Quality & Reliability Engineering International, Vol. 6, pp. 243-249, 1990

How Failure Prediction Methodology affects Electronic Equipment Design

Charles T. Leonard
Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Michael Pecht
University of Maryland


Electronic equipment designs embody measures and techniques to enhance reliability. Often, concepts of designing for failure avoidance are inferred from various failure prediction methodologies (FPM) such as MIL-HDBK-217, BellCore, etc. However, these FPM models do not accurately predict actual failures of completed assemblies, for they usually emphasize component parts as the dominant cause of problems, and the models cannot be kept up to date. Furthermore, the true causes of failure are not described and thus they cannot be accommodated by design. As such, use of FPM as a source of guidance for reliability-enhancing activities in producing reliable products may have less effectiveness than originally intended. Some FPM encouraged features can impose heavy costs, complexities, and other penalties. By adopting solutions to problems that are inaccurately defined, true problems may be unaddressed.

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