A very personal Use Case 7
(Have you been introduced to Use Case 7? )
The Apex Ridge article series covers a diverse set of topics that relate to many of our reader’s work, interests, and experiences. The articles are inspired by industry experiences with the intent of sharing, educating and assisting you with your career challenges and growth. The content is targeted for a diverse audience with backgrounds even extending beyond engineering (Hmm talking to you project and business managers). My hope is that these topics inspire you to have discussions with your colleagues or right in the comments of the series. I look forward to seeing you on-line soon.
A very personal Use Case 7
(Have you been introduced to Use Case 7? )
“Use Case 7” is a concept I am rolling out. Use Case 7 is the way a customer may use your product in a manner that is way beyond anything you expect.
Happy New Year! And thank you for letting us break your stuff to improve your design in 2018. This is a story of when I was NOT invited to break things but did anyway.
When something is working it is easy to just keep going forward. But how do you know things will keep chugging along? Is it worth stopping and asking “Why is this going well?”
I like lock picking “Lock Sport.” Of course I do. It’s a mechanical puzzle. It can also make you look like James Bond when someone forget’s their keys. I continue to challenge myself by getting progressively harder and harder locks. Throughout the years lock designs have come up with some great features to resist being picked. But there is still not one out there that is “pick proof”, so there is always a next level. I would say I am a mid-intermediate in the world of Lock Sport. So any lock that actually has good picking defenses can give me a good struggle.
As a reliability guy I love seeing how stuff works. Was recently given an opportunity to mess around and compare a new product to it’s siblings in a field I love, welding. I recently provided some input on an article release by Superiorglove about types of insulation and heat conduction. Superiorglove is a glove manufacturer that makes about every type of glove you could imagine, many are really impressive industrial applications gloves. I like how much they get into the science of it. In our discussions I used an example of how my TIG welding gloves protect against conductive and radiative types of heat transfer. They informed me that they had a TIG welding glove line and would love if I would review four of their models. I happily accepted because I love to weld, check out how things work and …free gloves.
I had the unbelievable pleasure of piloting a retired 1953 T-34 Air Force plane. The plane is owned by a friend and it has recently undergone a full restoration. A few year ago this model was grounded by the FAA due to an unusual issue. After the investigation the fleet was cleared to fly and the root cause was ruled as “mis-use.” Something many of use may not consider enough when creating our own products.
I just returned from a great conference in Stuttgart called “Reliability Days.” I presented on some new concepts and techniques with regard to assessing and improving reliability culture in the product development process. Enjoy the presentation.
I have heard that “Reliability and Quality are kissing cousins” and also that “Reliability is Quality over time.” Neither of these definitions ring true to me. To be honest I’m a smidge offended because both of these terms diminish the value of the objective of reliability. I would state that reliability is “The design of a device or system so that it works as intended consistently over it’s defined use-life.” To me the key differentiator from my definition and the previous two descriptions of reliability is the word “design.”
We all would like a clear path to achieve what we need. But we all know that it’s not the clear sections of the path where we spend most of our time. In product development many of these events we label as “obstacles” are in fact other individuals.
If these team members are noted as being strong enough to be considered an obstacle that means they have strength. This is a good quality in a team member. If we were to get ourselves headed in “generally” the same direction a lot of progress could be made very quickly.
If you finish the Design Failure Mode Effects Analysis (DFMEA) before the product is out in the field, you have made a horrible mistake. The worst DFMEA that can occur is one that is completed and filed away mid-program. A high value DFMEA is a live tool that has both inputs and directive outputs throughout the program. A tool that is interwoven into the day to day activity of the program. The DFMEA drives actions and aids decisions both technically and in project management. It is updated with design changes that change risk and mitigative strategies.
The formal definition of reliability is …
“The probability that an item will perform its intended function under stated conditions, for either a specified interval or over its useful life.”
The three key terms in this statement are
The effectiveness of “Design for X” (DfX) methodology is often limited by the non-negotiable “freeze” gates in the product development process. Freezes become points of negotiation instead of directing scheduling and resource decisions. Design changes continue past “design freeze” commonly resulting in an inefficient multi-iterative process.
A design freeze is the wrong tool for the job. Design Freeze is a “Put your pencils down” methodology. This leaves no room for input to the decision to halt activity other than what was available when the freeze gate was set. Often a good deal of new information about the design and program has been created between the program creation and the freeze. [Read more…]
I find it interesting when high end brands look to maximize profit by going for the money grab of lowering quality while maintaining price point. It seems so foolishly short sighted. The amountof work that goes into creating a highly reputable brand is extensive and decades in the making. Brands can be tarnished very quick and very difficult to recover. So why do this? A few reasons I have seen:
We’ll the boat saga continues. As I shared she has turned out to be a cruel mistress. Enticing and a thrill at times and then without warnign I get the cold shoulder. So I am going to take a well known reliability strategy with her. Hopefully we can just be in love again with all of our interactions being nothing but bliss. it’s the oldest reliability trick in the book. “Less is More” The less parts you have the less there is to break.
The more I have gone through this fuel injection system the more amazed I am it has worked this long. The main power relays on the motor are automotive i.e. not for a very wet and humid application. Then !!!(this is infuriating) they are mounted upside down so the seams for the protective cover are on top. This is a boat motor compartment. It has water in the bottom that get’s heated up when the motor runs. Then cools off, condensates after use. Over and over again. That is basically a humidity cycling chamber.