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Today's manufacturers face increasingly intense global competition. To remain profitable, they are challenged to design, develop, test, and manufacture high reliability products in ever-shorter product-cycle times and, at the same time, remain within stringent cost constraints. Design, manufacturing, and reliability engineers have developed an impressive array of tools for producing reliable products. These tools will continue to be important. However, due to changes in the way that new product-concepts are being developed and brought to market, there is need for change in the usual methods used for design-for-reliability and reliability testing, assessment, and improvement programs. This tutorial uses a conceptual degradation-based reliability model to describe the role of, and need for, integration of reliability data sources. These sources include accelerated degradation testing, accelerated life testing (for materials and components), accelerated multifactor robust-design experiments and over-stress prototype testing (for subsystems and systems), and the use of field data (especially early-production) to produce a robust, high-reliability product and to provide a process for continuing improvement of reliability of existing and future products. Manufacturers need to develop economical and timely methods of obtaining, at each step of the product design and development process, the information needed to meet overall reliability goals. We emphasize the need for intensive, effective upstream testing of product materials, components, and design concepts


This preprint has been published in IEEE Transactions on Reliability 44 (1995): 187–198, doi:10.1109/24.387370.