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A Practical Approach to System Reliability Growth Modeling and

Improvement

Om P. Yadav: Wayne State University: Detroit
Nanua Singh: Wayne State University: Detroit
Parveen S. Goel: TRW Automotive: Sterling Heights
Key Words: Reliability improvement, Product development, Bayesian framework, Weibull distribution, Variance reduction.
SUMMARY & CONCLUSION

In a product development process, to develop appropriate
design validation and verification program for reliability
assessment, one has to understand the functional behavior of
the system, role of components in achieving required
functions and failure modes if component/sub-system fails to
perform required function. The integration of these three
issues will help design and reliability engineers in identifying
weak spots in design and planning future actions and testing
program. The existing system-level reliability predictions are
generally developed based on a system model and component-
level reliability prediction. These prediction methods are not
of much help in pinpointing the exact location and nature of
problem. Since time and budgetary constraints limit the
extent of analysis and testing needed to estimate component
reliability, it is necessary to utilize prior information available.
System-reliability predictions should be updated iteratively as
the design evolves and more information becomes available.

In this paper, we propose a simple and practical two-stage
approach of system reliability growth modeling considering
components, functions, and failure modes. The consideration
of these three dimensions will help in uncovering the weak
spots in design responsible for low system reliability. The
proposed method assumes Weibull distribution as failure time
distribution and reliability model is based on the Bayesian
framework (Ref 1) incorporating even fuzzy information (Ref.
2). The fuzzy logic model that has been developed for this
purpose (Ref 3) is used to quantify the engineering judgment
or fuzzy information of reliability improvement attributed to
design changes or corrective actions. Uncertainty in data/
information at component levels propagates to system level
reliability and makes system reliability prediction highly
unreliable. The paper suggests a variance reduction strategy to
give more accurate system reliability predictions.

1. INTRODUCTION

The problem of demonstrating reliability growth of a
companys new product or system from testing is well known
in manufacturing industry. The bogey testing philosophy has
been widely applied in the automotive industry for reliability
demonstration purposes and to evaluate the design early in the
product development process. For bogey testing, observing
failure and failure mechanism before bogey value is reached is
usually not possible and hence does not give any insight about
failure behavior or weakest link in the system. Reliability
assessment based on bogey tests does not help in reliability
improvement unless it takes us back to the system and guides
in finding the critical spots and causes of criticality. The
literature is full of claims that early reliability predictions are
useful in highlighting potential weak spots in the design
process, evaluating the effects of changes, and for planning of
life testing and stress testing/screening activities (Ref. 4).

Design verification and testing plan (sample size
determination) models for bogey test (Ref. 5-7) do not give
the sample size requirements for all test types to demonstrate
reliability for each failure behavior or mechanism. These
models do not consider the prior information or existing
reliability level in determining the required sample size to
demonstrate the reliability goal. Essentially, what is needed is
a shift from reliability accounting tasks to reliability
engineering analysis, the ability to decompose the predicted
system reliability and allocate it to all elements of three
dimensions (i.e. physical structure, functions, and time) and
their interfaces to help in identifying weak spots (lower than
target reliability) and nature of the problem.

The paper proposes a two-stage framework, which considers
all three dimensions of the product design to develop a design
verification and reliability improvement plan. At the first
stage, the goal is to develop a reliability growth and
improvement plan to achieve reliability targets. In order to
achieve that the system is decomposed into its components,
functions, and damage behavior influencing the performance
over a period of time. Since the damage behavior of any
system aggravates with usage time, therefore, the time
dimension of product design is captured through damage
behavior or failure mechanisms of the system. The estimated
system reliability is decomposed or allocated to each element
of the system using criticality index. The criticality index for
each element is calculated using criticality number or risk
priority numbers (RPN) from failure modes and effects
analysis (FMEA) document. The current reliability estimates
and reliability targets are used to develop the design
verification and testing plan for the next stage of design
process.

The second stage of the framework proposes a strategy to
further improve the system reliability prediction once
351 2003 PROCEEDINGS Annual RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY Symposium
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reliability requirements are achieved. The system reliability
estimate variance is decomposed into components reliability-
estimate variance (Ref. 8). A prioritization index (PI) is
defined to provide a relative ranking of components based on
their potential for improving the accuracy of a system-level
reliability prediction by decreasing component reliability
estimate variance and time and cost required to achieve
predetermined reduction in component reliability-estimate
variance. If a component has a higher PI, then additional
testing or analysis should be considered in order to decrease
the variance of component reliability estimate.

