“Fitness for Use” Approach
Quality is defined through safety, functionality, ease of handling and durability. As safety is tested in accordance with applicable legal requirements, the tests for the remaining product characteristics rely on a different approach. This is where the Fitness For Use (FFU) concept comes into play. FFU was introduced for the management of quality testing of various types of electrical and electronic equipment, including household appliances and video and audio equipment. All types of equipment are manufactured in accordance to their relevant standards, which also include performance testing requirements. However, passing all applicable performance tests cannot provide a complete picture of a product’s quality.
FFU testing implies testing products to ensure their ‘fitness for purpose’. In order to certify quality as well as durability, the number of testing cycles is adjusted to the assumed life span of a product. The load applied during testing will be increased as well, to ensure the product is strong enough to handle forces of normal usage as well as foreseeable misuses without incurring any damage, malfunctions or even discontinuity. Test programs are developed in relation to available standards, performance requirements and targeted fitness for purpose.
Common sense, flexibility and creativity are also used for developing adequate FFU test programs. Information gained from tests performed by various consumer protection agencies can also impact the set up of FFU test program.
Headsets, Earphones Undergo Fitness Test
FFU testing for headsets and earphones will cover various factors related to the intended use, such as the bending capability of cables. The flexibility of the headband is also tested and additional checks will measure whether or not the headband can be worn comfortably after a prolonged use. Drop tests are performed in order to evaluate the behavior of headsets when accidentally dropped. Additionally, as headsets are often worn outdoors, FFU must include tests performed under different weather conditions, such as cold, hot and humid environments.
As part of the FFU measurements, instruction manuals are also tested to ensure product promises given therein are kept, and that the instructions are easily understood. In addition, necessary markings and labels are checked on the packaging, the item itself and in the instruction manual. The evaluation of FFU tests results is performed on a scale, and the final verdicts are: very good, good, satisfactory and poor.
Through its global network of Electrical & Electronic testing labs, SGS can offer manufacturers highly customizable FFU test packages for most types of consumer electrical & electronics, in facilities located closed to all major manufacturing regions.
Once all the FFU tests, including those stemming from mandatory requirements, are passed and the evaluation result is at least ‘satisfactory’
Should you require more information on FFU Testing, please contact the SGS experts.
SGS Consumer Testing Services
Senior Technical Services Manager
SGS Hong Kong Limited
t: +852 2204 8338
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.