Using
Reliability Importance Measures to Guide The component importance measure is an index of how much or how little an individual component contributes to the overall system reliability. It is useful to obtain the reliability importance value of each component in the system prior to investing resources toward improving specific components. This is done to determine where to focus resources in order to achieve the most benefit from the improvement effort. The reliability importance of a component can be determined based on the failure characteristics of the component and its corresponding position in the system. Once the reliability of a system has been determined, engineers are often faced with the task of identifying the least reliable components in the system in order to improve the design. For example, in a series system, the least reliable component has the biggest effect on the system reliability. If the reliability of the system needs to be improved, then efforts should first be concentrated on improving the reliability of the component that has the largest effect on reliability. (The cost of improving reliability is not considered in this article. However, this can be done using more complex algorithms available in ReliaSoft's BlockSim software.) In simple systems such as a series system, it is easy to identify the weak components. However, this becomes more difficult in more complex systems. Therefore, a mathematical approach is needed to provide the means of identifying and quantifying the importance of each component in the system. Calculating Reliability Importance
where,
The value of the reliability importance given by this equation depends both on the reliability of a component and its corresponding position in the system. Static Reliability Importance
The values shown for each component were obtained using Eqn. (1). The reliability equation for this series system is given by:
Taking the partial derivative of Eqn. (2) with respect to R_{1} yields: Thus the reliability importance of Component 1 is 0.72. The reliability importance values for Components 2 and 3 are obtained in a similar manner. TimeDependent Reliability Importance
Application to a Complex System
Using Eqn. (1), the reliability importance was calculated and the results were plotted in Figure 3. Although the components are identical, their reliability importance is different. This is due to their unique positions within the system. When calculating the reliability importance of a component, its failure properties as well as its system properties are considered.
