Head To Head Accelerated Testing for Improvement
Development or qualification accelerated testing cost can be a significant amount of the T&D budget, running as much as 30% for some situations. One challenge is to reduce this cost by developing better test methods and more effective test programs. Both must be done without sacrificing the quality of the results and the predictability of the test with respect to field performance. The author was faced with the challenge to improve test methods while not negatively impacting the bottom line or adding too much time to the development cycle. First he extensively studied test methodologies employed by others over the past 25 years. Methods developed by Wayne Nelson, Dorian Shainin, William Meeker, James McLinn, or Greg Hobbs showed a number of different engineering and test approaches. These tended to avoid the conventional methodologies which were often aimed at a 10% improvement in reliability when more than 50% improvement was desired. The author then applied the best from these different techniques (called Thunder and Lightning Tests or TALAT) at Xerox a new design that was in progress. He developed a process that was a cross between the best accelerated test methods and systems engineering approaches. The challenge was the complex mechanical assemblies, large interactive sub-systems and even a final whole systems test approach was developed. The holistic approach then saved millions of dollars for the new product and resulted in market share enhancement and improved future business. This paper will take the audience through the step by step methods with concrete examples of systems engineering and reliability approaches to complex systems. This is a short tutorial of how to approach major product improvements by using the talent within the company. This R&D improvement example should be in chapter 2 of every reliability book.
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