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Carlos Federico Gayer

Facultad de Ciencias de la Administracin

Universidad del Salvador, Argentina

Received: August 30, 2010; Accepted: October 15, 2010

ABSTRACT

Flight delays and cancellations have extreme impact on airlines competitiveness.

Historically, operators have adopted different strategies avoiding critical spare-parts shortages,

reducing AOG situations. Then, in order to evaluate OEMs method based on Palms theorem

for recommending a repairable component operative inventory for an airliners fleet, and its

efficacy estimating parts demand during a certain period, the number of removals for the

cockpits audio control panels from a group of A320 family aircrafts was analyzed. As a result

of the demand variance, the method shown not to be appropriate for all type of components and

repair processes.

Keywords: Spare-Parts; Inventory Theory; Palms Theorem.

JOURNAL OF THE BRAZILIAN AIR TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH SOCIETY VOLUME 6 ISSUE 1 2010

26

1. INTRODUCTION

Increasing airlines need to control their

operative costs in order to be more

competitive, attractive for the investors and

especially be able to survive for long time in a

complex political, economic and financial

context (Doganis, 2006), with changing game

rules and sensitive to the globalization effects,

forced the operators to work on the reduction

of the departure times, the reliability of their

flight equipment, and the cash flow

optimization. This is traduced especially, due

to the high cost of the components, in optimal

levels of spare parts inventories that assure the

smaller proportion of immobilized capital,

without jeopardizing operational efficiency

(Chong et al., 2008).

An industry widely spread practice

(Kaul et al., 2008) for determining repairable

components recommended number of units

for replacement (stock), satisfying a required

service level, is based on a statistical process

with Poisson-type distribution, in which the

mean time between unscheduled removals

(MTBUR) and the time that passes since the

component is sent to repair and it is replaced

by a repaired unit, or turn-around time (TAT),

are computed.

In order to verify its efficacy, the

historical evolution during seven years for the

removals of one repairable item was analyzed

(demand) within a defined fleet, and its

number per trimester was compared with the

expected removals resulting from the method

application for every corresponding period.

The number of aircrafts in the fleet (FS) and

the average flight hours (FH) per period were

independent variables.

1.1. Audio Control Panel

The component whose removals have

been analyzed was an ATA (Air Transport

Association) chapter 23 item named Audio

Control Panel -with part number

ACP2788AB04- installed in Airbus A320

family airliners. Each aircraft has three units

in the cockpit: two in the pedestal, for the

captain and first officer (Figure 1), and

another one available for the third occupant.

These units are used to control the

transmission and reception of audio signals

from different intercommunication, radio

communication and radio navigation devices

installed in the aircraft, through a collector

ARINC 429.

They are financially classified as rotable

modules (repairables). Each unit price is USD

6.500 and its MEL dispatch inoperative

equipment list essentiality is ESS2 (Go-If). It

is important to notice that among the studied

population, the main cause of removal was the

accidental breakage -or mishandling- of its

switches, and the fault of its consumable

parts.

Figure 1 - Audio Control Panel ACP2788AB04

ASSESSMENT OF POISSON MODEL FOR AIRLINERS REPAIRABLE SPARE PARTS DEMAND FORECASTING

27

1.2. Research Population

Data corresponds to a group of Airbus

A320 family aircrafts (models A318, A319

and A320) that were part of the same Latin-

American airline at the time of the last

statistical record. Nevertheless, history is

associated to each one of the aircrafts,

although they were in service with different

operators for a certain period.

In Table 1, the serial numbers (MSN)

for each aircraft model of the fleet were

detailed. The average age at the last recorded

period was 3,5 years. At the same time, 10,0

and 0,2 years have passed since the first flight

of the oldest and youngest aircraft,

respectively.

Table 1 - Fleet Composition.

