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Ten Essential Skills for Electrical Engineers by Barry Dorr

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4

HOW TO USE STATISTICS TO ENSURE A MANUFACTURABLE DESIGN

A manufacturable product is one that can be easily reproduced hundreds or thousands of times on the manufacturing floor and, when placed in service, perform properly and not be excessively prone to failure. Design for manufacturability (DFM) is a valuable skill because it prevents expensive and time-consuming design changes, production line changes, warranty expenses, and damage to the company’s reputation.

After a product is designed, it is common to build a small number of prototype units. These units are used for debugging and testing, but since they represent only a small statistical sample, they are not sufficient for establishing whether the product is actually manufacturable. Fortunately component manufacturer’s datasheets include information about the variability of their parts so that designers can estimate failure probabilities when hundreds or thousands of the parts are used. This chapter will help you understand the manufacturer’s specifications and show how to estimate failure probabilities of systems consisting of multiple parts. These techniques will help you design products that will succeed both on the manufacturing floor and ultimately in the hands of your customers.

Technical interviews usually cover basic statistics because most companies have had experiences with products that failed because they could not be reliably manufactured. Making design changes once a product is on the manufacturing floor is ...

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