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You are on page 1of 19

William Hagen, Ford Motor Company, Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering

Hung Tran, SRS Technologies, Mission Support Division

From RAPTOR web site:

Raptor is a software tool that simulates the operations

of any system.

Sophisticated Monte Carlo simulation algorithms are

used to achieve these results.

Our Take:

Pure Monte Carlo simulation tool to solve reliability

block diagrams.

From BlockSim web site:

Flexible Reliability Block Diagram (RBD) creation.

Exact reliability results/plots and optimum reliability

allocation.

Repairable system analysis via simulation (reliability,

maintainability, availability) plus throughput, life cycle

cost and related analyses.

Our Take:

Monte Carlo simulation with algorithms used to speed

the processing time.

Also provides analytical calculation of reliability.

From Relex web site:

At the core of Relex RBD is a highly intelligent

computational engine.

First, each diagram is analyzed to determine the best

approach for problem solving using pure analytical solutions,

simulation, or a combination of both.

Once a methodology is determined, the powerful Relex RBD

calculations are engaged to produce fast, accurate results.

Our Take:

Relex RBD appears to be a hybrid tool that uses algorithms

and simulation in varying combinations to solve reliability

block diagrams.

2007 RAMS Brall, Hagen, Tran

Analysts (especially new analysts) tend to report reliability

software results as exact values

Engineering judgment, caution and experience are being

supplanted by software analysis

Error checking is often absent

Number of runs; confidence limits; garbage in, garbage out all

impact value of software analysis

Block

Block

Parameter

Failure

a

Distribution

Repair

a

Distribution

Probability

Distribution

Weibull

Lognormal

Parameter 1 Parameter 2

Shape 1.5

Scale 1000

Mu 5

Sigma 0.5

Simple Model

Block

Name

S tart

E nd

1::1

m

Failur e: W eibull

Char . Lif e: 1000

Shape Fact . : 2

t 0: 0

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 99005

b

Failur e: Nor m al

M ean: 250

St dDev: 50

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 99865

e

Failur e: W eibull

Char . Lif e: 2300

Shape Fact . : 1. 5

t 0: 0

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 990975

d

Failur e: Log Nor m al

M u: 6

Sigm a: 2

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 757228

c

M TBF: 10000

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 99005

1::1

g

M TBF: 10000

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 99005

1::1

h

Failur e: Log Nor m al

M u: 8

Sigm a: 1

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 999657

1::2

n

Failur e: W eibull

Char . Lif e: 1000

Shape Fact . : 3

t 0: 0

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 999

1::1

Parameter

1

Parameter

2

Weibull

Shape 1.5

Scale 1000

Normal

Mean 250

Std Dev 50

Exponential

10000

Lognormal

Mu 6

Sigma 2

Weibull

Shape 1.5

Scale 2300

Normal

Mean 250

Std Dev 50

Exponential

10000

Lognormal

Mu 8

Sigma 1

Weibull

Shape 1.5

Scale 1000

Normal

Mean 250

Std Dev 50

Exponential

10000

Lognormal

Mu 8

Sigma 3

Weibull

Shape 2.0

Scale 1000

Weibull

Shape 3.0

Scale 1000

Weibull

Shape 4.0

Scale 1000

Weibull

Shape 0.5

Scale 1000

Weibull

Shape 0.4

Scale 1000

3::6

f

Failur e: Nor m al

M ean: 250

St dDev: 50

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 99865

l

Failur e: Log Nor m al

M u: 8

Sigm a: 3

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 871101

i

Failur e: W eibull

Char . Lif e: 1000

Shape Fact . : 1. 5

t 0: 0

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 968872

Failure

Distribution

o

Failur e: W eibull

Char . Lif e: 1000

Shape Fact . : 4

t 0: 0

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 9999

1::2

Failur e: Nor m al

M ean: 250

St dDev: 50

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 99865

1::1

a

Failur e: W eibull

Char . Lif e: 1000

Shape Fact . : 1. 5

t 0: 0

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 968872

q

Failur e: W eibull

Char . Lif e: 1000

Shape Fact . : 0. 4

t 0: 0

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 67159

p

Failur e: W eibull

Char . Lif e: 1000

Shape Fact . : 0. 5

t 0: 0

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 728893

k

M TBF: 10000

Q t y: 1

R: 0. 99005

Large Model

Complex Model

Results of Simulations

Model

One Block

One Block

Simple

Simple

Simple

Large

Large

Large

Large

Large

Complex

Complex

Complex

Complex

Model Data

Parameter

Reliability

Availability

Reliability

Availability

System Failures

Reliability

Reliability

Availability

Availability

MTTFF: (Hours)

Reliability

Availability

MTBF (MTBDE)(Hrs)

MTTR (MDT)(Hrs.)

