Elizabeth, sometimes you run across a system that has the feel of being designed by a bunch of fresh-from-school engineers without enough experienced supervision. This story has that feel.
The company as a whole may very well know better, but the company isn't a homogeneous whole.
As to accountable, the only time that happens is for safety (think automobile recalls). If the interior door cosmetic panel has a push-in plastic fastener that fails after the warranty expires, and fails consistently, I doubt the automobile company will recall the panel.
This is another case in which it would be good to hear from the company's designers to see why exactly they made the washer this way. You say that "the designer group had very little knowledge of reliable solid-state electronics." But shouldn't the company know better? And shouldn't they be held accountable somehow or try to improve this situation?
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.