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Decisions made during the design process influence all subsequent phases of a system’s life cycle in the form of part quality, producibility and maintainability.

Many experts believe reliability is the core of the automobile industry. It directly links to product success in the market. For example, when there’s a major problem such as air bag issues and recalls are necessary, the incredibly bad publicity from this type of publicly-aired manufacturing mistake damages brand perception and normally results in a huge loss of money for companies.

Reliability issues commonly arise from mechanical problems such as vibration or fatigue, or environmental problems such as temperature, humidity or thermal shock. By spending more time in research and development testing, manufactures can often mitigate such risks.

Testing systems like Environmental Test Chambers and Mechanical Test Chambers are valuable in that they simulate real time environmental conditions in their test space so that auto builders can proactively gauge potential weaknesses before product launch.

One of the fundamental roles of the automotive reliability engineer is to track the production losses and abnormally high maintenance cost assets, then find  ways to reduce those losses or high costs. These losses are prioritized to focus efforts on the largest/most critical opportunities. The reliability engineer (in full partnership with the operations team) develops a plan to eliminate or reduce the losses through root cause analysis, obtains approval of the plan and facilitates the implementation.

Another role of the reliability engineer is to manage risk to the achievement of an organization’s strategic objectives in the areas of environmental health and safety, asset capability, quality and production. Some tools used by a reliability engineer to identify and reduce risk include:

  • PHA – Preliminary hazards analysis
  • FMEA – Failure modes and effects analysis
  • CA – Criticality analysis
  • SFMEA – Simplified failure modes and effects analysis
  • MI – Maintainability information
  • FTA – Fault tree analysis
  • ETA – Event tree analysis

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Automotive Systems Reliability Engineering Training, a 2-day course that helps participants gain in-depth knowledge about reliability disciplines applied to vehicle manufacturers.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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