Winter 2005 

Ops A La Carte LLC
Ph:
(408) 472-3889
Fax: 408-255-5789
Email: news@opsalacarte.com
Website: www.opsalacarte.com


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IN THIS ISSUE

COURSES
& SEMINARS - 3 FREE SEMINARS!
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EVENTS
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SPECIAL OFFERS - FREE ADMISSION ( $900 value )
tickets to the Applied Reliability Symposium, San Diego, CA.
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NEWS
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FEATURED SERVICE - Competitive Analysis

COURSES

Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) Preparation Course (pdf download) - April 5 - May 24, 2005.
Now taking registration.
Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) Preparation Course
(pdf download) - Aug 16 - Oct 4, 2005
For details see the Ops A La Carte Schedule

SEMINARS

Essential Reliability Tools:
May 5-6, 2005 San Jose
Aug 25-26, 2005 Los Angeles
Sept 22-23, 2005 Boston
Oct 6-7, 2005 Chicago
Oct 20-21, 2005 San Jose

For details see the Ops A La Carte Schedule

EVENTS

FREE SEMINAR - Reliability Integration Across the Product Life Cycle (pdf download) - March 16, 10am-1pm, Quanta Labs, Santa Clara.  Email us at freeseminar@opsalacarte.com for more details.

Having well-defined goals with appropriate metrics is an important first step to achieve overall product reliability objectives.  This presentation provides an outline of how to quickly assess your product’s situation, define your reliability goals, narrow down the appropriate reliability tools and techniques, and then integrate these together in your reliability program.

FREE SEMINAR - Accelerated Life Testing (ALT) used to Find Wearout Mechanisms - March 17, during Westpak Open House from 1pm -5pm, San Jose. Email us at freeseminar@opsalacarte.com for more details.
Website: www.westpak.com

In many cases, the predominant failure mechanism with a product or key assembly within a product is wearout. When this is the situation, we must be able to predict or characterize this wearout mechanism to assure that it occurs outside customer expectations and outside the warranty period. In this presentation, we shall look at some case studies and examples on how we can use the techniques of ALT in cooperation with a test lab such as Westpak to find and measure wearout mechanisms.

FREE WEBINAR - The Value of Warranty Data - April 26th.  Email us at freewebinar@opsalacarte.com for more details.

Our firm has been chosen for a webinar discussion with Eric Arnum, editor of Warranty Week Magazine.  We will discuss how quality and reliability play a big part in companies' warranty calculations and strategies.  Information on how to join this FREE webinar will be posted soon on our website at Ops A La Carte Events

Applied Reliability Symposium - May 18-20, 2005, San Diego
The Applied Reliability Symposium is one of the largest reliability symposia of the year and many of the best known authors and practitioners will be presenting.  We are proud to have been chosen among this elite group.  For an abstract of our paper, visit www.arsymposium.org (pdf download) and go to Thursday, May 19, Session 7.

For details on these events, go to Ops A La Carte Events

SPECIAL OFFERS

Ops A La Carte is a corporate sponsor and guest speaker at this year's Applied Reliability Symposium in San Diego. We are giving away FREE ADMISSION ($900 value) to the next 5 customers who sign up for any new services with a PO. Be sure to mention that you saw this offer in our newsletter.

NEWS

Ops A La Carte partners with DfR Solutions and Design Chain Associates to offer a more powerful Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) service.

Like the rest of the electronics industry, your products will transition to Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliance prior to the deadlines in 2006. This includes the transition to Lead-Free Solder, and at this time, there are significant reliability uncertainties around Lead-Free Solder. Even if your product does not need to be compliant, the materials and processes that make up your product are changing. As one major consumer product team concluded, doing nothing would double the field failure rate of the electronics. Given limited resources, you and your team may not have the time or expertise to determine the areas of greatest risk and how best to manage the transition. And most contract manufacturers are too busy with other aspects of the implementation, including managing the BOMs and getting the new solder processes down, to worry about the new risks to reliability.

Nearly every facet of product generation comes into play during the RoHS transition, plus a few unique items. Starting with reliability requirements and risk identification to retirement of components and products, the transition requires careful management in addition to traditional program management.

With our new service, we review current products with design teams and determine areas of risk given the RoHS driven changes in the industry and manufacturing processes. Then, we prioritize and develop recommendations to mitigate or avoid significant issues. We work with product teams to systematically address each reliability issue and manage elements of the transition that pose significant risk to compliance and product performance. We also provide awareness and specific technical training, as needed and establish and assist in monitoring critical transition goals and metrics. We can even provide information updates on developments of the RoHS legislation and the impact on your products.

With our new partnership, we now offer education and help with implementation for the smoothest possible transition with the least risk to reliability.

For more information on this service, please visit please visit our RoHS Service page on our website or email at info@opsalarte.com or call (408) 472-3889.

Competitive Analysis

When introducing a product into a new market, determining the current market players' reliability performance may lead to a competitive advantage. Or, if your competition is using reliability as a marketing lead, does your product match their performance or do they have the advantage?

During the Competitive Analysis, we compare the major reliability features of your product with those of your competitors’ product and use a scoring system to rank the results.

Also, understanding the methods used may lead to insights on improving your reliability program. The results are used as input to the gap analysis to determine appropriate next steps to improve your organization's reliability program.

A Competitive Analysis is valuable because it helps steer resources to appropriate areas for reliability improvement efforts.  Whenever we set out to improve the reliability of a product, we must be concerned about cost.  The Competitive Analysis will show you in what areas you need to improve and by how much in order to become the industry leader in reliability without pricing yourself out of the market. 

The analysis may consist of many different techniques, from comparing reliability predictions or FMECAs to performing side-by-side Environmental Tests or Highly Accelerated Life Testing.  One key aspect of the analysis is that a scoring system is developed that can be applied to the products in the same way.  This sometimes can be tricky, especially if two products achieve the same results using different technologies.

One valuable analytical technique during the Competitive Analysis is the Teardown Analysis.

In the Teardown Analysis, we start with one sample of each product.  Then we take each product apart and perform a detailed reliability analysis on each – review number of components (parts count complexity), failure modes and failures rates of major technological elements, analysis on wear of mechanical components, soundness of seals, and more.  Our experienced reliability engineers have an eye for how products fail.  For each component and assembly, we are looking for these types of potential issues.  Below is a list of possible areas of analysis:

Notice in this example the customer’s product has some distinct advantages in the area of workmanship and manufacturability but there is room for improvement in several other areas, especially in the robustness, and the mechanical and electrical design.

We can use similar scoring systems for other Competitive Analysis methods to come up with an overall understand of product strengths and weaknesses.  Then we can select specific reliability techniques to help improve these areas.

When trying to optimize cost vs. reliability, the competitive analysis is a valuable technique because it will highlight the areas that you need to work on to be the industry leader, guiding you where to invest your money.  The result will be an optimal cost vs. reliability balance.

For more information on this service, please visit our please visit our Competitive Analysis Service on our website or email at info@opsalacarte.com or call (408) 472-3889.

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"Ops A La Carte has been a valuable asset to our company,
providing necessary reliability resources during our development program.
They helped develop our Reliability Program Plan and then
executed critical analysis and testing portions of the Plan."
--- Rajan Patel,
Senior Director of Product Development, Mission Medical Inc.
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