Chapter 7

Essential Reliability Technology Disciplines in Design

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.

Steve Jobs 1955

7.1 Overview

OEMs that specialise in particular product applications are likely to have built a substantial data base from which to define detailed requirement specifications for new products. Typical of such product applications are automotive, computer, telecom., medical and aerospace to name but a few. These OEMs will have learned a great deal about the less obvious whole-life environmental factors that influence the operational reliability of their products. In spite of the leverage gained from such experience, it is not uncommon for design requirement specifications to be devalued by the imposition of environmental standards that are inappropriate to both product-performance requirements and whole-life environmental-exposure expectation. The ability to create an acceptable functional design is usually far easier to recognise than the ability to create a robust and durable design. Failure to create a reliable hardware design is often exacerbated by the imposition of an ill-considered project-funding profile. It is not uncommon for a design-phase activity to be grossly underfunded, and for operation/support costs to be unacceptably high. Typical of such poorly judged lifecycle cost profiles are the two medium- (M) and two high- (H) volume electronic systems taken from real-life case studies and shown in Table 7.1.

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