You are on page 1of 9


• Reliability’ of a unit or a product is the probability that the unit perform its Intended function
adequately for a given period of time under stated operating condition.
• Reliability in its simplest form means the probability that a failure may not occur in a given
time interval.
1. Reputation: A company's reputation is very closely related to the reliability of their products.
The more reliable a product is, the more likely the company is to have a favorable reputation.
2. Customer satisfaction: An unreliable product will negatively affect customer satisfaction
severely. Thus, reliability is a mandatory requirement for customer satisfaction.
3. Warranty costs: If a product fails to perform its function within the warranty period, the
replacement and repair costs will negatively affect profits, as well as gain unwanted negative
4. Repeat business: A concentrated effort towards improved reliability shows existing
customers that a manufacturer is serious about their product, and committed to customer
satisfaction. This type of attitude has a positive impact on future business.
1. Parts improvement method: In parts improvement method, either the reliability of all the
constituent components is improved or the most critical components are5 identified and
their reliabilities are improved.
2. Effective and creative design approach: In this technique the devices are operated at levels
that are below their specified operating limits. Designing excess strength into components or
careful selection of material or parts will decrease the probability of failure. e.g. a material
with a tensile strength of 10000 kg/cm2 may be used where only 7000 kg/cm2 is required.
3. Choice of technology: Choice of technology such as mechanical versus electronic can have
significant effect on reliability, e.g. a mechanical tachometer is more reliable than an
electronic tachometer.
4. System simplification: Reducing the complexity of the system will also reduce the failure rate.
5. Quality control program: Good quality control program, inspection and acceptance sampling
procedures during manufacturing process will increase reliability.
6. Preventive maintenance policies: Once the product becomes operational, failures may be
reduced through preventive maintenance policies.

• A failure is the partial or total loss or change of those properties of a device (or system) in
such a way that its functioning is seriously or completely stopped.
• Some components have Well defined failures; others not. For example, switches and electric
bulb have well defined failures. Either they are good or bad. Such devices are known as two
state devices.
• Devices like voltage-stabilizers, resistors, etc., have a range of operating conditions. The
device is said to have failed only when the operation conditions crosses these limits.

For more visit

1. Misuse failure: These are the failures caused by misuse of a component such as overloading.
2. Inherent-weakness failure: These failures are due to inherent weakness in the component.
3. Catastrophic failure: In catastrophic failure, the component fails suddenly and unexpectedly.
Breaking of car axle or bulb fuse is examples
4. Wear out failure: These are failures occurring due to continuous usage. Wear-out causes are
aging, wear, deterioration, etc.
5. Drift failure: In drift failure, the out-put or performance steadily decreases and eventually
goes below the lower specification limit; hence the failure. If the device is turned off, and if
after a rest period it is turned on, the output comes back to within the successful performance
6. Intermittent failure: In an intermittent failure, for an unknown reason, the performance of
the component stops, but suddenly it comes back to the acceptable performance limits.
1. Poor design (component or system) and wrong-manufacturing techniques: Poor design and
incorrect manufacturing techniques are obvious reasons of low Reliability. Some
manufactures hesitate to invest money on an improved design and modern techniques of
manufacturing and testing. Improper selection of materials is another cause of poor design.
2. Lack of total knowledge and experience: Components and equipments do not operate in the
same manner in all conditions. A complete knowledge of their characteristic, applications and
limitations will avoid their misuse and minimize the occurrence of failures. It is important to
have sufficient knowledge and information about the environment where the component is
being used.


• Reliability specialists often describe the lifetime of a population of products using a graphical
representation called the bathtub curve.
• When failure rate is plotted against time the resulting graph is called as bath tub curve.
• The term ‘bathtub’ arises from the fact that the shape of the curve resembles a bathtub.
• In less technical terms, in the early life of a product adhering to the bathtub curve, the failure
rate is high but rapidly decreasing as defective products are identified and discarded.
• In the mid-life of a product generally, once it reaches consumers the failure rate is low and
• In the late life of the product, the failure rate increases, as age and wear take their toll on the
• The curve represents the observation that the life span of a population of products is
comprised of three distinct periods, viz., initial failure, random failures and wear-out failure.

