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Across many industries, systems are exceeding their intended design lives, whether they are ships, bridges or military aircraft. As a result failure rates can increase and unanticipated wear or failure conditions can arise. Health monitoring research and application has the potential to more safely lengthen the service life of a range of systems through utilization of sensor data and knowledge of failure mechanisms to predict component life remaining. A further benefit of health monitoring when combined across an entire platform is system health management. System health management is an enabler of condition based maintenance, which allows repair or replacement based on material condition, not a set time. Replacement of components based on condition can enable cost savings through fewer parts being used and the associated maintenance costs. The goal of this research is to show the management of system health can provide savings in maintenance and logistics cost while increasing vehicle availability through the approach of condition based maintenance.
This work examines the impact of prediction accuracy uncertainty in remaining useful life prognostics for a squadron of 12 aircraft. The uncertainty in this research is introduced in the system through an uncertainty factor applied to the useful life prediction. An ARENA discrete event simulation is utilized to explore the effect of prediction error on availability, reliability, and maintenance and logistics processes. Aircraft are processed through preflight, flight, and post-flight operations, as well as maintenance and logistics activities. A baseline case with traditional time driven maintenance is performed for comparison to the condition based maintenance approach of this research.
This research does not consider cost or decision making processes, instead focusing on utilization parameters of both aircraft and manpower. The occurrence and impact of false alarms on system performance is examined. The results show the potential availability, reliability, and maintenance benefits of a health monitoring system and explore the diagnostic uncertainty.


This is an open access article published by PHM Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. CC BY 3.0

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International Journal of Prognostics and Health Management