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The understanding of reliability

18 December 2018

Back in November 2018, my comment page (Paige’s page) asked the questions: ‘Can a robot do that? Should a robot do that?’ Quite simply, I’d seen that a team of SEAT engineers were tasked with reproducing the action of getting in and out of a car to test the resistance of its seats. Surely this was a task that could be easily automated and it made me wonder why SEAT have chosen to do it this way.

In response to this, George Bandurek, consultant and trainer in quality and reliability at GRB Solutions Ltd offered his thoughts on the topic and raises a key issue with the understanding of reliability.

A good reliability engineer

A good reliability engineer knows that some failures are the consequence of known causes such as repeated wear or extreme temperatures. These can be checked by well controlled tests and robots have their place here. An excellent reliability engineer (and SEAT score here) also knows that some failures occur because the designers had not thought of all the forces that act on a product. This is where some randomness from people makes the crucial difference in testing. 

Seat testing

The announcement from SEAT that Paige mentions, about the reliability testing they perform, made me think about using seats as an example for reliability test methods. This is a topic that has been around us for hundreds of years, yet often remains poorly understood. 

Read the full article in the January issue of DPA

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