Design of Statistically and Energy Efficient Accelerated Life Tests

by Dan Zhang

Institution: University of Arizona
Year: 2014
Keywords: Energy Consumption; Optimum Experimental Design; Sequential Optimization; Simultaneous Optimization; Systems & Industrial Engineering; Accelerated Life Testing
Record ID: 2038258
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10150/320992


Because of the needs for producing highly reliable products and reducing product development time, Accelerated Life Testing (ALT) has been widely used in new product development as an alternative to traditional testing methods. The basic idea of ALT is to expose a limited number of test units of a product to harsher-than-normal operating conditions to expedite failures. Based on the failure time data collected in a short time period, an ALT model incorporating the underlying failure time distribution and life-stress relationship can be developed to predict the product reliability under the normal operating condition. However, ALT experiments often consume significant amount of energy due to the harsher-than-normal operating conditions created and controlled by the test equipment used in the experiments. This challenge may obstruct successful implementations of ALT in practice. In this dissertation, a new ALT design methodology is developed to improve the reliability estimation precision and the efficiency of energy utilization in ALT. This methodology involves two types of ALT design procedures - the sequential optimization approach and the simultaneous optimization alternative with a fully integrated double-loop design architecture. Using the sequential optimum ALT design procedure, the statistical estimation precision of the ALT experiment will be improved first followed by energy minimization through the optimum design of controller for the test equipment. On the other hand, we can optimize the statistical estimation precision and energy consumption of an ALT plan simultaneously by solving a multi-objective optimization problem using a controlled elitist genetic algorithm. When implementing either of the methods, the resulting statistically and energy efficient ALT plan depends not only on the reliability of the product to be evaluated but also on the physical characteristics of the test equipment and its controller. Particularly, the statistical efficiency of each candidate ALT plan needs to be evaluated and the corresponding controller capable of providing the required stress loadings must be designed and simulated in order to evaluate the total energy consumption of the ALT plan. Moreover, the realistic physical constraints and tracking performance of the test equipment are also addressed in the proposed methods for improving the accuracy of test environment. In this dissertation, mathematical formulations, computational algorithms and simulation tools are provided to handle such complex experimental design problems. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first methodological investigation on experimental design of statistically precise and energy efficient ALT. The new experimental design methodology is different from most of the previous work on planning ALT in that (1) the energy consumption of an ALT experiment, depending on both the designed stress loadings and controllers, cannot be expressed as a simple function of the related decision variables; (2) the associated optimum experimental design…