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Old 23rd October 2012, 16:29   #1
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Default Wired.com Article on Part Failure, Testing & Reliability

A super article on why products fail with a focus on Auto Industry and Ford as a case study.

Quote:
Since 2004, Ford has upped reliability—and has saved a billion
Quote:
To ensure that parts easily surpass warranty claims (and hopefully ensure that buyers feel they own a reliable product), Ford aims to have everything last 10 years.
Quote:
basic warranties cost US manufacturers $24.7 billion
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Old 23rd October 2012, 18:29   #2
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Default re: Wired.com Article on Part Failure, Reliability & Warranties

Nice article. Thanks for sharing.

In the Indian context, often design conditions are very different from real conditions. That is because most design simulation S/W or testing equipment used to be calibrated for developed countries. In late 90s, often there used to be debates between R&D and marketing teams on this aspect, often without too much real data.

I am sure things are much better now.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 19:27   #3
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Default re: Wired.com Article on Part Failure, Reliability & Warranties

Very interesting article, thanks for sharing.

My first thought on reading this article was, "my next car should be a Ford", but then I held myself back with another thought - "Ford can't be the only one doing this, many other manufacturers would also be doing this!"

So, do you have any idea on the similar data from other manufacturers, this article only talks about Ford, and compares it with Microsoft! and not with other car manufacturers, doesn't seem right (no offense meant, my personal opinion)

Thanks again for the article.
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Old 24th October 2012, 18:13   #4
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Default Re: Wired.com Article on Part Failure, Testing & Reliability

Brilliant article, thanks for sharing . Liked the report & style of writing so much that I'm going to add Wired.com to my Google Currents App.

When I read this line:

Quote:
It’s a test of the whole accelerator assembly, but engineers are focused on one simple part—the hinge that connects the gas pedal to the frame.
I wondered : Hasn't Ford figured it out after 100 years of making cars? Then, I read this line which made sense:

Quote:
It’s not just that Ford wants a hinge that won’t break. It needs a hinge that’s as durable as possible while also staying as light and inexpensive as possible.
I found this sentence particularly interesting:

Quote:
To ensure that parts easily surpass warranty claims (and hopefully ensure that buyers feel they own a reliable product), Ford aims to have everything last 10 years.
Just like planned obsolescence. Except for Japanese cars, I can't think of too many others that work reliably even after 10 years of running. I would have liked the article to talk more about the Japanese way of manufacturing, and how Jap manufacturers of cars and electronics achieve stupendously high levels of reliability.

Makes me wonder, Mercedes obviously knows about the high failure rate of its electronics, as Tata would of its poor mechanical durability & VW / Skoda the DSG gearboxes. Why can't they finally come around to solving these issues once and for all? To a car maker, reputation is everything, and these brands are taking things very carelessly.

Couldn't get beyond page 3 of the l-o-n-g article. Saved the balance for tomorrow's lunch read.

A read like this just really makes my day. Thanks again for sharing the link.

Last edited by GTO : 24th October 2012 at 18:21.
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Old 24th October 2012, 19:02   #5
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Default Re: Wired.com Article on Part Failure, Testing & Reliability

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Makes me wonder, Mercedes obviously knows about the high failure rate of its electronics, as Tata would of its poor mechanical durability & VW / Skoda the DSG gearboxes. Why can't they finally come around to solving these issues once and for all? To a car maker, reputation is everything, and these brands are taking things very carelessly.
It's all about R&D budgets. Spending money on new exterior design, interiors, suspension, engine etc gives results as soon as a new model is out.

However, R&D investments in making parts more reliable gives results only after 10+ years - when customers start noticing that a particular brand's car has suddenly become a lot more reliable. I think budgets for "long term goals" are being spent on making a car lighter or reducing emissions or increasing power.

Why?

Because it is marketable.

All new 100% Aluminum Body
Green Efficiency Technology for improved mileage

Try talking about a "process" or "technology" to make a gearbox more reliable in your marketing brochure!
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Old 25th October 2012, 12:31   #6
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Default Re: Wired.com Article on Part Failure, Testing & Reliability

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Try talking about a "process" or "technology" to make a gearbox more reliable in your marketing brochure!
Well everything that grabs eyeballs makes it to the brochure. Do you really think the reason we know BMW paints the underside of the brake pedals of its cars with 7 coats is a design decision and not a marketing gimmick ?

Or take the case of marketing ipads/iphones when CNC machines have 'suddenly' become cool!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Except for Japanese cars, I can't think of too many others that work reliably even after 10 years of running.
I bet most of those examples are over-engineered to the boot( no pun intended ). There is an old adage in design that says - Automobile designers talk in kilograms, Aircraft designers talk in grams and Space shuttle designers talk in milligrams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Why can't they finally come around to solving these issues once and for all? To a car maker, reputation is everything, and these brands are taking things very carelessly.
I guess the reason in most cases it's due technical limitations and/or complexity. As a mechanism becomes complex, the ability predict the output ' accurately ' decreases by a higher order. Or in other cases, it is not worth the effort ( due to demand, product positioning etc )
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Old 25th October 2012, 16:30   #7
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Default Re: Wired.com Article on Part Failure, Testing & Reliability

Excellent article. Definitely worth a read.

Japanese are claimed to manufacture the most reliable autos. If the Ford case is anything to go by, the Japs would perhaps want their products to last more than a decade. Yet why then do the standard warranties in India are hinged around 2 +/- years or 40k km. I can understand the gap between real world and testing environment but surely an 80% discount (from 10years) from their test is not appealing.

And then the offer paid warranties like a risk premium.
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