Model MSN

A320-232 990

A320-233 1304, 1332, 1351, 1355, 1491, 1512,

1526, 1548, 1568, 1626, 1854, 1858,

1877, 1903, 3280, 3319, 3535, 3556

A319-131 2096

A319-132 2089, 2295, 2304, 2321, 2572, 2585,

2845, 2858, 2864, 2872, 2886, 2887,

2892, 2894, 3663, 3671, 3770, 3772,

3779

A318-121 3001, 3030, 3062, 3214, 3216, 3371,

3390, 3438, 3469, 3509, 3585, 3602,

2606, 3635, 3642

2. DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM

For airlines, on-time flight departure is

crucial. As noted by Cohen et al. (2006),

technical delays are associated with the

riskiest situations. To reduce them, airlines

usually allocate a specific number of critical

components at some strategic airports. These

components are selected based on the

recommendations made by the Original

Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) through a

document known as Minimum Equipment

List (MEL).

According to MEL, the dispatch

inoperative equipment list is created and

components are classified into three

categories depending on their quantity per

aircraft (QPA) and their essentiality for the

operation: ESS1, ESS2 and ESS3. If a failure

is detected for a component ESS1, the

affected aircraft is not authorized for take-off

(No-Go). For ESS2 component failure, the

aircraft could take-off under certain

conditions (Go-If), and its repair can be

deferred for a period of time indicated by

MEL (from 1 to 10 days). However, an

accumulation of ESS2 failures may lead to

ESS1 situation. When a component ESS3

faults, its repair or replacement can be

deferred for a longer period (120 days). A No-

Go situation leads to an AOG (aircraft on

ground) condition where the airplane is

inoperative until the failure is repaired.

The terms "failure" and "demand" are

used indistinctly in this report. It is assumed

when demand exists, that one spare unit is

required to replace a failed component.

JOURNAL OF THE BRAZILIAN AIR TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH SOCIETY VOLUME 6 ISSUE 1 2010

28

Repairable parts supply cycle is a

specific process, different to that developed

for other components such as consumable

parts (Ijioui et al., 2008). It includes a number

of events of the supply chain designed to

ensure that replenishment occurs, beginning a

new cycle. It is characterized by the dual role

of end users (they must return the faulty unit

to start the repair cycle).

Replenishment consists of three

processes: recovery of the failed unit from the

base, its transport to the repair center, and

resupply the user with a functional unit that

can be the same serial already repaired, or

another one (Muckstadt et al. 2002).

As noted by Kilpi et al. (2004), there are

four factors that affect the availability cost of

a component: its reliability, its repair process

TAT, the required service level, and the

number of protected units. The concept of

service level (SL) is used to indicate the

probability that a spare unit is available when

demand is created. Given an inventory level s,

Muckstadt (2005) defined service level to the

fraction of demand that can be satisfied

immediately with the available spare units in

the warehouse. As s increases, the service

level increases. When calculating the service

level, it does not take into account the time it

takes to meet the originally unsatisfied

demands (shortages).

For an inventory system with stationary

demand and inventory policy, the long-term

service level can be calculated as the percent

ratio between the units available when an

order was placed and the total demand (Katok

et al., 2008). In a finite horizon, the level

attained is a random variable. In the case of

repairable components it is usually defined as

inventory policy (s-1,s) based on an optimal

level s, for which replacement is ordered

immediately after a unit consumption.

To recognize that spare parts

consumption forecast for unscheduled

maintenance events is random in nature

(MacDonnell et al., 2007), involves the

intensive use of condition-based inspection

and fault analysis to determine the

requirements. Better demand forecasts may be

developed taking into account causal factors

such as aircraft and components aging (Cohen

et al., 2006). Traditional MRP techniques can

be applied only to scheduled maintenance (A-,

B-, C-and D-Check).

2.1. Palms theorem

Within the framework of queuing

theory, the model was published at Sweden by

Conny Palm in 1938 for calculating the traffic

through telephone networks. Applied to

inventory theory, its importance relies on its

ability to estimate the steady state probability

distribution for the number of units under

repair, by using the probability distribution of

the demand process and the repair time

distribution average.

It basically states that if demand for an

item is a process with mean [ea/time],

which is constant (VTMR=1), and the repair

time for each defective unit is independently

and identically distributed according to a

distribution with mean T [time], the steady-

state probability distribution of the number of

units being repaired has a Poisson distribution

with mean T [ea] (Sherbrooke, 2004).

