DOD sets up information clearinghouse on COTS reliability

ROME, N.Y. - U.S. Defense Department officials are creating a clearinghouse of reliability test information on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and equipment.

Apr 1st, 1998

By John Keller

ROME, N.Y. - U.S. Defense Department officials are creating a clearinghouse of reliability test information on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and equipment.

Called the Reliability Analysis Center Data Sharing Consortium, the organization`s purpose is to accumulate any information on tests performed to ensure that COTS parts in various applications and environments are robust enough to operate reliably in military and aerospace systems.

"A lot of organizations are qualifying and doing testing of parts, and it gets very expensive," explains consortium chair David Dylis. "By sharing information among organizations it would reduce the costs of testing because the redundant testing that was going on would not need to be done anymore. Redundant testing goes away, and everyone saves money."

The consortium is headquartered at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y. Operating the center are officials of the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute, which is based in Chicago.

The consortium is open to all commercial, U.S. government, and foreign organizations. Current members are:

- AlliedSignal Aerospace in Torrance, Calif.;

- The Boeing Co. in Seattle;

- Eldec Corp. of Lynnwood, Wash.;

- Honeywell Commercial Flight Systems Group in Phoenix;

- Sundstrand Aerospace Corp. in Rockford, Ill.;

- The Lockheed Martin Corp. Control Systems division in Johnson City, N.Y.;

- Space Electronics Inc. in San Diego;

- Autronics Corp. in Arcadia, Calif.;

- Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo.;

- Com Dev in Cambridge, Ontario; and

- Rockwell Collins Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"We set up the consortium to share screening, qualification, field data, failure analysis, and obsolescence information for components and commercial off the shelf equipment and assemblies between commercial industry and DOD," Dylis says.

"We continually look to add people, both OEMs and component vendors," he continues. "Right now most of the people we have are from the OEM community, but we want to incorporate data from the component vendors themselves."

The consortium disseminates database information over the World Wide Web at http://rome.iitri.com/consortium.

Consortium members are in four categories. Full members, who access consortium information for free, supply a substantial amount of data on more than 25 components comprising 250 lines of data.

Contributing members pay $3,500 each year. These members supply a minimal amount of data, which shall mean test/field data for at least 10 different components comprising 50 lines of data. Non-contributing members must supply no information, and pay $5,000 a year. Associate members have no requirements. This status is reserved for all U.S. government agencies.

For more information on the consortium, contact Dylis by phone at 315-339-7055, by fax at 315-336-1371, or by e-mail at ddylis@rome.iitri.com/.

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