2. THE PROPOSED FRAMEWORK

The proposed two-stage framework of design verification and
reliability prediction improvement (variance reduction)
planning is an attempt to provide a simple and practical
approach for reliability assessment and improvement. The first
stage is to demonstrate that system reliability as well as
components/sub-systems reliability estimates are meeting the
reliability targets or goals set by the customers at each stage of
the product development process. During the first stage lower
reliability components or sub-systems are identified for further
analyses in order to make design changes or take corrective
actions if failures are observed and/or to plan further testing
for achieving the pre-determined reliability targets. The
purpose of the second stage is to improve reliability
predictions by minimizing system-reliability estimate variance
once customer specified reliability requirements are met.

We propose the following seven generic steps (see Figure 1)
for developing the comprehensive design verification and
reliability prediction improvement (DV&RPI) planning model
advocated here. The first stage of the proposed framework is
completed in steps 1 through 6. During the second stage, the
improvement in system reliability prediction is achieved by
variance reduction given in step 7.
1. Identify the system for which the reliability analysis
and estimation is to be performed.
2. Conduct product concept and failure analysis to
decompose the system into its three dimensions, i.e.,
as physical dimension (sub-system or components),
functional dimension (sub-functions), and time
dimension (failure mechanisms/ damage behavior).
Create two-dimensional and three-dimensional
matrices to identify the interfaces between sub-
systems (or components), functions, and failure
mechanisms to assign/allocate system reliability to
each interface.
3. Allocate the target reliability to each (appropriate)
interface or cell and to each sub-system, function,
and failure mode using equations (1) through (4).
4. Allocate prior reliability information to each sub-
system, function, and failure mechanism and also to
each appropriate cell of the matrices. Develop prior
distribution parameters based on available prior
information.
5. Update the appropriate reliability components
(
i ij ijk
r r r , , ,
j
r or
s
R , for detailed nomenclature
refer to section 4) based on available information,
which is both qualitative, as well as quantitative. To
incorporate qualitative information, use the fuzzy
logic approach previously discussed by Yadav et al.
(Ref. 3).
6. Compare the estimated reliability with reliability
targets for each element. If the reliability target is
achieved, then proceed to step 7; otherwise,
determine the additional number of tests required to
demonstrate the reliability target for any reliability
component using the equation 6.14, conduct tests to
collect more information or make necessary design
changes, and go back to step 6.
7. If the system reliability-estimate variance is very
high, then prioritize the components/ competing risks
(test types) for reliability prediction improvement
based on the contribution of each component or
failure mode in system reliability estimate variance
and the total cost requirement for variance reduction;
otherwise, stop.
































Figure 1: Flow chart for DV&RPI plan

Step1
Select asystem
Step2
Decomposesysteminto
its threedimensions &make
2-3dimensional matrix
Step3
Allocatereliability
targets
FMEAanalysis
Product/functional
structurediagrams
Step4
Allocateprior reliability
&developprior distribution
Customer requirements
Failureanalysis, warranty
Informationetc.
Step5
Updatereliabilityon
current product
Qualitativeinformation
(fuzzylogic model output)
Quantitative information
(test results)
Step6
Is
R<R*?
Developtest planand
conduct additional tests
Yes
No
Step1
Select asystem
Step2
Decomposesysteminto
its threedimensions &make
2-3dimensional matrix
Step3
Allocatereliability
targets
FMEAanalysis
Product/functional
structurediagrams
Step4
Allocateprior reliability
&developprior distribution
Customer requirements
Failureanalysis, warranty
Informationetc.
Step5
Updatereliabilityon
current product
Qualitativeinformation
(fuzzylogic model output)
Quantitative information
(test results)
Step6
Is
R<R*?
Developtest planand
conduct additional tests
Yes
No
Prioritize reliability
improvement efforts &
planadditional tests
Step 7
Is
variance
very high?
STOP
Revised estimate
No
Yes
Prioritize reliability
improvement efforts &
planadditional tests
Step 7
Is
variance
very high?
STOP
Revised estimate
No
Yes
2003 PROCEEDINGS Annual RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY Symposium
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In the following sections we provide the underlying models
and methods to be used during each step of the above-
mentioned framework.

3. SYSTEM CONCEPT & FAILURE ANALYSIS

The system concept and failure analysis is conducted to
complete a three-dimensional decomposition of the product
into its basic functional and physical elements along with
potential failure mechanisms (competing risks) for each
functional and component/sub-system interface. In functional
decomposition the overall function is broken into sub-
functions, and those are further decomposed into lower-level
functions. This functional breakdown continues until a set of
functions that could be achieved by the available components
is reached. In physical decomposition the system is
decomposed into its basic physical components which, when
assembled together, will accomplish the system/product
function. The physical decomposition process should continue
until basic physical components are reached. At this point all
functions are mapped into components in the form of two-
dimensional matrix.

