de Mello, P. and Magri, M., "Robustness Plan for Flex Fuel Vehicles," SAE Technical Paper 2004-01-3301, 2004, doi:10.4271/2004-01-3301.
This paper describes the steps utilized in the development of the Flex Fuel program by the Ford South America Product Development team to implement a reliability plan.A reliability plan, understood as series of tools to avoid failure mode occurrence, is particularly important when introducing a new technology. Robustness, as the ability of a system to perform its intended function in the presence of variable operational conditions, is contained in the reliability concept and is a key aspect of this plan.Several factors that could affect the vehicle performance were listed, classified and prioritized in order to establish a preventive action plan. The tools were used first at the vehicle level, and then cascaded down to subsystem and component level. Also, with the results of this analysis, design verification methods were enhanced to capture real world usage conditions.Through the use of the reliability and robustness tools, the development team was able to prevent several failure modes. Some of the actions taken are described here as examples.