Analysis of manufacturing data as a tool for failure analysts often meets with roadblocks due to the complex non-linear behaviors of the relationships between failure rates and explanatory variables drawn from process history. The current work describes how the use of a comprehensive engineering database and data mining technology over-comes some of these difficulties and enables new classes of problems to be solved. The characteristics of the database design necessary for adequate data coverage and unit traceability are discussed. Data mining technology is explained and contrasted with traditional statistical approaches as well as those of expert systems, neural nets, and signature analysis. Data mining is applied to a number of common problem scenarios. Finally, future trends in data mining technology relevant to failure analysis are discussed.

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