The system failure analysis results in identification of different
failure mechanisms (competing risks) contributing to the
failure of a component to perform a particular function over a
period of time. The failure analysis exercise continues until
one identifies all potential failure mechanisms for different
functional and component interfaces. The mapping of failure
mechanisms adds third dimension to the previously defined
functional and component mapping matrix.

4. RELIABILITY ALLOCATION/DECOMPOSITION

The objective of reliability allocation is to use the reliability
model to assign reliability targets to each sub-system,
functions, and failure mechanisms (competing risks) so as to
achieve a specified reliability goal for the system. Reliability
allocation methods can also be used to estimate components,
functions, and failure mechanism reliabilities when system-
level reliability estimates are available. There are various
issues, which need to be considered carefully in the reliability
allocation/ decomposition process. These issues include the
role of a component performing a required function, the
method of accomplishing this function, the complexity of the
component, damage behavior (failure mechanism) of each
component and function, and contribution of each failure
mechanism to system failure. This problem is further
complicated by the lack of detailed information on many of
these issues early in the product development process. In some
cases, even if the information is available, there is no formal
mechanism to capture and utilize it.

The equal apportionment technique can be used to assign
equal reliabilities to all elements in order to achieve a
specified system level reliability. To consider the complexity
of any element in reliability allocation or the relationship
between elements and system failure, we propose the
following reliability allocation model.
The complexity of each element in the system and their
interface is captured as criticality index and is defined as
relative contribution of each to the system failure. The
numerical value of criticality index, for each candidate, is
calculated based on the information available from different
sources such as warranty data or field failure data from a prior
system, FMEA analysis, and test results of the current system.
The relative frequency distribution of sources/causes
of failure, derived from warranty data, is used to
compute the criticality index. The relative frequency
of the system failure assigned to each failure
source/cause is treated as criticality index.


The FMEA process assigns a criticality number (or
RPN) to each combination of component, function,
and failure mechanism. The criticality index is
computed by normalizing the criticality number (or
RPN) so that the terms add up to 1:

=
i j k
ijk
w 1
For system-level test results, if the cause/source of
failure is reported for each system failure then it can
be used to compute the criticality index. For example,
let n be the total number of system failures and
j
n
be the number of system failures caused by
th
j
component then the criticality index for each
component is computed as:

n
n
w
j
j
= where

=
j
j
w 1. (1)
For any element if 0 =
j
n then allocate very small value to
criticality index, .01 or .001 rather than zero to avoid
allocating reliability 1 =
j
r , which is somewhat unrealistic.
Let ( ) t R
s
be the estimated system reliability then the
allocated reliability estimate
ijk
r for
th
i function,
th
j component, and
th
k failure mechanism (each interface or
cell) in the three-dimensional matrix is given as:
( ) { } [ ]
ijk
w
s ijk
t R r = 1 1 (2)
where p i ,..., 2 , 1 = q j ,..., 2 , 1 = and m k ,..., 2 , 1 = .
The allocated reliability for each element (component or
function or failure mechanism) can be given as:
( ) { } [ ]
i
w
s i
t R r = 1 1
( ) { } [ ]
j
w
s j
t R r = 1 1
( ) { } [ ]
k
w
s k
t R r = 1 1 (3)
1 = = = =

i j k
ijk
k
k
j
j
i
i
w w w w
353 2003 PROCEEDINGS Annual RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY Symposium
Where
i
w ,
j
w ,
k
w , and
ijk
w are defined as criticality
indices of functions, components, failure mechanisms, and
their interfaces respectively.
The transformed failure rate allocation for any element is
given as:

( ) [ ]

t
t R w
s i
ti
ln
=

( ) [ ]

t
t R w
s j
tj
ln
=

( ) [ ]

t
t R w
s k
tk
ln
= and

( ) [ ]

t
t R w
s ijk
tijk
ln
= (4)
Where = t mission time for reliability calculation, and =
shape factor for Weibull distribution.

5. SYSTEM RELIABILITY PREDICTION MODEL

5.1 Failure Time Distribution
The Weibull distribution is often used for the product life
because it describes increasing and decreasing failure rates.
This distribution has proven to be particularly effective in
characterizing the time-to-failure tendencies of mechanical
system. Therefore, the time-to-failure of each element is
assumed to follow the Weibull distribution
(
(

|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
=


t
t t f exp ) (
1
(5)
where is shape factor, and is characteristic life or scale
factor.

