How to Achieve High Reliability in Automotive Applications

Posted by James McLeish on Nov 18, 2016 11:10:13 AM

Automotive-Reliability.jpgUsing trial and error to determine and verify product reliability is a dated methodology. The Design-Build-Test-Fix (DBTF) approach is time-consuming, costly and makes engineers reactive instead of proactive in pursuit of reliability – a detriment to automotive electronics and other applications that must meet the functionality and lifespan expectations of an increasingly demanding consumer base.

While DBTF is traditional, it isn’t the only option. Science-based Physics of Failure (PoF) empowers automotive designers, engineers and manufacturers with science-based reliability testing that consistently optimizes outcomes without unnecessary time and expense.

DBTF Challenges

DBTF is a linear process: Product designed > Prototype built > Prototype tested against requirements > Faults detected > Fixes implemented > Re-test > Fixes Implemented > Re-test and so on until reliability is achieved (or the budget can no longer support the process).

This mono-focus testing is shortsighted in that:

  • It doesn’t truly simulate actual usage
  • It puts manufacturers at a time and money disadvantage, as they must budget significant amounts of each into projects to cover DBTF iterations
  • It reveals problems late in the process, leaving “quick fixes” as the remedy
  • It assumes that building and testing more parts, more often is the only way to increase and achieve reliability

PoF Advantages

Physics of Failure (PoF), or reliability physics, is reliability science for the next generation. PoF leverages the power of computer modeling to test product reliability in the design phase – before prototyping – so failure risks can be addressed more quickly and at a fraction of the cost of DBTF methods.

Like DBTF, PoF is a linear process but that’s where the similarities end. PoF testing is multi-faceted: Start with PoF mechanism knowledge > Identify and model relevant stress conditions > Build and validate PoF failure mechanism math models > Program models into simple standalone data tools > Integrate into a CAE tool.

Leveraging the sophistication of reliability physics, software and virtual tools give PoF-based reliability assessments their power:

  • Dynamic stress analysis of usage and environmental conditions combine with failure mechanism models to perform durability simulations
  • Failure susceptibilities are identified and used as the basis for calculating reliability behavior over time
  • Reliability is predicted based on viable cause and effect relationships in failure mechanisms and other factors that in a DBTF approach make failures appear random

High reliability in automotive electronics and other applications isn’t just an aspiration – it’s a necessity. Powerful tools like Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ software help design and reliability engineers achieve it consistently, in less time and at less cost than DBTF. Learn more in Introduction to Design for Reliability. Click the button below to download your free copy.

Introduction to Designing for Reliability

Topics: Design for Reliability

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