When we go to an automobile race such as the Indianapolis 500, watching those cars circle the track can get fairly boring. What is secretly unspoken is that everyone observing the race is watching for a race car to find and sometimes exceed a limit, finding a discontinuity. The limit could be how fast he enters a curve before the acceleration forces exceed the tires coefficient of friction, or how close to the racetrack wall, he can be before he contacts it and spins out of control. Using the race analogy, Continue reading For Maximum Test Value, Take it to the Limit!
Some many years ago I ran across a data sheet for a cooling fan (used to cool a desktop computer, for example) that listed the fan’s life as 50,000 hours MTBF. The big bold lettering was on the data sheet and was the only use of bold on the entire data sheet. One couldn’t miss it. The computers we used these fans within had a one year warranty, plus were expected to operate for a home computer user for about 5 years. Thus, we would expect the fan to also operate for five years without failure. Continue reading Datasheet MTBF
After a discussion with a client this morning, and their motor vendor’s reliability engineer asked for a reference for a sample size calculation formula I recommended, I had a short email exchange with said reliability engineer. In my note with the references, I included an aside with a link to this site. He liked the site and agreed that MTBF was often Continue reading MTBF Eradication
Now for something completely different. Roaming the net looking for an interesting advertisement or data sheet with a ‘great’ (i.e. bad) example of the mis use of MTBF, ran across that MTBF is actually being used by at least one government for department budgeting.
This is bad. Continue reading Pakistan budgets with MTBF
Most of us have seen reliability specified using a requirement like the following:
The Zeus 5000 SUV shall have an MTBF of 144,269.5 miles with a 90% confidence.
Some readers may not have seen reliability requirements specified in any other way. What they have always seen has read something like: The widget shall have an MTBF of X with a Y% confidence. This reliability requirement structure is rather ubiquitous Continue reading The Worst Reliability Requirement
I must not MTBF. MTBF is the mind-killer. MTBF is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my MTBF. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the MTBF has gone there will be nothing. Only Reliability will remain.
- Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. (with apologies)
When conducting a Human Reliability Assessment (HRA) we use the terminology: errors of commission or errors of omission. It behoves every professional to question why we focus upon one metric in preference to all others, in an objective and constructive manner in order to discern whether we are exposing our organization to errors of professional omission or commission. Obviously the other conclusion is that we are doing the right thing and this is also an empowering piece of knowledge. Continue reading Shaping Organizational Behavior