5.2 System Reliability
Most of the mechanical systems are modeled as a series
system. The current system under consideration is also
assumed to have a series configuration. Then the reliability of
the series system could be written as:
( ) ( )

= = =
(

)
`

=
p
i
q
j
m
k
ijk s
t R t R
1 1 1
or
( ) ( )

t t R
s
t s
. exp = (6)
Reliability of
th
k failure mode for
th
i function and
th
j
component for mission time t (miles) is given as:
( ) ( )

t t R
ijk
t ijk
. exp = for . 0 t (7)
The transformed failure rate of the system is given as:

= = =
=
p
i
q
j
m
k
t t
ijk s
1 1 1
(8)
The corresponding characteristic life of the system is
expressed as (Ref. 9):

1
1 1 1
1

= = =
)

=

p
i
q
j
m
k
ijk
s
(9)
The system hazard rate at any time t can be given as
( )
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
|
|
.
|

\
|
+ +
|
|
.
|

\
|
=


s ijk
t t t
t
1 1
111
1
... (10)
This model is based on the assumption that the known value
of shape factor is same for all interfaces, components,
functions, and failure mechanisms. The model is applicable
for different known values of with some minor changes in
the equations.

5.3 Prior Distribution
The reparameterized version of the Weibull distribution, the
assumption of the known value, allows us to take gamma
distribution as a prior distribution (Ref. 1). The probability
density function of gamma distribution is given as:

( )
0
0
1
0
) exp(
) (
0 0
a
b b
g
a a


(11)
Where a
0
and b
0
are the two parameters of the prior
distribution. The average transformed failure rate based on the
prior distribution is given as:

i
i
i
b
a
t
0
0
0
= (12)
The new parameters of the posterior distribution are updated
as:

j j j
r a a + =
0 1
and
j j j
T b b + =
0 1

where
j
r represents number of failures of
th
j component or
competing risk and
j
T is total test duration (transformed).

5.4 Sample Size To Achieve Reliability Goal
The number of tests required for a reliability assessment
program at any stage of the product development process
depends on the amount of prior information available and the
reliability target. Since Weibull distribution has been
considered as failure density function that is suitable for
durability type testing to failure strategy. Therefore, the
following formula can be used for calculating the required
number of tests to demonstrate the reliability improvement
target.

|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
L t R
C
L t R
C
N
s
s
s
1
)) ( log(
) 1 log( 1
)) ( log(
) 1 log(
*

|
.
|

\
|
)
`

=
L t R t R
C
s
s
1
)) ( log(
1
)) ( log(
1
) 1 log(
*
(13)
Where C = confidence, L = number of lives to be tested, and
=
s
N additional system level sample size.
2003 PROCEEDINGS Annual RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY Symposium
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The above sample size is based on the current reliability,
reliability target, and confidence we intend to prove.

6. RELIABILITY PREDICTION IMPROVEMENT BY
VARIANCE REDUCTION

6.1 System Variance Decomposition
In order to reduce the system reliability-estimate variance, it is
important to know the contribution of each component/sub-
system. Therefore, the variance decomposition is carried out
to separate the system reliability variance estimate into
decomposed subcomponents that can be assigned or attributed
to individual components. Decomposition of the system
reliability variance is based on a Taylor series expansion of
( ) ( ) ( )
2
, , r t R r t R
s s
and can be approximately represented
as a linear combination of the variance estimates of the
individual components as given in equation (14). For detailed
discussion on derivation and proof, see (Ref. 8 & 11).
( ) [ ] ( ) ( ) ( ) [ ]
2
, , , r t R r t R E r t R Var
s s s

j
j j
2
. (14)
The term
2
.
j j
represents the approximate decrease in the
system reliability estimate variance if
j
r is known with
certainty, i.e., 0
2
=
j

6.2 Component Reliability Variance Estimate:
The posterior gamma distribution expresses the uncertainty
involved in the failure rate distribution after adding new
evidence. We can estimate the variance in transformed failure
rate (
t
) for each component j using gamma parameters of
prior distribution as:

2
2
j
j
b
a
tj
=

and
j
j
t
b
a
j
=
However, to use the above expressions in estimating
component reliability variance, one has to derive an exact
expression for component reliability variance estimate. In
general we cannot obtain close form expression for the
integral of the gamma density function and hence component
reliability variance estimate. Therefore, we suggest using an
upper-bound variance value that can be computed using
equation (15).Coit and Jin (Ref. 8) have also suggested using
upper bound values as a conservative surrogate for unknown
variance or when its difficult to estimate it.

( )
( )( )

known is for LB when , 1 .


known not is for LB if , 1 .
,
2
j j j L j
j j j
j
r r r r
r r r
(15)
Where
Lj
r is the lower bound (LB) of the component
reliability estimate. These upper bound values for variance
estimate assume that
j
r is an unbiased estimate.


