Rel_MTBF - "Reliability and MTBF Overview Prepared by Scott...

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"Reliability and MTBF Overview" Prepared by Scott Speaks Vicor Reliability Engineering
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2 of 10 Introduction Reliability is defined as the probability that a device will perform its required function under stated conditions for a specific period of time. Predicting with some degree of confidence is very dependant on correctly defining a number of parameters. For instance, choosing the distribution that matches the data is of primary importance. If a correct distribution is not chosen, the results will not be reliable. The confidence, which depends on the sample size, must be adequate to make correct decisions. Individual component failure rates must be based on a large enough population and relevant to truly reflect present day normal usages. There are empirical considerations, such as determining the slope of the failure rate and calculating the activation energy, as well as environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, and vibration. Lastly, there are electrical stressors such as voltage and current. Reliability engineering can be somewhat abstract in that it involves much statistics; yet it is engineering in its most practical form. Will the design perform its intended mission? Product reliability is seen as a testament to the robustness of the design as well as the integrity of the quality and manufacturing commitments of an organization. This paper explains the basic concepts of reliability as it applies to power supplies manufactured by Vicor.
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