Two of the challenges of current plant reliability approaches are the ability to integrate plant health data, and to support decision making. Condition based data and diagnostic/prognostic information are in fact not considered into plant reliability models to inform system engineers on the most critical components. Currently, the propagation of quantitative health data from the component to the system level is a challenge given the diverse nature/structure of the data. On the other hand, plant reliability methods (which are typically based on fault-trees or reliability block diagrams) can effectively propagate data from the component to the system level, but values of failure rates or failure probabilities are an approximated integral representation of the past industry-wide operational experience, and it neglects the present component health status (e.g., diagnostic and condition-based data) and health projection (when available from prognostic data). Our first claim is that system reliability models should propagate health information from the component to the system/plant level in order to provide a quantitative snapshot of system/plant health and identify the most critical components. Our second claim is that component health should be informed solely by that specific component current and historical performance data and should not be an approximated integral representation of the past industry-wide operational experience. This paper is directly supporting these two claims by proposing a different approach to perform reliability modeling which relies on available component diagnostic, prognostic and condition-based data to measure component health, and it propagates this information through fault tree models. The propagation of health data from the component to the system level is performed not in terms of probability, but in terms of margins where margin is defined as the “distance” between the present actual status and an undesired event (e.g., failure or unacceptable performance). Through a cause-effect lens, while classical reliability models target the effect associated to a component performance, a margin-based approach focuses on the cause of an undesired component performance (i.e., component health). Hence, thinking of reliability in terms of margins implies decision making based on causal reasoning. We will show how fault tree models can be solved using a margin language and how this process can effectively assist system engineers to identify the most critical components.
How to Cite
reliability, health assessment, decision-making
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