Do these tests measure inherent reliability or achieved reliability?

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1. Select a situation in your life, use whatever “market research” techniques are appropriate, and define a set of customer attributes for the situation. Examples to get you started are as follows: purchasing textbooks for the term, registration at a new college, getting your car fixed, going on an international vacation. For each situation, determine a set of technical requirements. Do not repeat your classmates’ situation.
2. Prepare a Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (DFMEA) for a situation from your own experience. Clearly explain and justify your choices for the severity, likelihood, and detection ratings. Define the effect of the failure on the customer, potential causes, and corrective actions. Do not repeat your classmates’ situation.
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Testing Audio Components at Shure, Inc.38
Shure Incorporated is a global, privately held company headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, with manufacturing facilities in Illinois, Texas, and Mexico, and sales offices in Germany and Hong Kong. Shure’s mission is to deliver high-performing, quality, rugged and reliable audio products, and to provide superior customer service and support. Shure’s philosophy is to be market-driven and customer-focused in their chosen markets. Each market segment has its own quality and reliability needs:
• Performance Audio: Musical performers and those who record and monitor their work on stage or in the studio. Anyone who has attended a rock concert can attest to the rough treatment microphones receive from the entertainers, some actually throwing them across the stage.
• Presentation and Installation Audio: Anywhere a sound system is installed, such as houses of worship, hotels, conference rooms, clubs, theaters, and auditoriums. Many users are unfamiliar with the acoustical characteristics of the equipment they are using and sound technicians are often not on site, so the equipment really needs to run by itself.
• Radio and TV: Broadcast industry both in studio and on location in the field. Technicians need to have total confidence in the equipment they are using on a live, remote broadcast, because they cannot go back and redo that on-the-spot interview.
• Consumer Market: Phonograph cartridges and low-cost microphones, including audiophiles, hip-hop DJs, and home recording. Scratch DJs literally take a record and pull it back and forth to the beat of a song, causing tremendous pressure on the phonograph stylus.
• Mobile Communications: Audio subsystems, such as hands-free cellular, within the automotive environment. Microphones need to perform in a variety of temperatures.
S. N. Shure began the company by launching a one-man operation in 1925 that sold radio parts kits. It was the microphone that marked the company’s entry into manufacturing in 1932, and the micro- phone remains Shure’s flagship product to this day. Because of its emphasis on engineering research, Shure products became known early on for their out- standing quality and durability. During World War II, Shure was awarded a U.S. government contract to provide microphones to the military and needed to meet strict specifications for performance and rugged- ness. Shure took the extra step to develop a rigorous in-house testing program that remains in place today.
In addition to microphones (both wired and wire- less) and phonograph cartridges, Shure manufactures a number of other audio electronics products, including mixers, digital signal processors, personal monitoring systems, and digital feedback reducers. Shure’s quality philosophy is reliability oriented. Products are tested for reliability well beyond the warranty period, with the goal of providing the customer long-term service and satisfaction. Testing is designed to simulate actual operating conditions. Shure has more than 80 test procedures in place. The following are a few examples:
• Microphone Drop Test: To determine whether a microphone is capable of dynamic shock stress. Initial performance data are taken on the mic. Then the mic is dropped numerous times onto a hardwood floor from a height of 6 feet at random angles. The mic is “talked out” after every two drops. After the drop tests, level and response are tested and compared to the initial data. Any unit not meeting original print specifications is considered a failure.
• Perspiration Test: To evaluate the corrosion resistance of painted/plated parts exposed to an acid solution simulating sweat. Parts are placed in a perspiration chamber that consists of a stand sup- porting the parts over a large glass jar containing acid solution. Parts are inspected daily for amounts of corrosion for a period of seven days. Parts are then compared to good control parts to determine amount of corrosion present.
• Cable and Cable Assembly Flex: To ensure that any cable that would normally be subjected to random twisting motion under tension will meet field requirements. Cable flex test equipment provides for two independent motions: rocking motion and rotation and twisting motion and rotation. Cables not meeting flex life specification are considered a failure.
• Sequential Shipping: To evaluate the packaging effectiveness and mechanical integrity of the product under simulated shipping conditions. This test is used for all Shure products. Products packaged for shipping are given the following tests, in order: drop test, vibration test, and rough handling test. When the product is removed from its packaging, it must appear and operate as new. If appropriate, an electrical test is performed and compared to initial electrical test data.
• Cartridge Drop and Scrape Test: To determine ability of stylus to withstand accidental drops and side
impacts. A cartridge mounted in a tone arm is dropped onto a moving record at least 100 times. The cartridge is scraped across a moving record 100 times. This test simulates and exceeds any abuse given to the cartridge and stylus in normal use.
• Temperature Storage: To determine ability to withstand extreme temperatures for extended periods of time. Initial performance data are taken. For high temperature, the product is placed in a preheated high temperature chamber for seven days. The product is allowed to stabilize at room temperature for 24 hours and then the same performance data are taken. For low temperature, the product is placed in a low temperature chamber for seven days, allowed to stabilize to room temperature for 24 hours, and tested.
By performing these and other rigorous tests, Shure consistently meets its goal of exceeding customers’ product performance and reliability expectations.
Key Issues for Discussion
1. Describe how the definition of reliability presented in this chapter applies to the performance tests described here. Do these tests measure inherent reliability or achieved reliability?
2. For the examples of product testing provided in this case, discuss what quality/reliability measurements might be taken and how the data might be analyzed. For example, are the measurements attributes or variables? Would they be analyzed using descriiptive statistics, Pareto charts, and so on?

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