6.3 Cost Estimation
The total time required in the testing process and other related
activities will be added to the total cost as one of the cost
components to maintain the simplicity of the model. The total
cost can be calculated as
( ) [ ]
fj j tj vj sj j j
C T C C C n TC + + + = (16)
where
=
j
n Sample size or number of items required for testing
th
j component
=
sj
C Cost of each unit (item) tested
=
fj
C Fixed cost associated for preparing, commissioning or
acquiring the test equipment.
=
vj
C Variable (labor) cost for running the tests
=
tj
C Penalty cost metric assigned to unit time delay due to
additional testing, and
=
j
T Total time required for testing each unit of
th
j
component.

Calculating Sample Size
j
n
The sample size
j
n represents the number of units of
th
j component to be tested to achieve a required reduction in
variance of component reliability estimate
j
r . Assuming
j
r as
binomial-distribution parameter associated with unknown
sample size
j
n . If each component-status (success/failure) is
an independent Bernoulli trial with parameter
j
r , then for a
known (estimated) variance [ ]
j
r Var , a useful pseudo sample-
size is calculated as (Ref. 10):

[ ]
j
j j
j
r Var
r r
n

) 1 .(


(17)
Now to achieve a required reduction in the estimated
component reliability variance, from [ ]
j
r Var to [ ]
j
r Var
*
,
the number of additional items to be tested is given as:

] [
) 1 .(
] [
) 1 .(
*
j
j j
j
j j
j
r Var
r r
r Var
r r
n



(
(


] [
1
] [
1
). 1 (
*
j j
j j
r Var r Var
r r . (18)

6.4 Prioritization Of Reliability Improvement Actions
The prioritization index (PI) that we propose here considers
both cost and time requirements in reliability prediction
improvement efforts along with contribution of component
reliability variance in system reliability variance. The ratio of
2
.
j j
to total cost
j
TC can be used to develop
355 2003 PROCEEDINGS Annual RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY Symposium
prioritization index. This ratio is represented by
j
and given
as:

j
j j
j
TC
2
.
= (19)
The prioritization index ) (
j
is computed by normalizing the
ratio of variance expansion to total cost component so that the
terms add to 1:

=
j
j
j
j

, where

=
j
j
1 (20)

Since time and cost are two major constraints in any
organizational decision making process, we propose to assign
components to priority groups based on availability of
resources. All higher PI components, whose cumulative total
cost is within the range of available resources,
i.e.,


j
j
C TC
are assigned to priority group 1 and the
remaining into priority group 2. Components in priority group
1 are those that require further analysis or testing because the
system reliability estimation variability can be decreased if the
component reliability estimates have lower variance.

7. A CASE EXAMPLE

We consider the hydraulic power rack and pinion steering
system to demonstrate the proposed framework. According to
the inspection and test standards provided by the customer and
failure analysis all reliability and durability tests can be
grouped into four categories to analyze four prominent failure
mechanisms or damage behavior:
Fatigue tests, Wear tests, Strength tests, and Corrosion test.
As a result of physical and functional decomposition we have
considered four sub-systems and four sub-functions of the
steering system. Figure 2 represents the two-dimensional
mapping matrix of these sub-systems and functions. Figure 3
shows the three-dimensional matrix, which maps all three
elements/dimensions of product concept and failure analysis,
i.e., physical, functional, and time or damage behavior (failure
mechanisms).

In the present case we assume that the customer requirement is
that the system must meet a minimum reliability and
confidence level of R95/C90 measured at the equivalent of
100,000 customer miles (mission time). The equal
apportionment of system reliability into function, sub-system,
and failure mode reliabilities sets the target as:

k j i
R R R = = = 0.987.
The warranty data of existing design were used as prior
information and the Weibull distribution parameters, i.e.,
shape factor ( ) and characteristic life ( ) , were estimated
as follows:
Shape factor ( ) = 1.4 and
Characteristic life ( ) = 522525 Miles.
The relative frequency of system failures attributed to each
failure mechanism is treated as criticality index ( )
k
w to
allocate the prior system reliability to different failure
mechanisms or competing risks ( )
k
R . Table-1 shows the
reliability allocation and prior distribution parameters for each
failure mechanisms.

Table 1: Criticality index and prior information parameters

The reliability of each failure mechanism or competing risk is
further allocated to each cell of the three-dimensional matrix
in equal proportion to keep the analysis simple. We could
have differentiated reliability allocation to each cell by
assigning the criticality index to it. The criticality index for
each cell can be calculated by using critical number (or RPN)
from the FMEA document for each interface of function, sub-
system and failure mechanism. For more accurate reliability
decomposition we would encourage reliability engineers to
use FMEA information to calculate criticality index and use it
in reliability allocation. Once reliability allocation is
completed for the three-dimensional matrix, transferring
appropriate values from the matrix can generate the two-
dimensional matrix, which gives component and functional
reliability estimates.
The reliability components are further updated by
incorporating the available evidence of improvement at any
level of the system. The qualitative or fuzzy information
attributed to design changes and modifications are processed
and quantified using fuzzy logic based reliability model
developed by (Ref. 3) to estimate reliability improvement. The
quantified qualitative evidence and test results are given in
Table 2. Figures 2 and 3 illustrate the revised reliability
estimates at design verification stages (DV1) after
incorporating all available evidence, both quantitative and
qualitative. Figure 4 illustrates the reliability growth curve
from the prior model to DV1 phase.