Trials or

Runs

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

10,000

1,000

1,000

10,000

10,000

10,000

10,000

10,000

10,000

Time

(hours)

1,000

1,000

100

100

100

61,362

61,362

61,362

61,362

61,362

100

100

100

100

Software Package

Raptor BlockSim

Relex

0.3797

0.8927

0.983

0.9955

0.017

0.7024

0.718

0.858

0.847

0.3663

0.8894

0.977

0.9892

0.023

0.737

0.729

0.861

0.865

0.365

0.843

0.978

0.978

Not Reported

0.6914

0.707

0.691

0.6866

144,775.99 201,679.13

146,321.53

0.1313

0.1315

0.0988

0.3877

0.3741

0.3333

36.2732

68.3853

39.3565

62.7677

33.92

74.51

10

One to two significant figure agreement at best between packages

Confidence limits are necessary for data

calculated using such diverse algorithms or methodologies

that they arent comparable

Errors in modeling or application of the software can go

undiscovered when only one software package and one

analyst are used

software interface opens up many opportunities for human failure

Checking a model for errors can be more time intensive than

creating the original model

11

Cautions - 1

demonstrate compliance with a requirement is error prone and risky

Many times the results of these simulations are used to demonstrate

compliance with a specified reliability or availability requirement.

A result that would show a Reliability of 0.85 when the

requirement was 0.90 might cause redesign, request for waiver,

or other action to address the shortfall.

The shortfall may be due to the parameters used for the

simulation, the algorithms used by the software, a lack of

understanding of how long to simulate, how many independent

random number streams to use, and/or how many runs to use.

Analytical solutions for highly complex models are based on

approximations.

2007 RAMS Brall, Hagen, Tran

12

Cautions - 2

manner.

i.e.When using the Lognormal distribution, there was a

difference in terminology between Raptor and BlockSim.

Raptor allows the Lognormal to be entered as Mean and

Std Dev. or Mu and Sigma.

BlockSim only uses Mean and Std. Dev., but this is the

same as Raptors Mu and Sigma.

A novice could waste a great deal of time clarifying

what needs to be entered as data.

13

Cautions - 3

Modeling special cases can be difficult because of the way the

programs handle standby (which was in our models) and

phasing (which was not in our models).

Output parameters were not consistently labeled. The user

should understand the difference between MTTF, MTTFF,

MTBDE, and MTBF for reliability and MDT and MTTR for

maintainability.

14

Cautions - 4

various adjectives such as mean, point, conditional, etc.

A review of the literature provided with the packages is

necessary to understand these terms and relate them to those

found in specifications, handbooks, references, and texts.

It is a serious issue that there doesnt appear to be standard

and/or consistent terminology and notation from one

program to another as well as to standard literature in the

field.

15

Cautions - 5

Flexibility

Each package has tabs, checkboxes, preferences, defaults, multiple

random number streams, selectable seeds for random numbers, etc to

facilitate the modeling, analysis, and simulation process.

Flexibility can provide huge pitfalls to the analyst.

Care in modeling, and use of support services provided by the

software supplier is a good practice.

Numerous runs and reruns may be necessary due to idiosyncrasies of

the software,

Beware of errors in modeling, confusion of parameter definition, etc.

Problems compound as a variety of failure distributions are

intermixed with a similar grouping of repair distributions.

As a model becomes more complex, simulation becomes mandatory

2007 RAMS Brall, Hagen, Tran

16

Observations - 1

The models can run quickly even on old Pentium II PCs, or they can

take hours to run.

Length of simulation time, number of runs, and failure rate of the

system can all contribute to lengthening of simulation time.

One of the models took in excess of 1 hour on a 3 GHz Pentium

IV.

Convergence of the results is heavily dependent on how consistent

the block failure rates are.

For example, one block with an MTBF of 1000 hours, can double

or triple simulation time.

The display during simulation on some of the packages shows the

general trend, but there can be a lot of outliers.

One model failed to converge on one of the packages again this

may have been due to a subtle preference selection (or nonselection).

17

Observations - 2

be useful for seeing how the simulation is behaving.

For most models, this rapidly stabilizes to the first decimal place,

then the second decimal place tends to bounce around.

Usually you get the first 2 significant figures in a hundred runs.

We have the impression that most of the user interfaces were

designed by software designers, working with R&M engineers.

The problem is that we seem to have gotten what an R&M

engineer would tell someone never having used the product.

For example, its really annoying that you have to double

click and work through tabs to put data into blocks in the

block diagrams; the alternative is to use the Item Properties

Table, which doesn't let you create blocks and in some

cases change probability distributions.

18

Recommendations

Model system using one of the following approaches to reduce

human error

Have one analyst model in two different software packages

Software methodologies are sufficiently different to

avoid repeating errors

Have second analyst perform detailed audit of model and

data entry

Have two analysts independently model and enter data

Compare results

Results should agree within +/- 3 Standard Errors of the

Mean

Make detailed notes of assumptions, methods, simulation values,

etc. to provide an audit trail

2007 RAMS Brall, Hagen, Tran

19

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