 60 years United Equipment Accessories has been building slip rings, and all along the way, the best test was to actually see it working. That isn’t to say we don’t do our fair share of verification. UEA builds products to NEC code, tests them independently within our quality systems and validates design with third-party accredited labs.
For me though, the best evidence of a well-designed product is that it’s actually working. That’s why UEA engineers like myself are out in the field climbing wind turbines, getting our hands dirty on rough terrain cranes, and inspecting grain bins. The goal is to get an end product that works and we want that just as much as our customers do.