Reliability Engineering


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Reliability Engineering

Reliability Engineering

Reliability Engineering is a sub-discipline of systems engineering that emphasizes the ability of equipment to function without failure. Reliability describes the ability of a system or component to function under stated conditions for a specified period of time. Reliability is closely related to availability, which is typically described as the ability of a component or system to function at a specified moment or interval of time.

The reliability function is theoretically defined as the probability of success at time t, which is denoted R(t). This probability is estimated from detailed (physics of failure) analysis, previous data sets or through reliability testing and reliability modelling. Availability, testability, maintainability and maintenance are often defined as a part of "reliability engineering" in reliability programs. Reliability often plays the key role in the cost-effectiveness of systems.

Why is Reliability Important?

There are a number of reasons why reliability is an important product attribute, including:

  • Reputation. A company's reputation is very closely related to the reliability of its products. The more reliable a product is, the more likely the company is to have a favorable reputation.

  • Customer Satisfaction. While a reliable product may not dramatically affect customer satisfaction in a positive manner, an unreliable product will negatively affect customer satisfaction severely. Thus high reliability is a mandatory requirement for customer satisfaction.

  • Warranty Costs. If a product fails to perform its function within the warranty period, the replacement and repair costs will negatively affect profits, as well as gain unwanted negative attention. Introducing reliability analysis is an important step in taking corrective action, ultimately leading to a product that is more reliable.

  • Repeat Business. A concentrated effort towards improved reliability shows existing customers that a manufacturer is serious about its product, and committed to customer satisfaction. This type of attitude has a positive impact on future business.

  • Cost Analysis. Manufacturers may take reliability data and combine it with other cost information to illustrate the cost-effectiveness of their products. This life cycle cost analysis can prove that although the initial cost of a product might be higher, the overall lifetime cost is lower than that of a competitor's because their product requires fewer repairs or less maintenance.

  • Customer Requirements. Many customers in today's market demand that their suppliers have an effective reliability program. These customers have learned the benefits of reliability analysis from experience.

  • Competitive Advantage. Many companies will publish their predicted reliability numbers to help gain an advantage over their competitors who either do not publish their numbers or have lower num

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    Availability, testability, maintainability and maintenance are often defined as a part of “reliability engineering” in reliability programs.

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