During the early stages of a new product’s development, the rapid detection of failures and deficiencies is a vital part of effective time and cost management. By implementing a reliability growth program into product development, you can increase your bottom line and your consumers’ trust in your brand.
What Is Reliability Growth Testing?
When you’re developing a new complex system, you can expect various bugs to impede the functionality of early prototypes. Design, manufacturing and engineering flaws negatively affect reliability and prevent prototypes from functioning to industry standards.
Vigorous testing procedures are necessary for a system to function within manufacturers’ goals and industry requirements, as testing targets potential flaws and allows you to take corrective action before you sell products for consumer use.
Reliability growth testing develops the functionality and reliability of a product over time through changes in product design or manufacturing. The process emphasizes finding failure methods to improve in future prototypes. By systematically stressing the system through a series of tests, engineers can locate fundamental flaws that affect your products and your bottom line. This rapid detection is essential in ensuring that you won’t waste time and money on product deficiencies.
While testing is a necessary part of reliability growth, reliability involves far more than laboratory testing procedures. A full reliability growth program improves management strategy concerning corrective actions and product solutions once product failures are recognized. The program allows you to work backward to track failures down to their initial cause and translate lab results into actionable solutions. You can then take corrective actions towards improving system design, operation procedures and the manufacturing process.
The Reliability Growth Process
The success of a reliability growth program is based on a clear product mission. Clear goals need to be set and later achieved through development testing procedures.
Careful analysis and planning are necessary to initiate and accomplish these goals, and assessment techniques need to be well-structured to discern what corrective actions will need to be taken. These corrections will also require careful consideration, as each corrective strategy should bring a company a certain percentage closer to its reliability goals.
Reliability growth programs and testing rely on a test-analyze-and-fix (TAAF) method. When a deficiency is recognized during reliability testing, the tests stop until the failure is thoroughly analyzed and corrective action is taken to prevent similar failures from occurring in the future. Tests then resume under the assumption that the product will be able to better function and withstand harsher conditions.
Some corrective actions can be incorporated into the testing process. But others might not be taken until the end of testing, since it may be too expensive to stop and restart the test. In this case, engineers will set projected reliability values that combine the evaluated reliability of delayed fixes with current system performance. A noticeable jump in reliability values will usually occur at the end of the test phase when delayed corrections are implemented.
Laboratories provide the testing necessary to implement the TAFT process. Specialized machines produce rapid replication and mitigation of field failure issues and loss of revenue.
Testing Associated With Reliability Growth
During growth testing, engineers test products in both natural and induced environmental conditions that simulate accelerated consumer use. In this stage, a highly accelerated life test (HALT) is used to discover early product weaknesses.
HALT incrementally increases the level of stress on a product over short time intervals to exceed parameters of consumer use and hasten product failures. A specialized testing chamber puts products through increasing stress levels using the following procedures:
- Hot thermal step stress
- Cold thermal step stress
- Vibration step stress
- Rapid thermal cycling
- Combined environment
HALT tests are performed in the earliest stages of production before manufacturing so that any defects can be analyzed and fixed. Once flaws are found, you can work backward to determine their cause and make corrections before mass production.
After a product has been HALT tested and enters into its production phase, tests are still necessary to locate failures resulting from production and manufacturing. A highly accelerated stress screening (HASS) uncovers these weaknesses that traditional tests may not detect.
HASS testing incorporates stress levels that exceed a product’s expected regular use to locate weaknesses. These stress levels are based on the product limits found during HALT testing.
Benefits of Reliability Growth Testing
When you have a plan dedicated to increasing your products’ reliability, both you and your customers can have confidence in your brand. Ensuring product performance is essential to increasing your company’s reputation and consumer confidence, which encourages sales and allows your company to grow.
Reliability growth can also save you millions of dollars in warranty and recall costs. By implementing a reliability growth strategy early on in the development process, you can detect problems before you ship your products to distributors for consumer use. Without reliability growth testing, you risk releasing products that will suffer malfunctions and early failures due to undiagnosed weaknesses, which could hurt your reputation and could even physically harm consumers.
Various industries have implemented reliability testing programs, including defense agencies, electronics manufacturers and engineers of medical equipment. However, nearly any product can benefit from a strong reliability growth program.
Contact Quality Testing Services for Your Products’ Reliability Growth Testing
Quality Testing Services has been an industry leader in HALT/HASS testing for over 20 years. We’ve worked with leading manufacturers around the world, and our skilled team is trained to handle your unique reliability testing needs. Our Southern California facility offers the most advanced reliability testing options.
QTS provides expert preparation guidance for more effective HALT/HASS testing, as well as reliable custom testing geared towards your specific product needs and regulations. Our team is dedicated to focusing on your unique needs for each reliability testing project.
At QTS, we collaborate with you to provide an effective reliability growth program while meeting your company’s needs and industry standards. If you’re interested in learning more about our extensive testing options, including reliability growth training and HALT/HASS testing, contact us online or call us at (714) 903-1155.
- Reliability engineering and custom testing that’s geared to your specific product needs.
- Rapid replication and mitigation of field failure issues and loss of revenue.
- Expert preparation guidance for more effective HALT/HASS testing.
For more information, call us at (714) 903-1155 or request a quote or visit our partner website: rapiddiscoverysystems.com.