Reliability Analysis: The Never-Ending Search for Data
RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety) analyses are important for verifying critical products’ ability to comply with safety and performance requirements. The analysis methods are provided in standards, and are an integral part of the product design and verification process.
These analyses require accurate input data, as the saying goes: “Garbage in – Garbage out”.
For instance, incorrect failure rate or reliability model (Serial / Parallel) can significantly change the calculated values of mission reliability, recommended number of spare parts, and even affect the number of redundant units in a product.
Reliability engineers often spend more time obtaining and cleaning data than doing actual analysis.
There are several reasons for this:
- Reliability and design are conducted by different people in different departments, and lack of communication can cause misunderstandings and delays
- CAD and reliability analysis software tools are often separate. Importing the BOM and additional important information can be tedious, requiring re-formatting and data cleaning
- Documents such as ICD (Interface Control Document) are not standardized