Poisson distribution (Rychlik, 2006)

allows knowing repeatability for a particular

phenomenon without knowing its causes,

assuming that they are independent, and

establishing the probability that an accidental

event, which causes its occurrence, exists or

not. If the relationship between cause and the

phenomenon is not accidental, because there

is a relationship of dependency between them,

this would be evident by increasing the

number of intervals of occurrence that were

taken as a sample (Poisson, 1837).

Noted Sherbrooke (2004) that it was

observed during some tests for U.S. Air Force

that the model lost validity when demand

varied substantially over time, as the variance

(the measure of its dispersion) exceeded the

average (VTMR>1), triggering a Poisson

process with nonstationary increments. For

ASSESSMENT OF POISSON MODEL FOR AIRLINERS REPAIRABLE SPARE PARTS DEMAND FORECASTING

29

these cases, Hodges (1985) proposed a model

based on a negative binomial distribution, and

recommended to apply Poissonian distribution

when Variance-to-Mean-Ratio (VTMR) lies

between 0,9 and 1,1.

Assuming the interval between coming

units from the repair shop is negative

exponentially distributed, and that the failure

process is independent from the number of

spares available at the warehouse, according

to Kilpi et al. (2004) it is not necessary to

measure the shape of the distribution. This

assumption is violated when a shortage

occurs, because the number of operational

units is reduced, decreasing the demand for

replacement units.

For Adams et al. (1993) the methods

sources of error affecting the demand

estimation, are: 1) events random occurrence,

2) a high rate of demand for short periods, 3)

insufficient information to determine the real

rate of demand, and 4) biased demand rate

estimation.

According to Crawford (1981), the

steady-state hypothesis (constant mean)

clearly results in a demand underestimation.

For high-removal rate units, he suggested that

demand could be predicted with linear

regression techniques.

2.3. Algorithm

Recommended stock of spare units

(operational inventory) depends on the

components degree of utilization and their rate

of removal (due to failure or breakage). In the

case of repairable units, demand is limited to

that created during replacement time (DTAT)

when the inventory is unprotected. From

Palms theorem (Sherbrooke, 2004) the

probability P that the number of unscheduled

removals R is less than -or equal to- the

number of replacement parts m is a process

with Poisson distribution of the form:

=

m m

TAT D

m

D

e m R P

TAT

0

!

} {

This formula describes the probability

that during TAT the maintenance base will

not suffer more removals than the available

spares. Demand is caused by unscheduled

removals occurring during the replacement

cycle. Therefore, it is possible to decrease the

stock of spare parts by improving TAT.

Then, the problem of determining the

optimal stock of spare parts, given DTAT is

reduced to an iterative process where the

value of m for which P is greater than -or

equal to- the desired service level (SL) is

calculated.

Demand forecasting process for a given

period n+1, begins with the period n MTBUR

calculation. Conceptually, MTBUR represents

the average number of hours between

unscheduled removals R. It is calculated

considering the cumulated number of hours in

service provided by all the installed units of

the same component in the fleet:

R

FH FS QPA

MTBUR

=

Then, the forecasted demand D [ea] for

the period n is:

MTBUR

FH FS QPA

D

=

Finally, multiplying D by the ratio

between TAT and the period length for which

the calculation is performed, DTAT is

obtained.

As a decision criterion, the inclusion in

the operational inventory of a specific item for

a certain period depends on the relationship

between its demand for that period, and the

minimum number of removals from the

previous cycle. If DR

min(n-1)

then a number of

spare units must be required.

2.3. Reliability

Reliability can be defined as the

product's ability to function under certain

JOURNAL OF THE BRAZILIAN AIR TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH SOCIETY VOLUME 6 ISSUE 1 2010

30

conditions during a specific period without

exceeding an acceptable level of failure. In

other words, it is the probability that no

failure occurs (Hnatek, 2003).