Table-2: Qualitative and quantitative evidence up to DV1
stage



30% 6.91E-09 1.45E+08 16 6 16 8
Strength Tests
(Units)
Quantified qualititative information
Reliability
Improvement
Index
Transformed
Failure Rate
Transformed
Mean Time
To Failure
(MTTF)
Fatigue Tests
(Units)
Wear Tests
(Units)
Test Types
(Quantitative information)
Corrosion
Tests
(Units)
) (RII
) (
t

a b
System - 9.88E-09 3.85 389574711
Fatigue 0.4 3.95E-09 2.3 633022640
Waer 0.25 2.47E-09 2.72 1197766380
Strength 0.2 1.98E-09 3.37 1853587392
Corrosion 0.15 1.48E-09 3.45 2536186853
System/ Failure
mechanisms
Criticality index
()
Prior information
(t)
Prior parameters
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Figure 2: Two-dimensional reliability matrix

Test Plan For Reliability Demonstration
Table 3 presents reliability targets, estimated reliability at
DV1 phase and additional sample size requirement for further
testing for a mission time of 100,000 miles to demonstrate the
required system reliability. The Table gives the test plan for
both system level testing, as well as for individual failure
mechanism or test type. To further understand how this
framework helps in identifying weak spots in the design and
in planning additional tests or corrective actions, consider both
matrices. For example, the estimated reliability of the pinion
housing and rack tube assembly (see the two-dimensional
matrix in Figure 2) is .9905, which is higher than the target
reliability. The major function of the pinion housing and rack
tube assembly is to prevent contamination (corrosion) of other
components. The reliability estimate of this function is still
lower than the target reliability. The other sub-assembly that
supports the same function is bellows and tie-rod and its
reliability estimate is also lower than the target reliability. The
failure mechanism, which is responsible for the failure of this
function, is corrosion. The reliability estimate of corrosion
failure is slightly lower than the target reliability (see Figure
3). The sample size calculation shows that five more units
need to be tested for corrosion/environmental degradation to
achieve the required reliability goal (see Table 3). Since the
reliability estimate of the pinion housing and the rack tube
assembly is even higher than the required reliability goal, the
only candidate for further testing to demonstrate the corrosion
failure reliability is the bellows and tie-rod assembly.
Therefore, five units of bellows and tie-rod assembly should
be subjected to corrosion or environmental testing only.
Likewise, one can easily decide about other test types and sub-
systems subjected to those tests. Failure to achieve the
reliability target after specified units of tests or failure of any
sub-system during testing and the results of further analysis on
the failure should be the criteria for deciding appropriate
design changes or corrective actions.






















Figure 3: Three-dimensional reliability matrix















Figure 4: Reliability growth curve

Table-3: Reliability targets and test plan for reliability growth

Prioritization Plan for Variability Reduction
Table-4 gives the test sample size to achieve 50% reduction in
variance of each competing failure mode reliability estimates
and other cost components. Table-5 gives reliability estimates,
contribution of each failure mechanism in variance (or
uncertainty) of system reliability and prioritization index for
each competing failure mechanism. The reliability estimates
are based on the prior information, available qualitative
information and test results. The system level reliability
estimate is calculated by assuming a series system model or
competing risk model for system reliability (Ref. 9). As shown
Pinion
Housingand
RackTube
Assembly
Rack
Assembly
Valve
Assembly
Bellowsand
Tie-Rod
Assemblies
Functional
Reliability
Transmitssteeringtorquetorackand
convertsit intoaxial force
0.990567414 0.990567414 0.981223802
Maintainspressurizedfluidflowand
assistssteeringeffort
0.992935585 0.992935585 0.985921075
Preventscontaminationandwater
ingression
0.99056741 0.990567414 0.981223802
Turnssteeringwheelsandtires&
supportstierodloadandlinksrackto
outer tierod
0.990567414 0.990567414 0.990567414 0.971968324
Component Reliability 0.99056741 0.97429203 0.97429203 0.981223802 0.922636032
F
u
n
c
t
i
o
n
s
SteeringgearAssembly(System)
System/
Competing
Risks
Target
Reliabilities
Reliabilities at
DV1
Additional
Sample size
System 0.95 0.92 17
Fatigue 0.9872 0.9714 99
Wear 0.9872 0.9786 72
Strength 0.9872 0.9834 41
Corrosion 0.9872 0.9868 5
0.89
0.895
0.9
0.905
0.91
0.915
0.92
0.925
Prior Concept DV
Product development stages
R
e
l
i
a
b
i
l
i
t
y

