Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) News

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SwRI offers 'one-stop shop' for NEBS testing

San Antonio, Texas -- November 29, 1999 -- Building on a decade of experience in Network Equipment/Building Systems (NEBS) testing, Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) has added a unique gaseous contaminants facility to test the ability of telecommunications equipment to withstand exposure to everyday pollutants.

NEBS testing, an industry preproduction requirement, evaluates how telecommunications equipment performs under various physical and electrical operating conditions.

The use of copper and silver in industrial, commercial, and domestic electronic applications has raised concern that air pollutants may corrode these metals and affect their long-term functionality. Because millions of dollars are invested in developing new telecommunications equipment, it is important to know the long-term capabilities under exposure to anticipated operating conditions.

SwRI developed a variable geometry Mixed Flowing Gas (MFG) Environmental Test Chamber for testing equipment in an environmentally controlled, corrosive atmosphere to various industry methods including the NEBS procedure.

This variability of system configuration, based on client requirements, offers several advantages including less overall testing time due to the fact that disassembly of the system is not necessary," Robert M. Acosta, an SwRI research scientist, said. "It allows Institute clients one-stop shopping in which all major aspects of the NEBS compliance testing can be completed on-site."

SwRI's MFG chamber has a six-foot square floor plan whose height can range from three to nine feet. Temperature, humidity, corrosivity, and concentrations of chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide are continuously monitored during exposure testing, which normally lasts two weeks. Test duration can be shortened or extended depending on the client's needs.

"We have the ability to test not only at the component level but also the system level," said Timothy A. Fey, SwRI's NEBS program manager and a section manager in SwRI's Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division. "SwRI's gaseous contaminant facility has the ability to do assembly-level tests. It's large enough to do several frames at a time or a larger system. The Institute is also one of the first places to offer a complete NEBS testing package, all within one location."

The NEBS program involves several technical areas at the Institute, including fire, electromagnetic, electrical, seismic, acoustic, and other physical environmental capabilities.

For more information about NEBS testing, contact Tracey M.S. Whelan, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas, 78228-0510, Phone (210) 522-2256, Fax (210) 522-3547.

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