Vibration Test Fixtures – A Reason For Concern

vibration test fixture

The Importance of  Vibration Test Fixtures

For most projects, the design of vibration test fixtures is often left to the last minute.  Regardless of your industry, vibration testing is one of the most important tools in product test and evaluation.  A well designed fixture will provide ample rigidity to prevent resonances that can result in product over test.  It will help provide confidence that the vibration encountered by the unit under test is representative of the required spectrum.

Using you own

Using your own vibration test fixture as opposed to using one from a test facility has many benefits.  Fixtures laying around test labs are often drilled out and adapted for any number or customers’ immediate requirements.  If retesting is required, having your own fixture assures you of a more repeatable test regardless of the test facility you may use.  The same fixtures can also be used for shock testing where rigidity and strength are requirements.  Using vibration test fixtures in environmental chamber tests for can facilitate proper orientation of equipment and prevent accidental damage to interconnected test items during removal from the chamber.

Designing your Fixture

Rigidity is the major consideration in vibration fixture design.  A microscopic deflection in any part of the fixture can result in alarming resonances and nulls.  Aluminum is an excellent material for vibration test fixtures as it provides the required rigidity while minimizing weight.  The US Government’s Department of Defense has substantial research available for US Companies to use for designing a vibration test fixture.

Consider the intended orientations of test items and provide mounting holes for test items so that they can be easily installed and removed.  Time goes by quickly in the lab.  Use through-bolt for mounting the test item as threads in the fixture will fatigue over time. Provide ample through holes for mounting the fixture to the test equipment, especially if you plan to conduct multi-axis (X,Y,Z) testing.

Validate your Fixture

Before using your vibration fixture in testing it is beneficial to perform a resonance scan  to check for any unwanted responses.  This is accomplished by attaching multiple accelerometers to the fixture, and sending low-level random signals that cover the frequency range of your intended test.

CVG Strategy Experts

Our experts at CVG Strategy have extensive experience in Environmental/Dynamic and EMI/EMC testing for a number of industries and products, both military and commercial.  CVG Strategy specializes in Independent Developmental Testing and Evaluation including development of Test Plans, Test Procedures, Test Witnessing and Troubleshooting.

CVG Strategy is a consultancy offering coaching, mentoring, training and program development focused on areas including Business Process Improvement, ITAR and Export Compliance, Cyber Security and Quality Management Systems.

Voluntary Self Disclosure and Export Regulations

Voluntary Self Disclosure

Do you need to file a Voluntary Self Disclosure?

Many companies face the challenge of whether or not they need to file a Voluntary Self Disclosure when they recognize a violation of US Export Law at their company.  Violations of US Export Law for the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) can often occur without malfeasance.  The ITAR is regulated by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls or DDTC, the EAR is regulated by the Bureau of Industry and Security.  Most violations involve an improper export of a controlled item.  It is important to realize however that information conveyed in an email or phone conversation to a non-U.S. person can fall under this classification.  It is therefore easy to see how potential violations can occur.

In such cases it is appropriate to file a Voluntary Self Disclosure (VSD) of any significant potential of regulatory violation.  Such a filing will help mitigate potential damage to your company and in most cases results in the avoidance of fines, penalties, and negative exposure.

It is important to realize however, that the Voluntary Self Disclosure is the first step in addressing the potential violation.   Follow up measures must be taken to address the occurrence and organizational steps taken to prevent any subsequent similar violations.  This can involve any number of administrative actions but must include training to ensure future compliance.  Failure to implement these steps can lead to penalties from the enforcement agency involved.  These penalties can occur years after the initial incident if there is a recurrence of the violation and it is found that sufficient action was not taken.

To be certain, compliance to export law as relates to EAR, ITAR can be a challenge for any organization.  Development of a program tailored to the needs of your company is important in protecting its reputation and ability to conduct business.  This program must include relevant and regular training to maintain organizational rigor and scheduled assessments to ensure that the compliance program is in sync with the dynamics of an organization’s evolution.

A voluntary self disclosure can be painless, as long as it is honest and the company filing it takes action to prevent its reoccurrence.  This action would likely include a formal written ITAR compliance program, training, processes to control restricted items and data from foreign persons and licensing when required by US export law.  It is recommended that when a company files a VSD, that you ensure that all the documentation is prepared properly and in compliance with the requirements of the EAR or ITAR.

The CVG Strategy team has over 20 years of experience in U.S. export controls.  We can help you develop an ITAR Compliance Program appropriate to your organizations requirements and provide training to prevent occurrences that could lead to violations and the need to file VSDs.  We also have the experience to assist in guidance when unforeseen incidents do occur to develop strategies to prevent future violations.  CVG Strategy has filed dozens of Voluntary Self Disclosures in the past decade and is well equipped to help you, if your company needs to file.