g
r
o
w
t
h
reliability
Functions Sub-systems
Fatigue
failure
Wear failure
Strength
failure
Corrosion
failure
Reliability
Pinion Housing and
Rack Tube Assembly
Rack Assembly 3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 2.3879E-10 1.4669E-10 0.990567414
Valve Assembly 3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 2.3879E-10 1.4669E-10 0.990567414
Bellows and Tie-Rod
Assemblies
Pinion Housing and
Rack Tube Assembly
Rack Assembly 3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 1.4669E-10 0.992935585
Valve Assembly 3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 1.4669E-10 0.992935585
Bellows and Tie-Rod
Assemblies
Pinion Housing and
Rack Tube Assembly
3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 2.3879E-10 1.4669E-10 0.990567414
Rack Assembly
Valve Assembly
Bellows and Tie-Rod
Assemblies
3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 2.3879E-10 1.4669E-10 0.990567414
Pinion Housing and
Rack Tube Assembly
Rack Assembly 3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 2.3879E-10 1.4669E-10 0.990567414
Valve Assembly 3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 2.3879E-10 1.4669E-10 0.990567414
Bellows and Tie-Rod
Assemblies
3.221E-10 2.40163E-10 2.3879E-10 1.4669E-10 0.990567414
0.9714274 0.978617286 0.98342385 0.98688477 0.922636032
Failure Mechanisms/Modes
Failure mechanism/mode reliability
Transmits steering torque
to rack and converts it into
axial force
Maintains pressurized fluid
flowand assists steering
effort
Prevents contamination
and water ingression
Turns steering wheels and
tires & Supports tie rod
load and links rack to outer
tie rod
357 2003 PROCEEDINGS Annual RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY Symposium
in table-5, the fatigue failure mechanism contribution is
highest in the system-reliability estimate variance followed by
wear.

Table-4: Sample size, time, and cost requirements for 50%
reduction in variance

Table-5: Reliability estimates and variance data for steering
system at DV1

Table-6: Prioritization plan for variance reduction


Table-6 gives the prioritization analysis results. The analysis
shows that wear failure mechanism follows fatigue and
strength in prioritization plan even though its contribution in
the system-reliability estimate variance is more than strength
(overstress) failure. This is due to higher total cost of the wear
test as compared to the strength tests (see Table 4). Assume
that only $500K is available for a reliability prediction
improvement program (pre-determined amount). This means
that test types (failure mechanisms) in the prioritization plan
whose total cumulative cost is within the available resources
limit, i.e., $500K only, will be subjected to more detailed
analyses or additional testing. In accordance with Table 6
results, only fatigue failure mechanisms (fatigue test) should
be assigned to group 1. Reliability of this failure mechanism
should be analyzed further, and more testing should be carried
out.

8. CONCLUSION

The proposed approach for system and reliability
decomposition gives an explicit and separate consideration for
each single point failure, component, function, and failure
mechanism to identify the weakest link in the design for
further action to improve reliability. The variance
minimization plan will increase the confidence in reliability
prediction and reduce the gap between reliability estimates
and actual reliability observed in the field. The allocation of
reliability requirements for the system to each element forces
the design engineers to understand and develop the
relationship between component, function, failure mode, and
system reliability. It forces the design engineer to consider
reliability equally with other system parameters such as
weight, cost, and other performance characteristics.

REFERENCES
1. Martz, H. F.; Waller, R. A. Bayesian Reliability Analysis, John
Wiley & Sons, New York, 1982.
2. Yadav, O. P. et al. A Framework for Reliability Prediction
during product Development Incorporating Engineering
Judgment. To be published in Quality Engineering Vol.15 no. 4,
2003.
3. Yadav, O. P. et al. Reliability Estimation Methodology Using
Fuzzy Logic Approach. Proceedings of the Artificial Neural
Networks in Engineering (ANNIE 2002) Conference, November
10-13, Missouri-Rolla, Missouri, USA.
4. Usher, J.S., Alexander, S.M., and Thompson, J.D., System
Reliability Prediction Based on Historical Data, Quality and
Reliability Engineering International, 6, 209-218 (1990).
5. Wang, C.J., Sample Size Determination of Bogey Tests without
Failure, Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 7,
35-38 (1991).
6. Wang, C.J., and Lu, M-W, A Two-Stage Sampling Plan for
Bogey Tests, Quality and Reliability Engineering International,
8, 29-35 (1992).
7. Goel, P.S., Singh, N. and Kumar, P. A Mathematical Model for
Design and Production Verification Planning, SAE Technical
Paper Series, 1999, Paper Offer No. 992AM-10.
8. Coit, D.W. and Jin, T., Prioritizing System-Reliability
Prediction Improvements, IEEE Transactions on reliability, 50
(1), 2001.
9. Nelson, W. Applied Life Data Analysis, John Wiley & Sons
New York, 1982.
10. Easterling, R.G., Approximate confidence limits for reliability
of complex systems, J. American Statistical Assoc., vol. 67, no.
337, pp. 220-222, 1972.
11. Wheeler, T.A. and Spulak Jr. R.G., The importance of data and
related uncertainties in probabilistic risk assessment, in proc.
ANS/ENS Intl Meeting of Probabilistic Safety Methods and
Applications, 1985, pp. 17-117-9.


