How to Handle Competing Failure Modes

If we're not careful with or ignore failure modes, we can choose the wrong reliability model or statistical distribution. If our product performance is close to the required limits and/or we need a very accurate model, this could be a big problem.

We talk about the importance of failure modes and step-through a tensile-test example to explore these other topics:

  • competing failure modes
  • suspensions
  • independent vs. dependent
  • reliability block diagrams

We got into some mathematical concepts. But, the main take-aways are this: 

  • Ensure the reports you write and approve always discuss the failure modes. They're an important part of the results (not just the numbers).
  • Be aware and watch out for competing failure modes and realize that they can affect the statistical models we apply and the conclusions we make from our data.
  • Reliability engineers are a resource that can be tapped for complex failure modes.

Once you've had a chance to listen, I want to hear from you. What has been your experience with reliability block diagrams? Have you ever used one?

If you want to read more about competing failure modes and more complex reliability block diagrams, visit this site: www.reliawiki.org/index.php/Competing_Failure_Modes_Analysis 

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