Early Reliability Testing
Almost every industry is competing on Reliability and therefore, there is a need to develop more reliable products faster. However, reliability testing and improvement often are performed when development is nearly complete, when the product is nearly frozen, when time is short, and when improvements are more difficult and costly. Instead, Early Reliability Testing is a development tactic that can provide higher reliability and quality, with less cost and time for development, and less development risk.
The big drawback to early testing are: low test coverage, low number of samples, and samples with immature manufacturing processes. However, all of these issues can beaddressed and overcome, and when this happens, the benefits are early life testing are substantial.
When to perform a Reliability Test?
Figure 1 below shows a typical product development life cycle. Given this, when should we perform reliability testing?
Figure 1: Typical Product Development Life Cycle
Many would say that you must do in P1 in order to affect the design. Others would argue that you cannot perform reliability testing until P2 when the design is more mature and functional tests are more complete. Which is correct?
Both and Neither, really! Best solution is really to do both to get the benefits of early testing (P1) but also to test later in the design (P2) when test coverage is higher and samples are cleaner and then use Verification Testing to validate the design (P3).
And if we are working with a modular design, we should be testing the subassemblies as they become ready (P1) rather than waiting for system test at the end – may be too late. See Figure 2 below for a depiction of when testing should take place.
Figure 2: Reliability Testing within a Product Development Life Cycle
Strong Correlation Between Successive Units
When developing a product, we typically have a succession of units: a prior product, a preliminary prototype, an intermediate prototype, a final product. The test unit can be a complete product, complete prototype, a sub-assembly, or a significant component.
Typically, successive units are strongly correlated in their wear, defects, failures, and their corresponding mechanisms and root causes. If we start the testing earlier, this will enable smarter testing later with fewer compromises driven by a tight schedule. This also enables technology development on early units, and technology reuse on later units. Thus, reliability work for several successive units involves little more investment than reliability work for solely the final unit. And because of this strong correlation, even if we only test a small sample for our early testing, defects found here are usually indicative of what we would find with a larger population. Even if we have a sample of one, we can still get useful information.
These correlations enable smarter tactics: In parallel with early development, some upstream units should be used early to develop technology. This may include test apparatus, methods, and analysis, and possibly acceleration techniques and monitoring methods. Early reliability testing often will provide early understanding of defect, wear and failure causes and mechanisms that otherwise would degrade the final product.
Also, earlier testing provides much more time for reliability work. This permits longer test runs, milder acceleration, easier extrapolation, and minimizes schedule-driven compromises.
Most reliability effort is invested "up front", such as designing, constructing and programming test apparatus, fixturing, and test software. Also, for the first unit, reliability testing and learning may incur special effort. This may include development of monitoring instruments and acceleration techniques.
Thereafter, these "up front" investments provide physical and intellectual technology for successive work. Successive test runs are typically quite automated. They can use acceleration methods and monitoring instruments that are already understood and available. Therefore reliability testing on a succession of units may incur only moderately more investment than reliability testing on just the final unit. This moderate extra investment is rewarded by a better development cycle and better final product.
Overcoming Immature Manufacturing Practices in Early Development
In early development, the manufacturing process used to make the prototype is immature. However, this should not dissuade us from using these early prototypes for reliability testing. Any good reliability test program requires good failure analysis capability. It is this failure analysis that will be able to determine the root cause of each failure. Sometimes, failures will be due to immature processes which are less interesting because it is assumed that manufacturing process refinement will not come until later in the development cycle. However, these types of failures are usually very easy to detect - sometimes with the naked eye or an inexpensive microscope. Therefore, rather than paralyzing a reliability test program due to fear of these types of failures, start testing early and just weed out the relevant from non-relevant failures. And occasionally, even the process defects are "little gold mines" of information because they may be indicative of what would have occurred even with a mature process.
Overcoming Low Test Coverage
Early in product development, the in-house test coverage is usually quite low. Sometimes this means that we just need to look for more gross issues and cannot detect some of the finer issues, and even if this is the case, an early test that finds this type of gross issue may still wind up saving thousands of dollars if the issue was one that would have required board spins or mechanical chassis changes later in the design.
And sometimes, the work around is to use commercially available test equipment rather than the custom test scripts that won't be available until later. With this approach, we may not be able to achieve 100% test coverage, but it is often times good enough to make the test worthwhile.
Expertise when you need it:
Ops A La Carte LLC can provide consultants with the expertise and manpower to perform Early Reliability Testing. This can be done in parallel with your product development program, withOUT depleting the time of your in-house development team. As described above, this enables a development cycle that is shorter, with less total development cost, and lower risk for reliability. Nevertheless this can achieve a better final product, with superior reliability.
