A Reliability Program for Electronic Engine Controls 800895
Achieving improvements in automobile driveability and customer satisfaction with engines designed to meet government mandated emission and fuel economy standards has resulted in the use of digital electronic computers as engine controls. Recognizing that the automobile environment is uniquely harsh on electronic parts and systems, reliability considerations had a major impact on the product development program. This paper highlights some of the major responses to these considerations. In engineering, these included: 1) a vendor participating parts improvement program directed toward highly reliable performance of large volumes of parts in the automotive environment, 2) unique high stress laboratory and fleet tests to identify and correct system defects during development, and 3) a management discipline and product review procedure requiring concurrence by all affected staff areas prior to release of each design to production. In manufacturing and quality control operations where a background of the successful Apollo and avionics Carousel IV inertial navigation systems exists, expertise was applied to providing manufacturing equipment and test computers to build, stress test and burn-in the high volumes of these electronic computers. The results of this effort and investment are new electronic controls designed to take their place as highly reliable components for the new breed of automobiles for the ‘80’s.