What Does an Electrical Reliability Engineer Do?

An electrical reliability engineer’s main responsibility is to test an electrical component’s reliability over time and under various conditions. Electrical systems can be found almost everywhere in today’s world, and an electrical reliability engineer’s job is to ensure that they don’t fail. These engineers investigate failure destroying electrical components to see how much abuse they can withstand. An experienced electrical reliability engineer can predict the longevity and dependability of electrical systems and components using experience in electrical equipment design, power systems, and reliability prediction modeling techniques. The effects of various forces and substances on the life span of electrical components may also be considered an electrical reliability engineer.

Because electrical and electronic components and systems have few or no moving parts, they do not wear out as quickly as mechanical devices. To establish a level of reliability for each system, electrical reliability engineers test the reliability of components, subsystems, and entire systems. They accomplish this applying pressure or stress to specific parts in order to determine when a component will fail and an electrical system will fail. The electrical reliability engineer then uses this information to create better parts.

Electrical reliability engineers can use reliability prediction modeling techniques to predict how long a particular electrical component or system will last based on their specific experience designing electrical equipment and power distribution systems. There are numerous external or environmental forces that can lead to failure. Humidity, extreme temperatures, corrosion, vibration, and electromagnetic interference are all examples of external forces (EMI). Because most electrical components and systems have very few moving parts, the engineer will frequently use methods that are not the same as those used mechanical engineers. These engineers make it their business to understand the various failure points of electrical systems and then devise solutions to the problems that are unique to this field of engineering.

A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field is required for most electrical reliability engineers. They can work in almost any industry that uses electrical components, and they usually stick to one. During their careers, some engineers may move into closely related industries. An electrical reliability engineer working for an aircraft manufacturer, for example, might also work in a closely related field like aerospace.