Design for Reliability (DFR) Courses

Oct. 27, 2022

Design for Reliability (DFR) and 3 Featured Courses

Caption: Design for Reliability (DFR) overview

What is Design for Reliability (DFR)

Design for Reliability (DFR) at Network Rail is a structured process identifying minimum requirements for suppliers to demonstrate that they have designed reliability into new or changed railway products. It applies to controlled products that require an engineering assessment, leading to a successful Product Acceptance (PA) certificate to allow them to be used on the live railway. DFR adds a reliability element to the previous, almost exclusive, focus on the legal and safety elements of PA. However, although DFR focuses on reliability, it also further assists safety, as reliability products need less manual intervention that exposes workers to trains and eliminates both safety and non-safety related asset failures.

Network Rail expects suppliers to provide evidence of using proven reliability tools and techniques within the DFR framework when submitting items for Product Acceptance (PA) and during supplier selection, and puts greater emphasis on sharing causes of historic failures with suppliers to assist this than was done previously. The reason for the strong link between DFR and PA is that there is no point in mandating something such as DFR if there is no means to confirm it is being correctly applied. Network Rail’s role as a European Rail Infrastructure company means that it must follow strict rules to allow a level playing field for any potential suppliers. The result is that it is impossible to keep a totally accurate list of all these suppliers, as someone could create a new business to supply Network Rail at any time. On top of this, the products Network Rail purchases are installed from Penzance in the south-west of England to Wick in the north of Scotland. There is only one intersection that all these navigate and that is Product Acceptance.

For further reading, please see our PDF Design for Reliability artical here.


TRAINING COURSE: DFR Introduction (Free course) - 5 half-days (instructor led on-line) 

This module gives a high-level overview of all the tools covered. It has the broadest audience as it explains the philosophy we wish to embed, gives a common language, explains why DFR was introduced, explains the situations in which each tool is effective and the different paths through the DFR process. It also shows how the tools link and build upon each other.

The introduction is aimed at  suppliers & NR staff in sponsor, engineering, procurement, SQA, quality, reliability, product acceptance (PA) and management roles.

This DFR introduction course is a free course to Network Rail employees and also a free course to our external customers. To book onto the course email names and email addresses to


TRAINING COURSE: FMEA Failure Mode and Effects Analysis & Failure Management - 4.5 days

This is a structured process to analyse designs and processes including manufacturing and installation. It starts with a block diagram or process diagram to set the scope, identifies desired functions and how they may potentially fail to be met. This leads to identification of both resulting effects (Rated for ‘Severity’) and potential causes (Rated for ‘Occurrence’). The controls to avoid these are listed and rated for ‘Detection’. Actions are then identified and taken to address prioritised risks. This also helps identify what tests should be run to verify the design. The tool also captures knowledge of prior failures to prevent recurrence. This module also adds failure management to the FMEA using RCM concepts to help optimise maintenance regimes. Life data analysis, to identify failure probability over the life of a product, which assists in identifying an appropriate maintenance strategy, is also included.

INTERNAL Network Rail Employee ONLY - Please book via How to Book

EXTERNAL Customers: Book Design for Reliability - Requirements Planning QFD Course via Course Search - CourseSight 


TRAINING COURSE: Requirements Planning QFD - 5 half-days

Reliability can be negatively affected if key product requirements are not met. This module is based around setting customer requirements and translating requirements, specifications and technical specifications for interoperability into engineering characteristics which are confirmed with Network Rail. These are then translated into design characteristics, process parameters and control methods. At each stage, priority is given to items that are new, important or difficult. This takes us all the way through the design process and gives an understanding of how other tools may be utilised.

INTERNAL Network Rail Employee ONLY - Please book via How to Book

EXTERNAL Customers: Book Design for Reliability - Requirements Planning QFD Course via Course Search - CourseSight