HALT Versus ALT
Chris and Adam discussing HALT and ALT. What are these? HALT stands for Highly Accelerated Life Testing. ALT stands for Accelerated Life Testing. They sound very similar. But they are not. HALT is a destructive test regime. In fact, a good HALT plan will involve that product failing many times. This is done by subjecting the product to stresses (vibration, thermal cycling et cetera) well beyond actual operating stresses. Some of the failures this creates will not be relevant. That is, they will simply never occur when the product is used ‘normally.’ But many failures are relevant. And by undertaking HALT, we now have a good idea of which failure mechanisms and modes are likely to occur when it is used normally. And this information is incredibly valuable to a design team. ALT on the other hand starts with a failure mechanism you know about. And in a short period of time, you can predict how long that failure mechanism will cause your product to fail when used normally.
Still confused? Well listen to this podcast.
Dealing with the Occurrence of Failure
Chris and Fred discussing how different organizations deal with failures. Failures are a ‘bad’ thing in that a system doesn’t do what you hoped it would. But what about failures that occur during the design or production process? This is different. If you have scope to improve your system, then failures that you can analyze in a laboratory or test bed are invaluable. They, more than any other event, will help you understand the vulnerabilities of your system. And you must actively seek vulnerability to improve reliability. But if you are looking for failures, you must first admit that your system is vulnerable. And that is difficult for many people to do.
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