It varies by product category, price,

quality, user expectations, and the impact of

its malfunction. In the field of technical

reliability its estimation should be done

through testing (Hecht, 2004).

Measuring reliability always involves a

time factor. Among the indicators used,

MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) and

MTBUR are often mentioned. Technical

failures during system operation are

considered by MTBF, but also those from

accidental breakage are included in MTBUR.

The instantaneous rate of failure of a

component over time is a law called the

"bathtub curve" due to its U-shaped graph

(there are distinguished three phases over the

part life: infant mortality, random failure, and

aging).

According Batchoun et al. (2003), when

a failure occurs less than ten times per year it

is assumed that removals follow a Poisson

process (discrete variable), but when its rate is

equal to -or greater than- ten times a year, the

number of removals should be assumed to

follow a Gaussian distribution (continuous

variable).

As an advice, Selivanov said in 1972

that theoretical arguments about the

performance of the various elements that

compose a machine are insufficient to permit

a full appreciation of their real service

characteristics, so it is the user who must find

the answer to the problem by considering the

particular conditions in which the equipment

is operated.

3. METHODOLOGY

For this study, historical statistics on the

component removals, MTBUR, the number of

active aircraft in the fleet (FS) and the average

flight hours per period (FH), were collected

consulting quarterly records between 2002

and 2009 from the external repair workshop.

In particular for this analysis, the

duration of each period was 90 days so the

expected demand during the replenishment

period DTAT was calculated as follows:

90

TAT

D D

TAT

=

With the parameters from Table 2 for

each period n, its corresponding MTBUR, and

the values of FS and FH for the period n+1,

the expected demand for the next period Dn+1

and its associated DTAT were calculated, and

Table 4 prepared with the results.

Table 2 - Parameters.

QPA 3 [ea]

TAT 60 [day]

SL 98,0 [%]

Thus, the expected demand for period

n+1 was compared to Rn +1 establishing the

gap between these numbers.

To estimate the number of replacement

units, an iterative process was performed for

each period, calculating P for different values

of m, and selecting as the recommended stock

number that value of m for which P SL. For

example, Table 3 shows the different values P

takes for each m between 0 and 2 with n=3

(FH=403 [hour], MTBUR=7000[hour],

FS=14[ea]). A TAT of 60 [day] is

representative, assuming the unit returned for

repair is not replaced with another available in

stock. Since P{RTAT2}=99,3 is greater than

SL, the recommended value of m to support

the operation during the next period is 2 [ea].

Table 3: Iteration Process

m P

3 99,9

2 99,3 > 98,0

1 94,3

0 0,0

ASSESSMENT OF POISSON MODEL FOR AIRLINERS REPAIRABLE SPARE PARTS DEMAND FORECASTING

31

4. RESULTS

4.1. Analysis of removals

Comparison between quarterly

estimated demand D

n,

and actual removals R

n

for the same period n, showed that 50% of

times the expected demand was

underestimated, and 14% of times removals

were lower than half of expected ones. The

ratio between estimated demand and actual

removals cumulated during the whole seven

years period was 1,06. The mean of R was

7,0 [ea] and VTMR=2,4. Table 5 shows the

values taken by the frequency distribution of

R (mode interval [3;5]) .

While it can be considered that the

method was effective to predict the total

number of removals, the availability of units

in operation was out of phase with the

demand, pressing on the repair cycle. This

discrepancy would not exist if MTBUR

remains roughly constant for different periods.

Periodical addition of aircrafts to the sample

undoubtedly was a factor of error for the

model application.

