Why Are My Products Failing in the Field?

Do you jump right into prototyping or production only to have a part break or find out it did not perform as expected?

In 1954, two crashes involving the world’s first commercial jet airliner, the DeHavilland Comet, brought the words “metal fatigue” to newspaper headlines and into long-lasting public consciousness. The aircraft, also one of the first to have a pressurized cabin, had square windows. Pressurization combined with repeated flight loads caused cracks to form in the corners of the windows, and those cracks widened over time until the cabins fell apart during flight. As well as being a human tragedy in which more than 60 people lost their lives, the Comet disasters were a wake-up call to engineers trying to create safe, strong designs.

The importance of design analysis continues to grow as companies strive to be more efficient and deliver top-quality products. Saving material saves money, but preventing unexpected design failure is even more critical. The good news is that you can do both.

  • Back up any physical testing results with computational data
  • Determine your product’s life expectancy
  • Learn exactly when and where your products will fail

Backing up Your Physical Tests

Physical testing typically provides one data point confirming that a part will pass or fail under a single set of conditions. Virtually simulating your design under the same set of conditions will provide the computational data needed to back up the physical test results and help you make the right decision. If your virtual data does not match your physical data, then you know that your part will not behave as you expected it to. Now you have the foresight needed to refine the design so that it performs exactly the way you intend it to.

Determining Your Product’s Life Expectancy

Get the answers to questions that arise during the design phase that can’t be answered with physical testing For example,  will your product will fail after the 10th time or after the 10,000th time in use?

When too many decisions are made without hard data to prove which ones are the right ones, mistakes often happen. You can see in Dr. David Anderson’s The Rule of 10 that each time a flawed design passes through another stage in the development cycle it will cost you 10 times more to find that mistake and fix it.

The Rule of 10 Graphic

Image getting the answers to your most difficult questions quickly. You can run studies in various environments, like extreme heat or vacuum conditions, that you’ve never had the budget or facility to test in before. Running these powerful, virtual analyses including fatigue, static, motion, thermal, vibration, fluid-flow and nonlinear on your designs gives you a clear advantage over your competitors. Questions and concerns are validated early in the design phase, and tests are run in parallel with design, not after. This means that you can get more accurate products to market faster. And with periodic confirmation that your design is headed on its best track, you minimize risk and create better, more reliable products for your customers.

Knowing Exactly When and Where Your Product Will Fail

Never be caught off guard again when a product fails on you. With the ability to run a variety of tests quickly, you gain the insight to determine exactly when and where your product will fail. With this knowledge, you can then make the decision to either have replacement parts readily available when it breaks or rework the design before it makes its way to manufacturing.

Being proactive and resolving these issues before production reduces engineering costs in product redesign and reduces material costs by testing in a virtual environment. You can even take it a step further and use this data to set more accurate product warranties. After running your virtual tests and simulations, you will be able to implement an accurate warranty timespan, specify warranty restrictions and reduce the number of costly replacement parts given away.

Start saving money on prototypes, refunds and product recalls while eliminate the frustration of having parts break unexpectedly. Watch the webinar here to learn how to get the data you need to make more competitive products.

Want to test out the software?

Come test drive SOLIDWORKS Simulation 3D design software before you buy it at an
upcoming SOLIDWORKS Hands-On Test Drive event near you!

Stop Guesstimating and Start Validating Your Designs

In just 23 minutes, you’ll discover how to make this bicycle hitch cheaper, lighter and more durable.

Get the answers to questions like:

  • How much load can it endure?
  • What is the lifespan of the bicycle hitch?
  • What type of environments can it withstand?
  • How can you reduce its material costs to stay within budget?
SOLIDWORKS Simulation Screen Capture