Design for Reliability

Most companies already practice reliability engineering within design, whether formally or informally. However, implementing a structured reliability programme can significantly improve your business. Through our DFR capabilities, we can help you reduce returns and warranty costs, enhance quality assurance and comply with latest standards.

Software and Consulting

We believe that performance and time to market is significantly improved by integrating reliability into product and process development from its earliest design stages, whether safety-critical industrial equipment or consumer items.

As a reliability consultancy, training organisation and channel partner for the leading ReliaSoft software, we can assist the creation, development and enhancement of structured Design for Reliability processes or undertake DFR tasks on behalf of clients. For clients without the short-term capacity to develop an in-house reliability engineering capability, we can look after the entire reliability project including on-site secondments as appropriate.

Our capabilities include Failure Modes Effects (Criticality) Analysis (FMEA/FMECA) facilitation, life data analysis (Weibull), MTBF studies, Accelerated Life Testing (ALT), warranty analysis, system-level analysis with Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) and Reliability Block Diagrams (RBDs) and reliability growth prediction.

We support many FMEA industry standards, including SAE J1739, IEC 60812, MIL-STD-1629A and ISO 14971.  For standard-based reliability assessments, we are highly familiar with  MIL-HDBK-217F, Bellcore/Telecordia & FIDES in addition to other standards such as MIL-M-38510, NPRD-95 and EPRD-97.

To help acquire and manage reliability, quality, safety and risk management data from multiple locations, we have implemented ReliaSoft-based FRACAS / DRACAS web-based systems within client sites that integrate seamlessly with their DFR tools.

We can also use our in-house Engineering Simulation capabilities to help predict, understand and resolve failure modes.



Methodologies designed to identify potential failure modes for a product or process before the problems occur.

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) and Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) are methodologies designed to identify potential failure modes for a product or process before the problems occur, to assess the risk associated with those failure modes and to identify and carry out measures to address the most serious concerns.

Our Reliability Engineers have extensive experience of hosting FMEA and FMECA workshops in the Design, Process or Functional context. The workshops are performed to Industry specified requirements either as stand-alone activities or pre-cursors to RCM or Fault Tree activities.

Life Data Analysis / Accelerated Life Testing

Estimate life characteristics of a product such as reliability or probability of failure at a specific time.

Due to the long life-times of today’s products it can be difficult for an engineer to analyse the time-to-failure data obtained under normal operating conditions. However, Life Data Analysis (Weibull Analysis) enables you to predict the life of a product by fitting a statistical distribution to life data from a representative sample of units. This data set can then be used to estimate important life characteristics of the product such as reliability or probability of failure at a specific time, the mean life and the failure rate

In typical life data analysis, the practitioner analyzes life data from a sampling of units operated under normal conditions. This analysis allows the practitioner to quantify the life characteristics of the product and make general predictions about all of the products in the population. For a variety of reasons, engineers may wish to obtain reliability results for their products more quickly than they can with data obtained under normal operating conditions. As an alternative, these engineers may use quantitative accelerated life tests to capture life data under accelerated stress conditions that will cause the products to fail more quickly without introducing unrealistic failure mechanisms.

Our Reliability team supports clients through a number of Life Data Analysis and Accelerated Life Testing activities including Warranty Analysis, advice and recommendations on what data to be capturing to enable Life Data Analysis, Determining product reliability, product mean life or failure rate to support System Reliability Modelling. Our engineers support the development of Product Test planning, the determination of the number of samples to be tested and the level to which stressor levels are to be applied.

System Reliability Modelling

Improve or optimise overall system reliability, maintainability and/or availability using logic diagrams.

A system is a collection of subsystems, assemblies and/or components arranged in a specific design in order to achieve desired functions with acceptable performance and reliability. The types of components, their quantities, their qualities and the manner in which they are arranged within the system have a direct effect on the system’s reliability. Therefore, in addition to the reliability of the components, the relationship between these components is also considered and decisions as to the choice of components can be made to improve or optimize the overall system reliability, maintainability and/or availability. This reliability relationship is usually expressed using logic diagrams, such as reliability block diagrams (RBDs) and/or fault trees.

Supporting both product design and asset management functions, our Engineers develop and analyse system Reliability Block Diagrams and Fault Trees, usually as part of a Reliability project. These models can be made-up from a variety of sources of data from standards-based libraries, to real-world test/field data or from Supplier’s product technical specification data.