PROGNOSTICS IN RELIABILITY
Name three uses for prognostics in reliability testing and explain the methods on how to use to detect the on-set of failure.
Send Responses to:
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first individual that emails us a correct solution shall receive Free Admission to our upcoming Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) Preparation Course OR to the Applied Reliability Symposium (see http://www.arsymposium.org for more details on the symposium) on June 20-22 in San Diego. This is a $1295 value for the CRE and an $800 value for the ARS.
Solution to Last Quarter's Problem of the Month on Software Reliability:
If I am performing a reliability prediction and have the following 3 assemblies with their respective failure rates and standard deviations (assume quantity of 1 for each),
a) what is the Total Failure Rate and Standard Deviation for this potion of the circuit?
b) how is it that the fan has a lower failure rate than either the microprocessor and the memory when we know fans to have a higher failure rate in the field?
This problem illustrates one of the new uses for the Telcordia Prediction guide SR-332 Issue 2. It contains standard deviations for all failure rate numbers in an effort to give bounds around the final result. In the past, many people saw this prediction standard as either inaccurate or outdated. Now this new version helps to accomplish both of these problems.
Congratulations to Archana Pawse of Superconductor Technologies for being the first one wih the correct answer. She won a free admission to our Design for Reliability Seminar held last month. The correct solution was:
a) The formula for calculating Lambda is Total lamda = lamda1+lamda2+lambda 3 = 96
The formula for calculating Standard Deviation is the square root of the sum of the squares, or
Total sigma = sqrt (sigma1**2 + sigma2**2+ sigma3**2) = 53.71
b) The fan has a wear dominated failure mode that is really time dependent and increases rapidly over time. The suggestion here that the number is constant is a common error. Further more, for semiconductors the failure rate is often identified at about a year, which is near the bottom of their bathtub curve. For wear dominated components like fans, most often, the bottom of the bathtub occurs about 500 hours and increases from there. Hence while having a low initial failure rate they also have a high total failure. Many manufacturers treat fans as a maintenance item. Therefore, the fan never goes through a full life cycle. The low apparent failure rate is a reflection of the maintenance activities, even if the fan has a high field failure rate which is observed only when people allow them to run to failure.
SigmaQuest enables you to automatically upload & analyze your product, supplier, manufacturing test, RMA/Warranty & repair data using any web-browser.
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DfR Solutions has world-renowned expertise in applying the science of Reliability Physics to electrical and electronics technologies, and is a leading provider of quality, reliability, and durability (QRD) research and consulting for the electronics industry. The company's integrated use of Physics of Failure (PoF) and Best Practices provides crucial insights and solutions early in product design and development and throughout the product life cycle. DfR Solutions specializes in providing knowledge- and science-based solutions to maximize and accelerate the product integrity assurance activities of their clients in every marketplace for electronic technologies (consumer, industrial, automotive, medical, military, telecom, oil drilling, and throughout the electronic component and material supply chain). for more information visit www.dfrsolutions.com.
The GoldSim simulation framework allows one to probabilistically simulate the reliability and performance of complex engineered systems over time. GoldSim provides the ability to model the interdependence of components through requirements and fault trees, as well as the capability to define multiple independent failure modes for each component. This facilitates both reliability modeling and risk analysis within a variety of industries, including space and defense, manufacturing, mining, telecommunications, electronics and infrastructure. For more information, contact Tim Schmitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.goldsim.com
Ops A La Carte's newsletter goes out to over 8500 subscribers. If you would like to advertise in next quarter's "Reliability News", email us at email@example.com or call at (408) 472-3889.
KLA-Tencor: $2.5B company based in the SF Bay Area, global presence in the semiconductor industry, market leader.
Significant opportunity to contribute to net company results, commensurate rewards.
Broad, dynamic, demonstrated leadership skills are key.
Strong technical background, MS or Ph.D. in EE, Physics or other.
Significant and relevant system design engineering / engineering program management experience (10-15 years experience).
Demonstrated expertise in reliability engineering and achieving exceptional results required.
You will own (re)defining and deploying the program company-wide and driving results to breakthrough performance!
Contact: Peter.Gaudette@KLA-Tencor.com 408-875-7593
Sr. Reliability Engineer
Advanced Energy develops innovative power and control technologies that drive high-growth, plasma thin-film manufacturing processes worldwide, including semiconductors, flat panel displays, data storage products, solar cells, architectural glass, and other advanced product applications.
We are seeking and experience Reliability Engineer. In this position you will carry out the duties of verifying product reliability by testing, conducting statistical analysis, stress analysis, DFMEA and MTBF calculations. You must understand component failure analysis and corrective actions to be taken. The position requires the ability to work under limited supervision.
