Prototype Phase Introduction
Discovering design weaknesses and verifying achievement of reliability goals becomes possible with prototypes. The Reliability Test Plan tailors the suite of evaluations to each development project for an effective and efficient product assessment. A very rapid way to discover design weaknesses is with the Highly Accelerated Life Testing approach. The elimination of electrical and mechanical flaws pushes the design margins as wide as possible. Understanding the cause of failures during prototype testing often requires a Root Cause Failure Analysis. Fracture and Fatigue issues are frequently the source of these problems if they occur.
Design Verification Testing and Environmental Testing confirm that a product will meet established reliability goals in the customer's environment. Thermal Testing can reveal heat-related issues. Accelerated Life Testing is often used at this stage on select high risk modules or key components to develop reliability life models. In some circumstances you may need to conduct a formal Reliability Demonstration Test - these are often statistically based and built on the design and testing knowledge gleaned throughout the development process.
Each failure is fully analyzed to root cause using the Closed-Loop Corrective Action process. It is the combination of rapid discovery of flaws, careful analysis of expected failure mechanisms and thorough root cause analysis that permits the best set of final design decisions before product launch.
David Packard of HP had this to say about Reliability Testing:
"Reliability cannot be achieved by adhering to detailed specifications. Reliability cannot be achieved by formula or by analysis. Some of these may help to some exten, but there is only one road to reliability. Build it, test it, and fix the things that go wrong. Repeat the process until the desired reliability is achieved. It is a feedback process and there is no other way."
-- David Packard, 1972
Ops A La Carte shall tailor a program to fit your product, market and organization so that you get the optimal solution. We provide Educational Services for smooth transitions.