Do you know that all product designs are not error-free? Most of the designs fail at some point. This chance of failure is the reason why Reliability Engineering is essential. It is an indispensable tool in the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) program. Reliability Engineering is used to identify sectors of product improvement by identifying the possible failure areas of a product and offering ways to prevent them.
Engineers from various disciplines such as Reliability Improvement, Quality, Systems, and Test Engineering perform the product test. They analyze product reliability in many different ways to determine the possible product failure regions and offer corrective measures. The critical point is to detect potential product failures at the earliest possible production stage, to nip the problem in the bud.
Reliability Engineering is an ongoing activity that takes place in every stage of the product life cycle. The purpose of the field is to answer two fundamental questions. One is ‘what will fail in the design or system?’ and ‘when will it fail?’ is the second question.
Why are Reliability Engineers in Demand
To understand the importance of Reliability Engineering better, one has to know what a Reliability Engineer does. Primarily, a Reliability Engineer’s function is to perform a systematic evaluation and management of a system. A system is something that refers to the process, people, and product.
The focus of a Reliability Engineer’s role is mostly on physical assets such as equipment, development, and machines. In other instances, his focus is on the product. Overall, the Reliability Engineer has to employ tools for analysis in understanding the Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). The above are the reasons why Reliability Engineers are in huge demand in the industry.
Skills of a Reliability Engineer
Efficient Reliability Engineers possess specific skills that are suitable for the role. These professionals are present in every industry where reliability improvement of a product or system is needed.
Generally, Reliability Engineers must have a strong foundation in Engineering, a solid background in Reliability and Maintenance, and an admirable track record. However, Reliability Engineers are not easy to find, and most universities do not produce them.
Usually, of the three qualifications, you may find a person who has only one. There are many people with a strong foundation in Engineering, but who lack experience in the other two disciplines. To address this skills mismatch, some organizations invest in their Reliability Engineers. They offer training programs to develop Reliability Engineers from the pool of suitable associates.
Also, some universities and colleges offer specialized programs to train Engineers and technical people in Reliability and Maintenance. One of these educational institutions is the College of Engineering of the University of Tennessee (UT) which also trains students for exams like CLEP, DSST, etc, and also offers study material like the CLEP Study Guide for the exam.
There is a common question about the work of a Reliability Engineer. You must be aware that, by international standards, reliability is a probability and never a certainty that a specific system or product will function as per expectations. So, how exactly does a Reliability Engineer improve reliability, when reliability itself is only a probability?
You must note that the keyword here is the word “probability.” The role, therefore, of a Reliability Engineer is to enhance the performance of a particular unit, either a product or system, to make it function for the longest possible tenure, without failure, under certain conditions.
Every Reliability Engineer knows that most of his work takes place during the Production phase, in detecting every possible failure.