If sufficient data is available, it may be possible, using the right failure analysis tools, to fit a specific distribution to the failure times. Maximum likelihood methods can be easily adapted to the presence of censored data. STATGRAPHICS will automatically fit up to 45 probability distributions for any sample of data during life data analysis and rank them according to goodness-of-fit.
Experience has shown that data from life data analysis can often be well modeled by a Weibull distribution. A common method to check the fit of a Weibull distribution is through a Weibull plot. Uncensored failure times should fall approximately along a straight line. With STATGRAPHICS failure analysis tools, you may add a histogram of censored failure times and confidence limits for failure percentiles to the Weibull Plot.
When failures do not occur often enough under normal operating conditions, it is necessary to accelerate the failures by increasing the stress caused by one or more variables. A very common accelerant is temperature. By analyzing failure rates at high temperatures and fitting an Arrhenius model, it is often possible to extrapolate the data back to a normal operating temperature (usually expressed in Kelvin).
Beginning with Version 19.6, Statgraphics has the ability to fit several different acceleration models to the mean or estimated percentile of a lifetime distribution fit at multiple values of an accelerating factor.
To describe the impact of external variables on failure times, regression models may be fit. Unfortunately, standard least squares techniques do not work well for two reasons: the data are often censored, and the failure time distribution is rarely Gaussian. For this reason, STATGRAPHICS provides a special procedure along with its failure analysis tools that will fit life data regression models with censoring, assuming either an exponential, extreme value, logistic, loglogistic, lognormal, normal or Weibull distribution.
More: Life Data Regression.pdf
Accelerated Life Testing
Version 19.6 of Statgraphics introduced a new procedure for accelerated life testing. The procedure fits various models to observed failure times collected under higher than normal levels of one or more stress variables. The fitted models are then extrapolated to estimate the failure time distribution under normal operating conditions.
The new procedure estimates 6 common acceleration models, including Arrhenius, Eyring and inverse power models. Failure times are assumed to follow one of 7 distributions, including the Weibull, lognormal and smallest extreme value distributions.
The data analyzed by the new procedure consists of observed failure times, which may be censored. The procedure supports any combination of right-censored, left-censored, or interval-censored data.
This life data analysis procedure differs from the Distribution Fitting and Weibull Analysis procedures in that it allows for a failure rate that changes as the system ages.
Reliability Demonstration Test Plans
This procedure creates test plans to demonstrate that a failure time distribution satisfies stated conditions. For example, it may be desired to show with 95% confidence that the reliability of a product equals or exceeds 90% at the end of the warranty period. During the demonstration, n units will be tested for a duration equal to t. The demonstration will be considered successful if no more than f units fail during the test.