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The Reliability Engineering Toolbox

What is Failure?

Failure is the loss of function when you needed the function to occur. Failures for reliability purposes must be precisely defined so they are recorded correctly. Much life data is incomplete because failures are mixed-up with censored/suspended data where aged items may not have failed or they represent removals from service before failure, or they have not yet failed for the mode of failure under study-in short these censored/suspended items represent successes and are a portion of data set for study.

Why study Failure?

We study failed items for the same reason we do autopsies on humans-we want the data and we want it categorized correctly for making important decisions. Failures require: 1) a time origin which must be unambiguously defined, 2) a scale for measuring the passage of time/starts/stops/etc. which motivates failure, and 3) the meaning of failure must be entirely clear for recording the event.

When to study Failure?

Failure data must be recorded as it occurs to prevent loss of information.

Where to study Failure

The CMMS or EAM system is frequently where most data resides but usually in crude fashion. The failure data is often transferred into the FRACAS system for converting the symptoms of the failure into the root causes of failure. The failure data must be converted into action items for making management decisions about future failures and the corrective action needed.

These definitions are written by H. Paul Barringer

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Paul Barringer

Paul Barringer, is a reliability, manufacturing, and engineering consultant. His worldwide consulting practice involves, reliability consulting, and training with a variety of discrete and continuous process manufacturing companies and service industries.

He has more than fifty years of engineering and manufacturing experience in design, production, quality, maintenance, and reliability of technical products. His experience includes both technical and bottom-line aspects of operating a business with an understanding of how reliable products and processes contribute to financial business success.

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