For more visit

1. Initial failure or Infant mortality: Initial failure or infant mortality are those failures which
take place as soon as the device (or system) is put into operation. When large collections of
units are put into operation, it is likely that there are a large number of failures initially. The
early failures are called initial failure or infant mortality. These failures are primarily due to
manufacturing defects such as weak parts, poor insulation, bad assembly, poor fits, etc.
Fundamentally, these failures reflect the Manufacturability of the product Since defective
elements are removed during the initial failure period. During initial failure period, the hazard
rate decreases over time.
2. Random failures or catastrophic failure or service failures: After initial failures, for a long
period of time of operation fewer failures are report but it is difficult to determine their cause.
They occur due to the sharp change in parameters determining the performance of units
either as a result of change in working stress or environment conditions. Failures during this
period are called random failures or catastrophic failures, eg. sudden failure of a motor bike
bulb. During the catastrophic failure period, the hazard rate is constant over time.
3. Wear-out failure: As the time passes, the units get worn out and begin to deteriorate. There
might be a gradual change in the values of the parameters determining the performance of
the units. When these parameters go beyond die limits of admissibility the unit fails. This
region is called wear-out region. During the wear-out period, the hazard rate increases over
time. The wear-out, or deterioration, results from a number of familiar, chemical, physical,
or other causes, some of which are as follows.

• System reliability stands for the reliability of a system consisting of two or more components.
• It is difficult to estimate the reliability of the system composing of many elements. Following
approach is used to determine the reliability of a system.
1. Reliability of individual components and sub-systems of the system is determined.
2. Manner in which sub-systems and components are arranged in the system is identified,
ie., logical manner in which elements are arranged is represented in a block diagram.
3. Based on the manner in which the sub-systems are connected in the system, the
probability rules are applied to find the system reliability.

For more visit

Types of configurations:
1. Series configuration:
• in series configuration elements or components are arranged in series.
• For the successful operation of the system it is necessary that all units function
• If the successful operation of each unit is independent of the successful operation of the
remaining units (for example heat dissipated by the first unit which may be a resistor
should not affect the performance of remaining units), then system reliability is expressed
as follows.
𝒔𝒚𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒎 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒂𝒃𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚, 𝑷(𝑺) = 𝑷(𝑿𝟏 ) × 𝑷(𝑿𝟐 ) × … .× 𝑷(𝑿𝒏 )

Where P(X1) is the reliability of the first unit.

2. Parallel configuration:
• In parallel configuration, elements or components are arranged in a parallel.
• In parallel configuration, satisfactory functioning of any one of the elements leads the
successful operation of the system.

• If ‘n’ elements are identical and independent of one another, then,

𝒔𝒚𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒎 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒂𝒃𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚, 𝑷(𝑺) = 𝟏 − [𝟏 − 𝑷(𝑿)]𝒏
• If two elements are connected in parallel, then the system reliability is found using the
probability expression.
𝑷(𝒂 𝒐𝒓 𝒃) = 𝑷(𝒂) + 𝑷(𝒃) − 𝑷(𝒂) × 𝑷(𝒃)

3. Mixed configuration:
• In practice, the components of a system are not connected in simple series or parallel.

For more visit


• Life tests are carried out in order to access the useful working life of a product.
• Life testing helps to discover potential problems with the design as early as possible.
• Different approaches to life testing are discussed below.
1. Burn-in testing: These are tests carried out during the initial equipment operational hours.
A relatively high early failure rate is usually due to the variability of the production process.
Burn-in has been long recognized as a useful method for detecting and eliminating systems
with early failures before customer delivery.
2. Test under actual working conditions: In tests under actual working conditions, the
component is subjected to actual working conditions for full duration of life test. This test
is time consuming and is not practical.
3. Accelerated life testing: These tests are conducted under severe operating conditions to
quicken the product failure. The purpose of accelerated life testing is to induce failure at a
much faster rate by providing a harsher environment. In such a test the product is expected
to fail in the lab just as it would have failed in the field, but in much less time. For example,
exposing a circuit to a high voltage and current, subjecting lathe to high vibrations, etc.

