- The goal of achieving high quality products has led to an emphasis on reducing variation in performance characteristics. It may often happen that one of the product's components is responsible for much of the observed variation. This research is stimulated by the problem of detecting a component that impairs quality by systematically inflating the variance in a product that is assembled from “interchangeable components.” We consider the class of “disassembly-reassembly” experiments, in which components are swapped among assemblies. The specific units used in the experiment are sampled from a large population of units, so it is natural to measure the influence of each factor by its variance component. We present the model for these experiments as a special case of the mixed linear model, compare several estimators for the variance components and consider the problem of testing hypotheses to identify troublesome components.