Why: The reliability tests will determine a product's longevity and failure-free performance. This requires data recording and data integrity. Plans must be set for how the tests are to be conducted, loads to be handled, duration of the tests, environmental conditions, operating modes, failure definitions, and documentation for recording/analyzing the test data.
When: Reliability test are usually run prior to release of the product for sale or after the product has been released and troublesome failures appear in field applications where no problems were expected.
Where: Laboratory test are conducted in many cases but in other cases the data may simply come from field use. Note the failures induced require extra components which must be expected and budgeted along with the extra costs for data acquisition/analysis.
These definitions are written by H. Paul Barringer and are also posted on his web site at www.barringer1.com