Using exact computations or discrete event simulation, our Engineers use ReliaSoft’s BlockSim software to undertake a wide variety of analyses for both repairable and non-repairable systems. This includes reliability analysis, reliability optimization, and sensitivity studies, exploring the effect of redundancy on improved reliability against increased cost.

Standards Based Prediction

Predict reliability for systems and components (mostly electronics) based on failure rate estimates.

Standards based reliability prediction is a methodology for predicting reliability for systems and components (mostly electronics) based on failure rate estimates published by globally recognized military or commercial standards. Standards based reliability prediction is especially useful in the initial stages of development when hard failure data is not yet available or when manufacturers are obliged contractually by their customers to use published standards for their reliability predictions.

Using ReliaSoft’s Lambda Predict software, our engineers can predict the reliability of your system to several standards including: MIL 217, FIDES, Bellcore/Telcordia; Siemens SN29500 and NSWC. Results are often subsequently used in System Reliability Models where test or manufacturer’s data is unavailable

Reliability Growth Analysis

Apply reliability growth models to analyze data from both developmental testing and fielded repairable systems.

ReliaSoft RGA allows you to apply reliability growth models to analyse data from both developmental testing and fielded repairable systems. In the development stage, the software allows you to quantify and track the system’s reliability growth across multiple test phases, while also providing advanced methods for reliability growth projections, planning and management. For systems operating in the field, RGA allows you to calculate optimum overhaul times and other results without the detailed data sets that normally would be required for repairable system analysis.

Working with Reliability and Test Engineers, our Reliability team can support the development of reliability goals, processes and test plans, thereby providing confidence in reliability growth projections and calculating optimum overhaul times for repairable systems.


Report failures and/or defects and track their corrective actions

Failure Reporting Analysis and Corrective Action System and Defect Report Analysis and Corrective Action System are commonly used terms for a system that is used to report failures and/or defects and track their corrective actions. Other commonly used names include DRACAS (Data Reporting Analysis and Corrective Action System), DCACAS (Data Collection Analysis and Corrective Action System) and CAPA software (Corrective And Preventive Action software).

For every installation of ReliaSoft’s XFRACAS software for FRACAS or DRACAS applications, our Reliability team works closely with our Clients to help configure and implement the software into the Client’s FRACAS/DRACAS processes. Our team can help develop the process if one isn’t already in place.

A key aspect of our work is the mass import of data into the XFRACAS system from external sources using a number of Data Analytics methods and the management of data that can interact with other Client systems.

The DfR Process

Design for Reliability (DfR) can be described as a systematic, streamlined, concurrent engineering programme that supports product and process design (typically from early in the concept stage all the way through to product obsolescence) to ensure that customer expectations for reliability are fully met throughout the life of the product with low overall life-cycle costs. It relies on an array of reliability engineering tools along with a proper understanding of when and how to use these tools throughout the design cycle.

The DFR process encompasses a variety of techniques and practices, describing the overall order of deployment that an organisation needs to follow in order to design reliability into its products. This process is supported by ReliaSoft software, comprising tools that integrate for storing and transferring data between applications through a centralised database.

Example Projects

  • Standards based prediction using MIL-HDBK-217F for satellite components and military runway landing lights

  • Reliability Gap Analysis, Life Data Analysis and Design for Reliability review for LED lighting

  • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) on automotive active roll control system

  • Design FMEA, parts count prediction and Accelerated Life Testing (ALT) on LED based train signalling system

  • Life Data Analysis of of high performance air flow sensors for wind turbines

  • Reliability support for incorporating API RP 17N standard within subsea production

  • FMECA and standard based reliability predictions for aircraft control system

  • Weibull Analysis on an articulated dump truck

  • Risk population studies on casting components

  • Root Cause Analysis (RCA), gap analysis, training & implementation support for haemodialysis equipment

  • Design for Reliability assessments and warranty predictions for domestic heating boilers

  • Training to improve the efficiency of ‘burn in’ activities within electronic components and systems

Our Approach to DfR Strategy Improvement

Design for Reliability improvement strategies often combine services and mentoring with investment in appropriate software. We typically start with a Reliability Gap Analysis to identify a client’s current DFR methodology and identify any weaknesses or opportunities for enhancement.

A Gap Analysis is an opportunity to conduct an in-depth holistic analysis at a strategic and technical level normally involving a larger number of stakeholders within your business than a typical consultation.

How Can We Support Your DfR Objectives?

Please contact us or complete the form opposite for an informal, no-obligation discussion of your requirements.

From an initial phone call we can often give you an idea of price and time scales.

With subsequent details, we can then send you some solution ideas, scopes of work and a formal quotation.

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