Applied Statistics for Engineering
Improve quality of experiments and reduce costs
To remain competitive, companies continually strive to enhance product quality through efficient designs and improved manufacturing processes. Systematic analytical studies by engineers and physical scientists are essential in process improvement efforts. Statistical tools - including carefully planned experimental designs, proper sampling techniques, innovative data analysis, and correct data interpretation - are key elements in developing such improvements while saving time and money.
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), one of the world's leading research and development organizations, has successfully applied statistical approaches to technical problems for its many clients around the world. Services include:
The Institute designs experiments that require a minimal number
of experimental runs while maximizing the usefulness of the data. Instead of testing all
combinations of design conditions, selected subsets are used to efficiently quantify the
relationships between the test factors. These smaller designs employ strategies based on
statistical methods as well as proven science and engineering techniques, minimizing the
time and cost of the experiments.
Statistical Methodology Applications and Data Analysis
Using a variety of analytical techniques, SwRI statisticians assess the relative effects of the various factors studied in an experiment. Aided by statistical software packages that process data, these procedures help identify and quantify the variation sources in an experiment.
Statistical Process Control
To help manufacturers identify and isolate major sources of product variation, the Institute develops statistical methods to monitor and control processes. Statisticians have applied these quality improvement tools in a variety of applications to develop several innovative approaches for statistical process control.
Regression and Response Surface Modeling
Predictive models, such as those based on regression analysis,
are important results of experimental programs. Using graphical techniques, models help
experimenters visualize complex interrelationships. Models can also identify and isolate
the experimental conditions associated with the maximum or minimum response of a system.
Reliability and Failure Analysis
Reliability assessment studies are performed in a variety of
applications using a combination of statistical and mechanical evaluations. These
techniques determine the frequency of fatigue cracks, the mean time to failure of
individual components, and the reliability of manufactured products.
Sampling Plan Development
Developing a useful sampling plan to collect necessary data is vital to experimental programs. Institute statisticians are specialists in this complex process, particularly in analyzing and interpreting survey results. A variety of sophisticated statistical procedures and software are utilized to obtain the most information from sample data.
Statistical Consulting and Training
SwRI regularly consults with a variety of clients on problems requiring applied statistical analysis. These problems often involve quality improvement issues, and require knowledge and experience in these activities. Topics typically include:
In addition to having received several departmental audit
approvals, all departments in the Fuels and Lubricants Research Division have
achieved certification to ISO 9002, the "Model for Quality Assurance in Production
and Installation," and accreditation to ISO/IEC Guide 25, "General Requirements
for the Competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories."