Pre-production reliability testing such as components and suppliers testing, testing to failures (design limit test), drop testing, thermal testing, and vibration testing, usually happens on parts off tooling (if tooling is involved), and, if possible, on products put together in the same conditions as mass production.
The objective is to validate that the final pre-production samples meet the ‘useful lifetime under expected usage and conditions’. It is a big milestone, usually taking place in parallel with compliance testing and/or certifications.
Once these hurdles have been cleared, it is a green light for proceeding with mass production. A lot of money is at stake and it is important to validate the product and the process design before that.