Table 5: Distribution of fi(R)

R

f

i

0-2 0,07

3-5 0,31

6-8 0,28

9-11 0,21

12-14 0,07

15-17 0,07

Table 4: Poisson process results

Period n

[90 days]

R

[ea]

MTBUR

[hour]

FS

[ea]

FH

[hour]

D

n+1

[ea]

m

[ea]

1 1 20871 11 632 1,0 1

2 3 7000 13 538 2,4 2

3 1 16920 14 403 2,6 2

4 4 11082 15 985 2,7 2

5 4 7482 15 665 3,8 3

6 6 4799 15 640 5,2 3

7 4 6215 15 552 7,8 4

8 4 12055 17 945 2,1 2

9 4 6191 17 486 9,1 4

10 11 5124 17 1105 4,1 3

11 10 2125 17 417 9,7 5

12 6 3440 20 344 5,8 3

13 3 6680 20 334 3,1 2

14 9 2290 20 344 9,8 5

15 6 3746 20 375 8,5 4

16 6 5333 22 485 4,2 3

17 13 1719 22 339 12,3 5

18 12 1757 22 319 13,9 6

19 16 1523 26 312 13,7 6

20 4 5198 30 231 7,1 4

21 11 3372 30 412 10,1 5

22 8 4259 31 366 8,4 4

23 7 5140 32 375 7,7 4

24 7 5643 37 356 5,7 3

25 7 4584 38 281 8,0 4

26 16 2278 41 296 24,8 8

27 10 5642 46 409 20,7 7

28 4 29186 51 763 2,1 2

29 9 6914 51 407 6,8 2

JOURNAL OF THE BRAZILIAN AIR TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH SOCIETY VOLUME 6 ISSUE 1 2010

32

As the variance of R exceeded the

average, the demand evolution is not

associated to a Poisson-type process, and the

first assumption of the method was not

satisfied. Then, it can be considered a

negative binomial distribution (Figure 2)

associated with the same probability function:

( )

r k

p p

k

r k

k R P

+

= = 1

1

} {

with k=0, 1, 2,

Where coefficients r and p are

calculated with: r=int|/(VTMR-1) |

p=1/VTMR

For this particular case r=5 and

p=0,4167.

Moreover, in order to determine the

effect of each period n length on the demand

estimation, annual periods were also

considered. With this data, defined average

MTBUR for the first year, the demand for the

second year was calculated, repeating the

process for each year. The first four columns

of Table 6 show results and actual total

removals for each period.

Figure 2: Probability Function P{R=k}

Total forecasted demand (D

annual

) for

the six years period represented 95% of the

removals actually occurred (R

annual

) during

that time. But, 67% of times the demand by

year (D

annual

) was underestimated, reducing

the service level.

Table 6: Annual demand forecast

Year R

annual

MTBUR

annual

D

annual

MTBUR

cumulated

D

annual

1 18 13968 9 13968 9

2 31 7638 16 10803 11

3 24 4220 23 8609 11

4 45 4512 20 7585 12

5 33 2549 58 6578 22

6 37 4604 53 6249 39

Trying to lessen the effects of varying

MTBUR the same simulation was performed

but considering for each year a mean time

between removals equal to the cumulative

average of previous years. In this case, total

estimated demand accounted for 56% of the

actual removals during six years, and 83% of

times demand was underestimated (columns 5

and 6 of Table 6). Therefore, for short periods

of computation over the full term, there is a

closer approximation to reality of the total

estimated, but if the average time between

failures shows much variation, spares supply

timing is strongly out-phased.

To verify the effectiveness of demand

forecasting by means of linear regression the

relationship between the number of removals

and total flight hours cumulated by the units

in service within the fleet (considered

independent variable) was modeled. The

effectiveness achieved in estimating the total

number of removals was 100,5%, but 64% of

times demand was overestimated (and

therefore assets were immobilized

ASSESSMENT OF POISSON MODEL FOR AIRLINERS REPAIRABLE SPARE PARTS DEMAND FORECASTING

33

unnecessarily). Its correlation coefficient

was 0,2431 (on the other hand, if R is

correlated in terms of FH and FS its

coefficients were 0,2952 and 0,3695

respectively).

Figure 3: Relationship between removals and total flight hours

4.2. Operational Inventory estimation

Variations between the values of m for

each period indicated little economic viability

to adjust inventory levels so regularly. But on

the other hand, longer intervals (in terms of

annual demand), would lead often to shortage

situations.

