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Reliability engineering refers to the systematic application of best engineering practices and techniques to make more reliable products in a cost-effective manner. 

Reliability engineering methodology can be applied across the product lifecycle: from design and manufacturing to operation and maintenance.

The object of reliability engineering is to engineer work to minimize failures, improve maintenance effectiveness, shorten repair times, and meet customer and organization expectations.

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).

Loss elimination involves tracking 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.

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. There are many tools used by a reliability engineer to identify and reduce risk, such as:

  • 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

Studies show that as much as 95% of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) or Life Cycle Cost (LCC) of an asset is determined before it is put into use. This reveals the need for the reliability engineer to be involved in the design and installation stages of projects for new assets and modification of existing assets.

The IEEE Reliability Society is a society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers with a focus on Reliability Engineering.

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:

Reliability Engineering 101 (2 days)

FMEA Training (2 days)

Software Reliability Training (4 days)

Reliability Engineering Principles Training for Managers (3 days)

Risk and Reliability Engineering Training (3 days)

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