Reliability Engineering and System Safety, Vol. 88, No. 3, pp 207-214, June 2005

A Warranty Forecasting Model Based on Piecewise Statistical Distributions and Stochastic Simulation

Andre Kleyner
Delphi Corporation
Kokomo, IN 46904

Peter Sandborn
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742


This paper presents a warranty forecasting method based on stochastic simulation of expected product warranty returns. This methodology is presented in the context of a high-volume product industry and has a specific application to automotive electronics. The warranty prediction model is based on a piecewise application of Weibull and exponential distributions, having three parameters, which are the characteristic life and shape parameter of the Weibull distribution and the time coordinate of the junction point of the two distributions. This time coordinate is the point at which the reliability 'athtub' curve exhibits a transition between early-life and constant hazard rate behavior. The values of the parameters are obtained from the optimum fitting of data on past warranty claims for similar products. Based on the analysis of past warranty returns it is established that even though the warranty distribution parameters vary visibly between product lines they stay approximately consistent within the same product family, which increases the overall accuracy of the simulation-based warranty forecasting technique.  The method is demonstrated using a case study of automotive electronics warranty returns.  The approach developed and demonstrated in this paper represents a balance between correctly modeling the failure rate trend changes and practicality for use by reliability analysis organizations.

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