Improving Reliability and Lowering Lifetime Costs

October 31, 2016- Understanding lifetime costs requires a deep knowledge of the reliability of all the components in the system. Lifetime costs are heavily dependent on the need to service and maintain components – apart from the cost of replacement parts, the cost of labor required to effect repairs can be substantial. In most applications, and certainly in mission-critical ones, costs resulting from being out-of-service can easily dwarf repair costs.

To understand reliability, since there are many potential failure mechanisms, exposing parts to real-world stresses is required. Careful analysis of failures in the field is key to an ongoing continuous improvement program, where product changes are driven by observed failures. These can lead to significant increases in reliability, quality, performance and lower costs. Kinematics Manufacturing continuously monitors field data, and we implement improvements in our products based on this analysis.

Field data relevant to your application or product may not always be available. The science of reliability engineering began to evolve in the early 1800’s, and today we have robust tools and methods for predicting reliability of new products based on accelerated life testing. Accelerated life testing is the process of testing a product by subjecting it to conditions (duty cycle, stress, temperatures, voltage, vibration, etc.) in excess of normal service values, to uncover potential modes of failure in a short amount of time. By analyzing the product’s response to such tests, engineers can make predictions about the service life and maintenance intervals of a product.

KMI uses accelerated life testing extensively throughout its slewing drive product line. Most recently, we are developing a comprehensive test capability for accelerated life testing and life cycle testing of electric motors, motor control electronics and gear reducers used in conjunction with our slewing drives. Through this test program, KMI can confidently supply high reliability actuation systems – with lowest associated lifetime costs.