There are a number of ways to test the service life of a mechanism in an accelerated fashion. Each canopy system we have on display at trade shows is considered to be in a life cycle test. During the display demonstrations we typically cycle the canopy a couple hundred times a day. At the end of the trade show season we have a number of canopies (small and large) that have been cycled thousands of times each. In this way we are confident of the design reliability. However these canopies are indoors and operate without the extremes of cold, wind loading, rain loading and the potential for interference from fallen branches etc.
There are a few ways we have designed to ensure outdoor reliability.
First, the drive mechanism can overpower the motor. So any forced stoppage due to a tree branch or kids with hockey sticks simply stalls the motor which will not be damaged.
Second, the components we use for the drive system come from food machinery conveyor equipment. These components are designed to run at 80% of their strength 100% of the time. Our canopies demand 60% of their strength only about 1% (at most) of the time.
Third and finally, the components themselves, motor, transmission, bearings belt, and pulleys, are exposed to extreme heat and cold and wash-down cycles in the food conveyor industry. There is no doubt these components are heavily overdesigned for use as a canopy drive, and based on that we take great pride in our outstanding durability and 12 year mechanism warranty.