• “Standardization is the activity of establishing, with regard to actual or potential problems,

provisions for common and repeated use, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree
of order in a given context”.
• Product standardization is method to reduce costs and increase quality.
• By minimizing the differences in the products, production can be increased with decrease in
raw material costs.
• For example pipes having standard diameters such as 1”(25mm), 1.25”(30 mm),etc., are
available in the market. Pipes having diameters in between these two diameters may not be
available in the market as they are not standard diameters.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization):

• It is a non-governmental organization intended to promote the development of

standardization to facilitate the international exchange of goods and service.
• ISO is composed of 163-member countries.
• The members of ISO are the recognized standard authorities, which also represents their
respective nations. For example, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the
representative of the United States in ISO, and Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) is the
representative of India.
• ISO stipulate certain management practices to be followed for making products and services
conforming to the need of customers.
• ISO standards give specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety
and efficiency.

• The concept of six sigma was developed by Motorola Corporation, USA.

• Six sigma is a quality improvement program with a goal to reduce the number of defects to
as low as 3.4 parts per million.

For more visit

• Six sigma seeks to identify and remove the causes of defects and errors in manufacturing and
business process.
• Most organizations today operate in the three to four sigma range (6,000 - 67,000 Defects
Per Million Opportunities.); moving to 6 sigma is a challenge.
• It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods to accomplish the
• Within business and industry, the sigma value indicates how well a process is performing. A
defect is anything (variation in required characteristic) that may result in customer
• Consider a process that produces one million parts. For this process to meet a Six sigma
quality level, it must produce less than four defective parts (the actual number is 3.4) out of
the million that are produced i.e., DPMO (Defects Parts Per Million Opportunities is 3.4).
• To achieve this task best practice for product development has to be identified. Ultimately,
adopting these practices result in the creation of superior products. Clearly, achieving a Six
sigma quality level represents world-class status.
• Six Sigma is not just a statistical approach to measure variance; it is a process and culture to
achieve excellence.
• Six sigma is aimed at correcting the process to reduce defects, not by adjusting specification
Advantages of six sigma:
1. Six Sigma is driven by the customer and thus aims to achieve maximum customer satisfaction
and minimizing the defects.
2. Implementation of Six Sigma methodology leads to rise of profitability.
3. Six Sigma focuses on prevention on defects rather than fixing it.
Disadvantages of six sigma:
1. Improving product quality can generate capital costs and long-term overhead costs.
2. Six Sigma projects do not work well with goals like lifting employee morale.
3. Six sigma gives emphasis on the rigidity of the process which basically contradicts the
innovation and kills the creativity.

• One popular approach to improving quality is called Total Quality Management (TQM). Total
Quality' Management Is defined in ISO 8402 as the ‘Management approach of an
organization, centered on quality', based on the participation of all its members and aiming
at long term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the
organization and society'.
• Conventional quality management approach focuses on ensuring that the customers get a
defect-free product or service (small q concept).
• It emphasizes inspection to prevent delivering defect products to customers. For this
purpose, management sets up a quality control and quality assurance department to ensure
that specifications are met.
• This approach often leads to a situation where the quality control department becomes
overburdened with the sole responsibility for product quality and attending to customer
complaints in a company; production, marketing or other service agencies of the company
are thus able to avoid the responsibility for any deficiency.

