Holistic Reliability – The Modern Day Solution to achieving World Class Reliability

Martin Shaw

Holistic is a belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole’ The meaning of the term ‘Holistic’ is very appropriate in today’s complex Electronic and Electro Mechanical products as we cannot assume a one off Accelerated Life Test, a small sample HALT test or a suite of specified environmental tests will highlight all the major latent defects which will lead to failure at some point in the products lifetime. There are many different methods to be employed to fully understand and predict the Quality and Reliability of a New Product, these are often interconnected and all have a part to play in planning how we can best understand and predict the product performance. Research and Development engineers have for many years applied DFMEA techniques to try to minimize possible issues, then perform some form of product stress test or ALT to attempt to predict the expected failure level. These techniques are sound, but often produce very little meaningful output unless the design is fundamentally poor. The key to achieving High Reliability is therefore a multi factor solution with focus on measurement wherever possible. Individual measurements alone may not provide the direct correlation to failure rate in the field, but the Holistic combination of the correct measurements certainly will. The key factors and measurements that contribute to minimizing failures are presented.