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What is failure testing; why is it important?

equipment37875039.jpg Failure testing is an important part of the manufacturing process, no matter what you are manufacturing. Failure testing is a way to ensure that you are producing a product and service that will not fail under different circumstances and situations of stress, weather, temperature, and so on and so forth. Continual failure testing, even after a product is developed, will help you ensure that your manufacturing processes are as optimal as possible and that you are continually improving your products and your services.

When a product or a part or a component fails, then you can examine those failures immediately so that you can correct the problem. When you perform failure testing on a component that has failed, or just to test for potental failure, then you need to correlate your observations of a number of different aspects of the component: the appearance of the component or product, its composition, and its strength. Also keep in mind the design of the product, the operating conditions, the service environment, and the manufacturing history.

Failure testing procedures contain many of the same components and practices as failure analysis. Failure analysis occurs after the fact, but failure testing strives to occur before the fact so that failure can hopefully be avoided by continually testing products and components so that they can be improved before they fail. It would be beneficial to you and your customers if you engage in failure testing on a regular basis, so that you can prevent any future problems. There are a number of different ways that you can go through failure testing; the best approaches to failure testing will be specific to your particular industry. A good overall approach to manufacturing processes, such as lean manufacturing or Six Sigma, will include failure testing as a part of its approach to manufacturing process management.

You will want to ensure that you test the materials of which your parts are made: you will want to take into consideration material composition, the macro structure and the micro structure of the particular component, the distribution of hardness, the mechanical properties of the component, how well the component or the product resists corrosion, what happens when the product is put into prolongued contact with salt, the effect of humidity on the product or the component, different environmental exposures, and what happens when the product is confronted with abrasives. You will also want to look carefully at fatigue (you should be able to test your products and components in some sort of expediated and heightened fatigue test), fracture testing, the flexural, yield, and ultimate strength of your product or component, the impact strength and corrosion resistance of every component of your product, and more.

Failure testing will help you ensure the quality of your products and your services. Regular failure testing will be a preventative measure, rather than a necessarily corrective measure that occurs after the potentially catastrophic fact. Quality within a business is usually defined in terms of the relation between the customer, the process or product, and the business. Quality itself is actually not necessarily just the quality of the product--is it good, is it pretty, is it broken--but also has to do with the relationship between customer and process or product and the process that is used to create and maintain that relationship. This relationship is maintained by continual analysis and assessment, and also by anticipating and then making sure that all needs of the customer, of the process, of the employees, and the business are met.

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Posted by DF
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