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Reliability prediction models to support conceptual design

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3 Author(s)
Ormon, S.W. ; Dept. of Ind. Eng., Mississippi State Univ., MS, USA ; Cassady, C.R. ; Greenwood, A.G.

During the early stages of conceptual design, the ability to predict reliability is very limited. Without a prototype to test in a lab environment or without field data, component failure rates and system reliability performance are usually unknown. A popular method for early reliability prediction is to develop a computer model for the system. However, most of these models are extremely specific to an individual system or industry. This paper presents three general procedures (using both simulation and analytic solution techniques) for predicting system reliability and average mission cost. The procedures consider both known and unknown failure rates and component-level and subsystem-level analyzes. The estimates are based on the number of series subsystems and redundant (active or stand-by) components for each subsystem. The result is a set of approaches that engineers can use to predict system reliability early in the system-design process. Software was developed (and is discussed in this paper) that facilitates the application of the simulation-based techniques. For the specific type of system and mission addressed in this paper, the analytic approach is superior to the simulation-based prediction models. However, all three approaches are presented for two reasons: (1) to convey the development process involved with building these prediction tools; and (2) the simulation-based approaches are of greater value as the research is extended to consider more complex systems and scenarios

Published in:

Reliability, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 2 )