#184 – RELIABILITY AND RISK MITIGATION ACTIONS – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC-Fred-150x150Once reliability risks have been identified and analyzed, we have to do something.

Well, not really.

If the risk is acceptable to the stakeholders, then we can simply continue with the current plan and monitor or any new risks or changes in our understanding of the existing risks. Continue reading

#180 – A FRAMEWORK FOR RISK MANAGEMENT – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredMaking or supporting decisions involving product or system reliability is fraught with uncertainty. Is it reliable enough? Will failures occur prematurely? Are failures dangerous?

Uncertainty is risk.

In recent years more organizations and international standard bodies have focused on risk management. Identifying, analyzing, and mitigating uncertainty in a systematic manner. Continue reading

#178 – LISTENING SKILLS FOR RELIABILITY ENGINEERS – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredDid you hear what they said? Or, were you busy loading for your next verbal barrage?

As my mother would remind me, one should listen twice of often as speaking. Something about the ratio of ears to mouths in the population. I have to agree with her, that one can learn a lot by listening.

Listening may not seem to be a skill that one needs to master. Yet, how often have you walked away from a meeting where one or more participants obviously were not listening? How often are points repeated in an effort to be heard?

Continue reading

#176 – TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY ACCELERATED LIFE TESTING – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredHigh temperature & humidity is a common test condition. For specific failure mechanisms there are models available (or you can create a model) to determine the translation from test to use conditions.

These acceleration models generally only apply to one specific failure mechanisms and do not apply to a system level estimate of life. If the failure mechanism is the dominate failure mechanism for the product, then an ALT exploring just that mechanisms would provide a life estimate. Continue reading

#174 – TIME COMPRESSION ACCELERATED LIFE TESTING – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredThe easiest ALT is one that you operate an item more often then operated by the customer. Removing spans of time the item is not being bent, moved, heated, etc allows you to use time compression.

For example, a home kitchen toaster may be used for a few cycles during breakfast time in your home. In the lab, we can avoid having to wait the day of idle time and just make toast more often than just at breakfast to accelerate the operation of a toaster. Continue reading

#172 – INTRODUCTION TO THE QUALITY TRIANGLE – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredHave you ever worked on a project with no deadlines, unlimited resources, and boundless scope? Probably not.

You may have worked under the guidelines of a quality triangle, also known as a project management triangle, iron triangle, or project triangle.

Why is that? Why the limits to our ability to create a product or improve a system? Continue reading

#171 – YOU ARE A RELIABILITY LEADER – NOW MAKE A DIFFERENCE – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredLeadership is not a position or title within an organization. It is an attitude.

You’ve seen the internet meme’s about the difference between leadership and management. There is a difference and while not everyone is going to be in top management, everyone can (and should) be a leader.

As a reliability professional, you are conveniently looked to for leadership. You are expected to use your knowledge and skill to solve problems. To help teams solve problems. To improve the reliability performance of your system and across your industry. Continue reading

#170 – THE NEED TO IMPROVE THE RELIABILITY NARRATIVE – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredLittle Compromises and Future Costs

In a recent Seth Godin blog, Counting beans he talks about the eventual costs of little compromises. The immediate benefit may be celebration worthy, yet

But overlooked are the unknown costs over time, the erosion in brand, the loss in quality, the subtraction from something that took years to add up.

This certainly applies to reliability as well. Deferring maintenance just one more month, addressing one more software bug can be done after shipping, and similar small shifts erode reliability of your system. Continue reading

#168 – CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCE PRODUCT RELIABILITY IN REAL TIME – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredIn a customer’s mind, the product works or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t work as expected it has failed. This may or may not be a reliability problem.

A customer or someone using your product brings a set of expectations to the experience. The range of expectations may range from very little to very high functional, value production, and durability.

Failures are defined by customers. Continue reading

#167 – USE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILES – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredUse / Environmental profiles

Did you know that hot air doesn’t rise when there is no or very little gravity?

The electronics used to steer an oil exploration drill head 5 miles deep in the earth experiences 200°C sulfuric acid immersion along with continuous 50,000G shocks.

I used to think the environment under the hood a car was difficult. Continue reading

#166 – THE MANY WAYS WE USE VARIANCE – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredThe term variance is a statistical concept related to the spread or dispersion of a set of data. Second to the mean, it a common value we may calculate.

We find standard deviation easier to understand and use (it uses the same units as the data) whereas variance uses the units squared.

We use variance in quite a few different ways. Let’s review just a few. Continue reading

#165 – INTRODUCTION TO DESIGN FOR RELIABILITY – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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The reliability of a product is strongly influenced by decisions made during the design process.

ABC FredThe key message here is reliability occurs at the point of decision. Each time someone makes a decision, selects a component, chooses a material, assumes a use profile, the eventual product reliability takes shape. Continue reading