Your team knows what Operation Within Specification (OWS) is for its product. This is the set of performance limits confirmed in the laboratory using API product standards. These limits help establish the ratings for parameters such as pressure, mechanical load, operating temperature, and other parameters found in operating manuals.
Laboratory testing confirms that the product meets specifications. But will the product exceed expectations? Should the OEM set expectations, or will end-users set them? And how can the product be designed to exceed expectations? To know how to design the downhole completion product to exceed expectations, the team must first ask questions such as:
- What conditions must our product survive during handling, transportation, and storage?
- How can the product be abused or neglected, and how would it respond?
- What extreme or survival loads will the product experience?
- Does the product offer redundancy or contingency operation?
- What are the consequences of failure for the end-user?
I refer to this approach as Designing for Reality, or DfRe. The objective of DfRe is to enhance a product that already meets specifications by adding predictable response in terms of survivability, redundancy, contingency operation, failure modes, and other aspects beyond OWS. Regardless of the product, the idea is to avoid unintended responses to real-world inputs – i.e., the reality of the application. In addition to Exceeding Expectations, this series includes articles on:
- The Statement of Requirements, or SoR
- Service Life
- Designing with Margin
This is the 1st of six articles on Design for Reality for downhole tools and systems.