If one includes information on the repair and maintenance characteristics of the components and resources available in the system, other information can also be analyzed/obtained, such as system availability, throughput, spare parts utilization, life costs etc. This can be accomplished through discrete event simulation.
In simulation, random failure times from each component's failure distribution are generated. These failure times are then combined in accordance with the way the components are reliability-wise arranged within the system. The overall results are analyzed in order to determine the behavior of the entire system.
The advantages of the simulation approach are:
It can be used for highly complex scenarios involving a multitude of probabilistic events, such as corrective maintenance, preventive maintenance, inspections, imperfect repairs, crew response times, spare part availability, etc. When events such as these are considered, analytical solutions become impossible when dealing with real systems of sufficient complexity.
The discrete event simulation also has the capability of:
Examining resource utilization, efficiency and costs.
Optimizing procedures and resource allocation.
Analyzing relationships between systems and components.
Minimizing work downtimes.
The disadvantages of the simulation approach are:
It can be time-consuming.
The results are dependent on the number of simulations.
There is a lack of repeatability in the results due to the random nature of data generation.
Simulation is discussed in the Repairable Systems Analysis Through Simulation and Additional Analyses sections of this on-line reference.
Overview of System Reliability
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