The engineering design cycle moves through several stages from initial design to final production. Throughout those stages, parts need to be checked to make sure they’re fit for purpose.
But when is a part verified, and when is it validated?
The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably but they refer to different processes. Both processes are essential to the ISO 9000 quality management system.
Wondering about verification vs validation in the design process? Read on to refresh yourself on the difference.
What Is the Verification Process?
Let’s imagine a client has issued requirements for a machine part. After it’s manufactured, you need to compare the finished piece with the requirements.
Is it made from the right materials? Does it match the required dimensions?
You’re not testing the part to check if it will work. The focus is on comparing the manufactured part to the original design specifications. There’s no point testing if it works until you know it meets those requirements.
We call this a design verification test because it’s all about verifying that the product meets its requirements.
Verification is needed during the initial design phase to verify individual components of a design. It happens again during the review process to check conformity to the specifications, particularly if designs are altered.
Consistency checks during production help to verify parts to avoid problems with installation or operation. It’s needed again when production steps up to scale a product for mass production, but here it often happens as part of random quality inspections.
What Is Production Validation?
The manufacturing process doesn’t end with this form of production verification testing. The part might be verified that it meets the design’s requirements.
But now we need to know that it will perform as intended. This phase of the process involves testing it in the machine it’s been made for.
A series of tests can confirm the part does everything it’s been designed to do. These tests also check how consistently it performs. It validates the part, which is why we call it “validation.”
Validation only occurs once parts go into production. It’s useful before scaling up happens, to run products in a range of conditions to check the product will perform properly.
Production validation helps detect errors in productions that might cause quality issues. It also helps uncover problems not immediately apparent in the initial design phase, meaning they’re fixed before it reaches the marketplace.
This stage also checks parts will work to the levels expected, such as power consumption, stresses, or heat loads. A process like Finite Element Analysis can work as part of your validation.
Engineering Verification vs Validation
This is a simplistic example just to define the difference between verification vs validation. The twin processes become vital as parts become more complicated. In these cases, issues such as incompatibility or performance problems become more likely.
These roles help to manage quality, helping engineers to overcome errors and meet industry standards. In essence, verification confirms if the part matches the requirements. Validation confirms if the part is fit for use.
If you need engineers to help you with verification or validation, then get in touch with us. We’d love to help you.