Reliability is the capability of components, equipment, products, and systems to perform their required functions for desired periods of time, without failure.
The primary role of the reliability engineer is to identify and manage asset reliability risks that could adversely affect plant or business operations. This broad primary role can be divided into three smaller, more manageable roles: Loss Elimination, Risk Management and Life Cycle Asset Management (LCAM).
Of course, there are many reasons why failures occur. The most common reason is when the design is simply inherently incapable. It might be too weak, consume too much power, suffer resonance at the wrong frequency, etc.
The list of possible reasons is endless, and every design problem presents the potential for errors, omissions, and oversights. The more complex the design or difficult the problems to be overcome, the greater is this potential.
The reliability engineer also understands that sometimes an item might be overstressed in some way. If the stress applied exceeds the strength then failure will occur.
For example, an electronic component will fail if the applied electrical stress (voltage, current) exceeds the ability to withstand it, and a mechanical strut will buckle if the compression stress applied exceeds the buckling strength.
Variation is yet another failure modality that the reliability engineer needs to monitor. That’s because the actual strength values of any population of components will vary: there will be some that are relatively strong, others that are relatively weak, but most will be of nearly average strength.
Also, the loads applied will be variable. If there is an overlap between the distributions of load and strength, and a load value in the high tail of the load distribution is applied to an item in the weak tail of the strength distribution so that there is overlap or interference between the distributions, then failure will occur.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers a large selection of Reliability Engineering Training courses –training that benefits most engineering specializations including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and applied statistics.
Additionally, these courses are excellent for product managers, project managers and production supervisors or anyone else who wants to learn the foundation of reliability engineering through hands-on activities and directed classroom discussion.
Courses offered include:
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