For more visit

• In contrast, TQM approach focuses on the quality of processes that are carried out in the
organization producing and delivering the goods or services to the customer satisfaction (big
Q concept).
• Here, emphasis is on 'customer satisfaction, achieved by making all employees involved in
those. Everyone in-the organization is made responsible for meeting the customers' needs.
• TQM approach is customer oriented whereas conventional 'quality' management is product
Steps in implementing TQM:
1. The company reviews the needs of its customers.
2. The company plans the activities needed to meet these customer needs.
3. The company establishes and stabilizes the processes required to deliver the products and
services needed by the customer.
4. The company implements systems to improve its processes, products, and services.
5. Steps 1-4 constitute a cycle, and may be iterated indefinitely for continuous improvement.
Deming's 14 points (Principles of TQM):
Deming offered 14 key principles for management for transforming business effectiveness. They
are discussed below.
1. Constancy of purpose - Organizations should identify goals on a long-term basis and firmly
take decision to have improvement in product and services to become competitive.
2. Adopt the new philosophy - Management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their
responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
3. Don’t rely on mass inspection - In many companies, it is seen that products are inspected at
every stage to find out the defective products and then to correct them. This means that
company pays the workers money to produce defective items and then to correct them.
Quality should be achieved by improving the process and not just concentrating on inspection
of items.
4. Don’t award business on price - Purchase department usually places orders to a supplier who
has quoted the lowest process. This leads to supplies of low quality.
5. Constant improvement - Improve constantly forever, the system of production and service,
to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease cost. Management should
always look for ways to reduce wastes and improve quality.
6. Training - Many a times worker learns their job from another worker who was never trained
properly and are forced to follow improper instructions. So training sessions should be
7. Leadership - The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to
do a better job.
8. Drive out fear - so that everyone may work effectively for the company. Many employees are
afraid to ask questions if they do not understand the job. Because of this, people will do things
in the wrong way.
9. Break down barriers between departments - People in research, design, sales, and
production must work, as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be
encountered with the product or service.
10. Eliminate slogans and exhortations – (urging someone to do something) for the work force
asking for zero defects. Such exhortations (pressure) create adversarial results.

For more visit

11. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship - People are eager to do a good job but are
disappointed when they cannot, due to misguided supervisors, faulty equipment, defective
materials, etc. These barriers should be removed. The responsibility of supervisors must be
changed from sheer numbers to quality.
12. Eliminate numerical quotas/targets — The quotas take account of only numbers, and not
quality or methods. A person in order to hold his job will meet the quota at any cost without
thinking about the damage caused to the company.
13. Education and self-improvement - Institute a vigorous program of education and self-
improvement. Both management and work force are educated in new methods including
team work and statistical techniques.
14. Put everybody in the company to accomplish the transformation - Workers cannot do all the
work towards achieving company’s goals on their own, nor can managers. The transformation
is everyone's job.
Advantages of TQM
1. Improvement in product quality, product design and product service.
2. Improvement in market place acceptance.
3. It makes the company a leader not a follower.
4. Customers are benefited by having fewer problems with the product, good customer care,
5. Company is benefited by better quality product at reduced cost, good productivity, improved
profitability, reduced quality costs, etc.
Disadvantages of TQM
1. Time needed for implementing TQM is lengthy.
2. Initial cost is more as it involves training of workers, interrupting work.
3. Benefits may not be seen for several years.
4. Workers may feel resistant to change and they will feel insecure about their job.

• Quality circles can be defined as a small group of employees of the same work area, doing
similar work that meets voluntarily and regularly to identify, analyze and resolve work related
• The proposed solutions of various problems are presented to the management for
consideration, approval and implementation.
• A senior officer from the same department (workshop) is nominated as facilitator which
guides the activities of the group. A management committee at senior level is also formed,
which overview the progress of quality circles.
• Training of members and facilities are given to improve the efficiency of the program.
• Quality circles help to build mutual trust and greater understanding between management
and the workers.
Objectives of quality circles
1. To improve the quality and productivity and thus contribute to the improvements and
developments of the enterprise.
2. To reduce the cost of products or services by waste reduction, safety, effective utilization of
resources, avoiding unnecessary errors and defects.

For more visit

3. To identify and solve work related problems that interferes with the production.
4. To permit employees to develop and use greater amount of knowledge and skill and motivate
them to apply them to a wide range of challenging tasks.
5. To improve communication within the organization.
6. To increase employees loyalty and commitment in the organization and its goals.
Advantages of quality circles:
1. Quality circles improve quality, productivity, safety and cost reduction.
2. Quality circles help to build team spirit among workers.
3. Quality circles improve quality of work-life and safety of employees.
4. Quality circles identify work related problems and solve them effectively.
5. Quality circles promote self-development and the mutual developments of their members
through co-operative management.
Limitations of quality circles:
1. The chances of errors increase initially and hence overall productivity may decrease initially.
2. Over-expectation of some employees who are too excited initially may turn to
3. Quality circles may threaten traditional authority structure.
4. Changes in system and control may become necessary

For more visit