Noise Factors, Dispersion Effects and Robust Design
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There has been great interest recently in the use of designed experiments to improve quality by reducing the variation of industrial products. A major stimulus has been Taguchi's robust design schema in which experiments are used to detect dispersion effects (that is, factors that affect process variation). We study here one of Taguchi's novel ideas, the use of noise factors to represent varying conditions in the manufacturing or use environment. We show that the use of noise factors can dramatically increase power for detecting dispersion effects, provided their effects are explicitly modeled in the subsequent analysis.