1. Develops test procedures to verify the reliability of a new design or an update to an existing product.
2. Tests products including environmental stress tests, product acceptance tests, life tests, etc. Must also troubleshoot and repair failures.
3. Actively participates at project meetings to represent the Reliability Engineering group.
4. Builds test fixtures as needed for new product testing.
5. Communicates test results to other groups as required, both written and verbal.
6. Assists design engineers with professional opinions, reference materials, testing methods, etc. for all new product development efforts.
7. Assists work cells with reliability issues.
8. Other duties as assigned.
* Able to troubleshoot electronic equipment to the component level.
* Able to perform data entry and computer analyses such as MTBF prediction programs (e.g. ITEM or RELEX).
* Familiarity with data bases and statistical analysis programs.
* Able to operate test equipment such as Oscilloscopes, DMM's generators, etc..
* Able to design and carry out tests and collect and report on results in a concise, accurate and professional manner.
* Must be personable, and able to interface on a professional level with a wide variety of technical disciplines that exist within the company.
* Able to work overtime when required, and/or non-traditional hours if necessary to maximize use of available environmental equipment.
* Able to quickly learn the operation of environmental equipment such as temperature controlled chamber, humidity chambers, data acquisition equipment, vibration equipment, etc..
* Able to work safely and practice safety procedures at all times while working on equipment.
* Able to work with minimal supervision.
* 3 - 5 years of experience performing reliability testing and analysis of complex electronics equipment, preferably high energy power supplies.
* Must have a complete working knowledge of test equipment such as Oscilloscopes, DMM's and generators, etc.
* Prefer experience in environmental testing.
* Prefer experience in plumbing, sheet metal, carpentry and wiring for use in building test fixtures.
* Prefer experience with various software programs such as Windows, Excel, Word Basic and LABVIEW.
BSEE or equivalent education and experience.
Please apply at: Advanced Energy
Sr. Reliability Engineer
Reliability engineering position for electromechanical medical devices. This person will work in conjunction with cross-functional product development teams and will lead efforts to improve reliability in new product development and on market products. Please contact Mike Moriarty at 408-782-3252.
Major Duties and Responsibilities
1. Responsible for reliability analysis, testing, statistical analysis, modeling and prediction throughout the new product development process.
2. Develop and implement HALT/HASS, RDT and ORT protocols. Identify stress limits against product specifications and intended use to ensure design robustness.
3. Analyze reliability test data and generate suitable recommendations regarding design defects and weaknesses and latent product defects.
4. Analyze verification and validation test data and generate suitable recommendations regarding performance and/or limitations of product.
5. Lead risk management cross-functional teams in the development of hazards analysis, fault tree analysis and failure modes effects and criticality analysis (FMECA).
6. Review project plans, product requirement documents, software requirements documents and user interface specifications for appropriate reliability inputs.
Position interacts directly with electro-mechanical medical device and software development professionals and leads, program managers, directors of product development, quality assurance managers and engineers. Position influences overall considerations and tradeoffs associated with reliability and quality aspects of medical devices and software. Position may interact with customers in response to resolution of field problems and issues.
BS Engineering (EE preferred). Strong oral and written communication skills. Candidate must have direct experience and demonstrated skills in reliability theory, innovative reliability modeling, reliability analytical tools and testing for new product development. Candidate's experience must be focused on the practical implementation of using reliability tools to drive engineering solutions and they must be able to support their experiences through examples. Experience in medical device regulated product development a plus. Minimum of 9 years experience, with 5 years in engineering discipline. 1-3 years of project and/or department budget management experience preferred.
Senior Reliability Engineer
Apply Reliability Engineering principles, tools and techniques to identify and prioritize opportunities related to equipment and process failures of Dolby's Broadcast and Cinema equipment. Advises and confers with engineers in design review meetings to give reliability findings and recommendations. Evaluate new and/or redesigned systems to determine specific minimum number of samples needed to obtain statistically valid data. Analyzes projected product utilization and calculates cumulative effect on final system reliability of individual part reliabilities.
Apply standard techniques and analytical tools to assure the early detection and identification of potential problems with all new or redesigned products, packaging, and processes. Evaluates and makes recommendations for changes (ECR) to existing systems and the usage of components in their application based on RXO (Return and exchange) activities.
Knowledge of Agency approvals, such as UL, EC, CSA, TV, BRH is desired.
Essential Job Functions
Support Engineering through data gathering, component performance verification, reliability testing, functional verification and general technical qualification of purchased electronic parts and subassemblies.
Assist in the development and administration of HALT/HASS/ESS and other environmental testing on new and/or redesigned products.
Develops suitable quality and reliability testing guidelines for purchased and fabricated mechanical subassemblies and component parts.
Must have a detailed understanding of FIT curves, statistical models, failure analysis, and reliability improvement.
