Excerpted from Systems Architecting, Creating and Building Complex Systems, Eberhardt Rechtin, Prentice Hall, 1991.
TECHNOLOGICAL RESPONSE I: TECHNOLOGICAL SUBSTITUTION
One of the most dramatic improvements in component quality has been the inon of many circuits onto a single microelectronic chip, replacing thousands of Individual electronic and mechanical components. It is the only technique in recent memory that has reduced failure rates by factors of thousands. It is a peculiar characteristic of chip manufacture that the rate of chip failure has remained about the same regardless of how many components are placed on it. Thus, the reliability per component is increasing at an almost exponential rate. The performance-to-cost ratio is likewise increasing, which means that far better quality can be achieved at the same or lesser cost effect is important—it helps assure that ultraquality devices will be produced at a profit.
Microprocessors, by making systems smarter and more precise, have also enhanced product quality and performance. One of the greatest fuel-conservation and emission-control measures in recent times was the substitution of electronic fuel injection for the mechanical carburetor.
Lasers have greatly changed product and process quality through far better machining, instrumentation, and information handling.
Solid-state electronic devices, with their inherent high tolerance for vibration and shock, are increasingly being substituted for electromechanical devices—traveling-wave tubes, control switches, circuit breakers, radio receiver compact-disk memories, etc.
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