BIOGRAPHIES

Om P. Yadav
Department of Industrial and manufacturing Engineering
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202

Om Prakash Yadav is an associate professor at Malaviya Regional
Engineering College, Jaipur (India). He has recently finished his
Ph.D in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
at the Wayne State University, Detroit. He has over 12 years of
teaching, research and consulting experience in India and USA. He
received his B. E. in mechanical engineering from MREC Jaipur and
M.S. in industrial engineering from NITIE Bombay (India). He has
published several research papers in the area of quality, reliability
and manufacturing systems in national and international journals and
conferences.

Components/
Failure Modes
Fatigue 35 $2,000.0 $2,500.0 $450.0 20 50 $435,661
Wear 67 $4,000.0 $2,500.0 $450.0 50 50 $1,834,714
Strength 77 $2,000.0 $2,500.0 $450.0 26 50 $1,192,836
Corrosion 101 $7,500.0 $1,200.0 $400.0 96 50 $4,478,308

i
n fi
C
si
C
vi
C
i
T
ti
C i
TC
Components/
FailureModes
Fatigue 0.9714 0.9434 0.0008008 0.9018 7.22E-04 $435,661 1.66E-09 0.832
Wear 0.9786 0.9639 0.00031458 0.8886 2.80E-04 $1,834,714 1.52E-10 0.076
Strength 0.9834 0.9706 0.00021248 0.8800 1.87E-04 $1,192,836 1.57E-10 0.079
Corrosion 0.9868 0.977 0.00012936 0.8739 1.13E-04 $4,478,308 2.52E-11 0.013

i
r
iL
r
2
i

2
i i

i
TC
( )
i
i i
i
TC
2


= i

Components/
Failure Modes
Fatigue 0.832 $435,661 0.832 $435,661 1
Strength 0.079 $1,192,836 0.987 $3,463,211 2
Wear 0.076 $1,834,714 0.909 $2,270,375 2
Corrosion 0.013 $4,478,308 1.000 $7,941,519 2

Group* i

i
TC
i
i

i
i
TC
2003 PROCEEDINGS Annual RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY Symposium
358
Nanua Singh, Ph.D.
Department of Industrial and manufacturing Engineering
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202

Nanua Singh is a professor and director of Integrated Product
Development Laboratory in the Industrial and Manufacturing
Engineering Department at Wayne State University. Dr. Singh has
over 25 years of experience in teaching, research, industry, and
consulting in India, Canada, and United States. He has published
over 120 research papers in quality, reliability, durability,
manufacturing and product development areas. He is the author and
co-author of three books. His book Systems Approach to Computer
Integrated Design and manufacturing published by John Wiley
received an outstanding manufacturing book award from SME in
1996. Dr. Singh is the Associate Editor of Robotics and CIM
journal and Editor of Product and Process Development division of
the journal.

Parveen S. Goel, Ph.D.
TRW Automotive
Chassis system, EAS,
Sterling Heights, MI, USA

Parveen S. Goel is a Six Sigma Lead Black Belt for Steering and
Suspension Systems Engineering Department of the TRW
Automotive. He has a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and over 12
years of industrial and academic experience in the area of six sigma,
quality, reliability engineering, product design and development. He
has received the TRWs Chairmans award for Innovation in 2002,
and Ford's Customer Driven Quality Awards (CDQA) in 1996 and
1997. Parveen is an active senior member of the ASQ and SAE and
several of review committees. He has received ASQ certification as
a Six-Sigma Black Belt, Quality Engineer (CQE), Auditor (CQA)
and as a Reliability Engineer (CRE). Parveen has published and
presented more than twenty research papers and articles in
international refereed journals and conferences.


359 2003 PROCEEDINGS Annual RELIABILITY AND MAINTAINABILITY Symposium