Must have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
Perform reliability predictions, FMEA/FTA, risk/hazard analyses of ICs and subsystems. Perform DOE on new designs to anticipate and prevent potential problems.
Power supply qualification. Requires a detailed understanding of power supply topologies, voltage regulation, remote sensing, current sharing, power factor correction and thermal performance; and a familiarity with EMC requirements and safety agency approvals such as CE, TUV, CSA and UL. Duties include measurement and evaluation of voltage, current, and temperature stress on components, as well as overall reliability testing of AC/DC power supply modules.
Interface with suppliers and manufacturers to drive quality improvements.
Education, Skills, Abilities, and Experience Required
Qualified applicants should have BS or higher degree in electrical/electronic engineering or other related technical field (mechanical engineering), plus at least 15 years of hands-on experience. In depth knowledge of failure analysis techniques and application is also required.
Must have a strong working knowledge of database management practices and hands-on experience in PC-based database software tools required.
Must be able to manage multiple projects in parallel and guide support personnel to the successful completion of reliability and failure analysis projects.
Familiarity with the principles of concurrent engineering and personal experience with analog or digital audio, digital video products and technologies desirable.
Must demonstrate a methodical, detail oriented and thorough approach in problem solving with abstract thinking capabilities.
Strong technical leadership, interpersonal communication skills, diplomacy as well as a team-oriented work ethic are critical to success.
Quality Manager -TL9000 Program
Proven experience in program managing TL9000 implementation with specific focus in Engineering (Hardware and Software), Services and Operations functions
- Must have successfully lead an organization to TL9000 certification and demonstrate strong program management skills.
- Must have strong communication, teaming and facilitation skills.
- Experience in high tech industry, preferably in data networking or telecommunications.
- Experience in working effectively with different styles and functional expertise, self motivated, results driven, ability to manage through influence by presenting compelling propositions to diverse, highly skilled workforce.
- Experience in providing support to functional organizations in process improvement and solving strategic business process problems using Quality tools such and Lean and Six sigma.
- Act as corporate Quality Auditor. Maintain and evolve corporate Quality program.
Sr. Quality Engineer
Focus on the end-to-end quality and continuous improvements of all Blue Coat hardware products to ensure continuing customer satisfaction. Lead closed-loop corrective actions to address system and sub-assembly quality and reliability issues identified through the RMA (Return Material Authorization) Repair metrics. Maintain effective quality feedback and ensure quick and effective response to field quality problems that impact customers or add cost to Blue Coat.
Work closely with cross-functional teams to implement and maintain effective processes and procedures to ensure high product quality and reliability.
Monitor production and field quality and reliability metrics to identify trends requiring actions.
Work closely with HW/SW engineering, Tech Support, and Operations to drive root cause and corrective action (RCCA) solutions to product quality or reliability issues identified through the RMA metrics.
Use metrics to verify the effectiveness of product quality measures taken.
Ensure effective use of data and problem solving methods to maintain a technically sound and responsive Quality Assurance organization.
Key member of the RMA Task Force and lead ad hoc teams to resolve field quality and reliability escalations.
In collaboration with cross-functional team ensure the integrity of the RMA Repair Cell repairs data collection and report improvements.
Make recommendations to integrate best practices and lessons learned from the RCCA activities
Bachelor's degree in a relevant field, ideally BSEE or BSME
Five to 10 years experience in the computer industry related to product quality and continuous improvement.
Demonstrated knowledge of the product life cycle and requirements for quality and reliability.
Experience working with cross-functional teams (Engineering, Operations, Tech Support) driving failure analysis and corrective actions.
Experience with the ISO 9001 quality management system
Excellent oral and written communication skills
Experience with Excel Pivot tables
Experience with Agile and Siebel databases
Senior Reliability Consultant
Ops A La Carte is looking for Senior Reliability Consultants around the world to join our team of consultants and work on some of the most exciting and challenging projects in the industry. Whether you have an existing consulting practice or are interested in developing one their own consulting practice, please contact us.
- 15-20 years experience, minimum
- Managed Teams in past
- Proven Reliability Leader
- Strong Spaker
- Proven Reliability Leader
- Must have depth and breadth of experience
- Multi-tasking a must
- Must be able to up-sell
Never thought of consulting? Here are some benefits
- Set your own hours
- Control your own future
- Work on fascinating projects in new industries
- Travel as little/much as you'd like
- Be looked upon as an expert
- Work with the best consultants in the industry
- Run your own business
- Eligible for free seminars and symposia
- Freedom to work on the projects you want
If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 472-3889.
Ops A La Carte's newsletter goes out to over 8500 subscribers. If you would like to put a job opening in next quarter's "Reliability News", email us at email@example.com or call at (408) 472-3889.