Also, in those periods for which mR,

depending on TAT length and the moment

when the failure happens (to the beginning or

towards the end) it is probable that the

replacement units will not return on time from

the repair shop to be available to initiate a

new cycle (timing). Therefore, actual SL

would be less than desired.

In this study, each unit could initiate a

replacement cycle up to 2 times per period.

That is, m spares would absorb removals up to

twice its value. But that will happen, if the

removal is deferred after the failure detection

until the unit under repair is returned in

serviceable condition. Assuming that

inventory level s in each period was adjusted

perfectly to m (i.e. buying or selling units),

34% of times there had been a shortage,

having to make an unbudgeted purchase.

Average number of replacement units for all

periods was 4[ea]. Adopting a negative

binomial distribution, to represent D

TAT

the

following probability function was obtained:

1 , 5

3703 , 0 6297 , 0

1 , 4

} {

+

=

k

TAT

k

k

k D P

with k=0, 1, 2,

JOURNAL OF THE BRAZILIAN AIR TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH SOCIETY VOLUME 6 ISSUE 1 2010

34

Figure 4: DTAT probability function and its distribution (TAT 60 days)

Then, for m=15 the probability

P{D

TAT

15}=98,43% exceeded desired SL.

Therefore, according to this model the number

of recommended spare parts would be 15

units. But, when compared to the number of

removals there is a tendency to overestimate

the demand.

Moreover, there is a dependency

between TAT and the type of distribution that

characterizes demand during replenishment

time. If D

TAT

is calculated for different TAT

and then VTMR for each case is determined,

there is a proportional relationship between

them. Also for a given TAT, VTMR value is

1,0 (in this case for a TAT of 22,5 days). This

means that there is a replacement time for

which distribution that characterizes the

expected demand is Poisson (VTMR=1,0) and

can apply Palm's theorem. But, for shorter and

longer terms a binomial distribution

(VTMR<1,0) and a negative binomial

distribution (VTMR>1,0) should be

respectively applied for better results.

Figure 5: DTAT probability function and its distribution (TAT 25 days)

When D

TAT

is calculated for TAT of 25

days, the average is equal to 2,14 and

VTMR=1,1, yielding the negative binomial

probability distribution seen in Figure 5.

Then, the recommended m was 6 units for

SL>98%, which given the lower TAT could

play up to 3 cycles of repair within 90 days,

allowing a reasonable coverage of the actual

demand.

4.3. Component reliability analysis

Table 7 shows the values of MTBUR

relative frequency at intervals of 2.000 hours.

According to records, failures often occurred

between 4.000 and 6.000 service hours.

ASSESSMENT OF POISSON MODEL FOR AIRLINERS REPAIRABLE SPARE PARTS DEMAND FORECASTING

35

Table 7: Distribution of f

i

(MTBUR)

MTBUR f

i

0-2000 0,10

2001-4000 0,21

4001-6000 0,31

6001-8000 0,21

8001-10000 0,00

10001-12000 0,03

12001-14000 0,03

14001-16000 0,00

16001-18000 0,03

18001-20000 0,00

20001-22000 0,03

22001-24000 0,00

24001-26000 0,00

26001-28000 0,00

28001-30000 0,03

4.3.1. Cumulated flight hours effect

In Figure 6, a linear regression was

plotted relating MTBUR to a summation for

each period of the flight hours contributed by

all the installed units. It was noted that

MTBUR presented a nearly constant value for

any number of hours in service (the difference

between maximum and minimum values

calculated from regression was 1%), and a

low value of correlation (=0,0223). That

is, an increase in the number of flight hours

was associated with an increased parts

demand, but can be assumed that it was not

related to the mean time between removals.

4.3.2. Correspondence between reliability

and aircraft utilization

Applying the same procedure for

MTBUR based on the average hours flown by

each aircraft, the trend in the evolution of

mean time between removals was no longer

constant. It is noted that a relationship existed

between the aircraft utilization and component

lifespan ( =0,4659). By increasing the

average flight hours per aircraft, removals

tended to decrease, increasing component

reliability.

