The first day of the Design for Reliability Conference in Baltimore, MD heralded the death of Physics of Failure (PoF). Craig Hillman, CEO of DfR Solutions made the announcement early in his welcome and introductions, explaining that as products get more complex, and reliability impacts on business become more serious, it is becoming ever more critical to have upper management participation. When the rest of engineering is busy pursuing “engineer for success”, PoF can ring negatively in the ears of management with its apparent focus on failure.
Embraer Senior Equipment Engineer Alexandre Barbosa dos Santos, in his keynote address, agreed that PoF has served reliability engineering well as a transition away from rules to a deeper understanding of how things break in an effort of avoidance. However, Physics of Failure does not lend itself to discussions and buy-in from executives who may resist the very premise or implication of failure. Describing our work as Reliability Physics, focusing on the science behind keeping product operating, is much more palatable and far more likely to garner the necessary executive commitment.
Institutional reliability commitment is required for complex products or systems where design decisions by multiple stakeholders may critically affect final product performance and company reputation. Reliability Physics promises to bring today’s advanced analysis methods to management in terms that will encourage adoption.
… Long live Reliability Physics!