What is Accelerated Aging?
In summary, it’s a process where samples are exposed to high temperatures (typically 50°C to 60°C) to simulate the effects of long-term aging on materials. Using the Arrhenius equation, we can correlate selected aging temperatures to their equivalent real-time duration’s (i.e. 40 days in chamber at 55° is generally equivalent to one year “real-time”). This process is recognized by the FDA and allows medical device companies to make formal shelf life claims until real-time aging units can be tested.
But you’ve heard all of this before. We’ve touched on accelerated aging in previous blog posts as it relates to temperature selection, material properties and general project timelines. But I promise, this blog post will dig a little bit deeper and push the limits of what anyone in the medical industry thought was possible.
Testing So Fast Usain Bolt is Jealous
In an effort to improve our already impressive Speed to Market Program for our clients, we decided to think outside the box (pardon the packaging pun) for our next big speed upgrade. We thought about hiring some real “speed demons” for the team, but Sonic the Hedgehog is gainfully employed, and Lightning McQueen felt that our vibration tables took jobs from his hardworking truck friends. So, we changed our approach and came up with a different idea; moving test equipment into our accelerated aging chambers. Since we can use these chambers to simulate a year of real-time in only a few weeks, what could that do for studies that would typically last a few days or hours? We put our collective heads together and came up with a genius plan. We started moving test equipment into our chambers, performed any necessary qualification and calibration activities, and then got to work testing.
As stated earlier, as we increase temperature in an aging chamber, we also reduce the equivalent amount of time that passes in the “real world”. Bumping the chamber temperature up to 60°C allows us to claim that a year’s worth of time has passed in approximately 28 days. Testing in that environment, we can take a study that would typically require two full workdays to complete and get it done in approximately 3½ hours. Have a study that only needs a few dye or bubble leak tests performed? We’ll have it done in less time than it took you to read this sentence.
With our ability to essentially time-travel, there isn’t a lab on earth that can match our turnaround time for testing. If your project is behind or you’re simply an impatient person, please call Packaging Compliance Labs today for all of your aging and testing needs.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some job interviews to conduct. All of our lab techs have suddenly reached retirement age and we need to hire some replacements.