Reliability Engineering Techniques, Project Planning & Risk Analysis Tools

Reliability Engineering

Reliability engineering is a disciplinary process that ensures – how a product, component or process performs its anticipated function, without failure, in a given environment, for a required time duration. It strengthens dependability in product life cycle management, which is the ability of a component or process to function under specific conditions for a required period.

Reliability is defined as the ability of a product to perform its specified functions.

Mathematically speaking, let’s take an example of an item “x”. x is intended to perform its assigned function at time zero (0). The reliability is thus defined as the probability of item x, that performs its stated function under specified condition, for a specific period, without failing.

Nowadays, maintaining a quality product and customer satisfaction along with reliability is considered a major factor in sustaining the quality of a product as compared to the other competitors and helps the business advance forward.

Reliability Engineering Techniques

Reliability Engineering Analytical Functions:

Role & responsibility of a reliability engineer is to work together with the design, inspection & maintenance team to ensure that the quality of a product is sustained. He is also responsible for any production process failure and its causes. So, such work is dependent on functions like:

(1) Failure Probability Density

(2) Failure Rate

(3) Reliability

(4) Conditional Reliability

(5) Mean Life

Most of the reliability engineering problems get solved using the above functions.

Reliability Program & Project Planning:

  1. A reliability program is necessary for oversight, monitoring, professional development & project related support.
  2. Reliability assessment training, data collection & reporting are some of the examples of program level tools.
  3. A reliability project focusses on those projects which are under development, manufacturer or purchase. Reliability models, estimates, FMEA, and accelerated life testing are some examples of project-level tools.

Some of the risk analysis tools:

  • Simulations
  • Finite elements analysis
  • Material Characterization
  • Literature Searches
  • Prototype Failure Analysis
  • Beta Testing

Estimate Future Reliability Performance:

The aim behind estimating future reliability performance is to use available information to create a future estimate of product reliability performance. Using these tools, an organization can make future failure suspects and probabilities.

Tools used for estimating future reliability performance are as follows:

  • Engineering Judgments
  • Parts Count Predictions
  • Vendor data for major components
  • Field data for major components
  • Life Testing
  • Alpha and Beta Testing

Reliability Equipment

  • Maintenance

There are three main categories of maintenance,

  • Preventive Maintenance:

Preventive maintenance is used to avoid or eliminate unnecessary inspections that are expensive and time-consuming.

  • Predictive Maintenance:

Predictive maintenance includes nondestructive inspection techniques. These techniques are useful to monitor the serviceability of equipment.

  • Corrective Maintenance:

Corrective maintenance involves repairing the damaged components. It also includes the replacement of the components, if repairing is not possible. Collectively, these tasks should be managed at the reliability centered maintenance program.

  • Testing & Inspection:

Non-destructive testing and inspection are generally used throughout the life cycle of the equipment to identify damage mechanisms and such testing is used in equipment reliability programs as well. The process also includes radiology testing, ultrasonic testing electromagnetic testing, etc. This non-destructive testing technique includes some risks and damages. So, before selecting this technique, all possible damages should be considered.

In addition to the above testing, there are two other types of inspection techniques that provide information, based on reliability and remaining equipment life:

  • Risk-Based Inspection (RBI): Risk-based inspection is used to identify risks, to get the proper idea about the exact condition of the equipment.
  • Fitness for service (FFS): Fitness for service inspection is used to test whether the equipment of the specific component is suitable for long term service.
  • Technology

New technological advancements in reliability engineering can increase the reliability process & time. In monitory terms, it is profitable to use such new technologies. Technical sensors provide data on the performance of the equipment. This real-time data will help us take further decisions with future perspectives and will help in conducting preventive, predictive and corrective maintenance

Reliability Engineering has a broad and significant impact on product life-cycle. There are plenty of ways to describe reliability engineering with different examples relating to different industries and scenarios. Here, we have mentioned the most possible and effective ways to provide information on reliability using proper tools and techniques with some real-life examples.



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