4.3.3. Fleet size effect

By increasing the number of aircrafts

(proportional to the number of parts installed),

there was a trend to lowering reliability. The

resulting correlation coefficient was

=0,3482.

Figure 6: Cumulated flight hours effect on reliability

JOURNAL OF THE BRAZILIAN AIR TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH SOCIETY VOLUME 6 ISSUE 1 2010

36

Figure 7: Aircraft utilization effect on reliability

Figure 8: Fleet size effect on reliability

5. CONCLUSIONS

Method derived from Palm's theorem to

estimate the safety stock of a repairable

component is based on a Poisson-type

probability distribution of demand and a

constant mean time between removals.

However, if demand dispersion increases

(VTMR>1) or if the mean is not stationary,

chosen statistical model boundary conditions

are not satisfied. Then, method leads to

removals underestimation with a consequent

decrease in available stock of spare units,

causing a low service level, an increase in

deferred items, and the stress of the supply

chain, all of these in detriment of the

operating costs.

During this analysis, the period used for

calculating the MTBUR had strong impact on

the estimates. The greater the frequency the

ASSESSMENT OF POISSON MODEL FOR AIRLINERS REPAIRABLE SPARE PARTS DEMAND FORECASTING

37

study of reliability was conducted, the closer

to the reality was the estimated amount of

long-term accumulated demand. However,

when mean time between removals presented

a high variation from one period to another, or

seasonality, predictions for the next period

were less accurate than in those cases where

reliability was established for longer periods.

As the number of aircraft in the fleet has been

changed constantly, it was not helpful to use

historical accumulated values to calculate

reliability (average MTBUR).

Determining demand at the time when

units were in the queue for repair, it was

observed that when the ratio between TAT

and the period length was very small, the

information on its variance was lost due to the

softening of historical demand dispersion,

allowing a dynamic process to be confused

with a stationary one, and mistakenly

associating removals behavior with a Poisson

distribution. To avoid this, it should be

considered additional methods for estimating

future VTMR.

Model considers an infinite number of

available units, meaning that for each removal

there is a replacement unit, and estimates with

a certain risk level (probability) how many

units are being repaired simultaneously for a

specified period assuming equally spaced

faults. However, this study found that when

demand is concentrated in a certain part of the

period, the units available (inventory finite)

fail to return to the stock on time and there is

a shortage.

When demand was forecasted using a

linear regression as an alternative method, a

better approximation was obtained for high

values of the independent variable, but the

model demanded more investment in assets

than necessary.

Focusing on Audio Control Panel

component, given its high removal rate

variability, a negative binomial distribution

proved to be more representative for its repair

process. MTBUR (reliability) showed high

dependence on the number of average flight

hours per aircraft (FH) and low dependence

on the cumulated time in service, as the

removals (R) tended to be related to the

number of units installed (FS). That is, taking

the number of total flight hours as an

independent variable (either flight cycles) was

not representative for this process in

particular. This behavior can be justified on

the main cause of removal indicated by the

repair shop (damage during unit handling).

For this component, scheduled removals

were not taken into account (for example, due

to obsolescence or hard time). However, in

the event that any unit at the operational

inventory is used as replacement for

scheduled removal, it is recommended to

include this event in the statistics to avoid

triggering a shortage in the medium term.

Based on the simulations it is concluded

that Poissonian model is especially suitable

for determining initial inventory, when little

information from the units in service is

available, and it is replaced by industry

standard parameters (like MTBF) supplied by

OEM. Then, for an already operating fleet, the

application should be preferred for those

components with very low rotation (slow

movers). Different probability distributions of

discrete or continuous variable -depending on

the number of removals- should be tested for

each component and repair process in

particular, to find the most suitable parameters

to characterize them. In this research, a

negative binomial distribution proved to be an

appropriate complement to the model that

significantly reduces the number of shortages

for those components with significant

variation in demand and high turnover (fast

movers), poorly controlled repair processes

(changing TAT), or for those fleets subject to

constant size changes.

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BATCHOUN, P., FERLAND, J. and CLROUX, R.

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COHEN M.A. and WILLE J.H. (2006) Implications for

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