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mean time between failures

An Explanation of Mean Time Between Failures

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When you run a business or a plant with several machines, you need to keep track of their performance and anticipate problems. Machines can be predictable. If there’s no outside interference in their performance, you can actually determine in advance when they might break down. This estimate helps plant owners and machine operators understand just when they can expect it to break down. For years, people have used the Mean Time Between Failures equation to anticipate a breakdown.

What is Mean Time Between Failures?

The Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is an equation that allows people to calculate the average time a plant or a machine will last until it needs repairs. It’s considered a part of the renewal process, which helps factory and plant owners determine the best plan to replace worn-out machines in the plant. This equation does make a number of assumptions, including:

  • Failure is when a complex but reparable machine is out of service and is in a state of repair.
  • Machines that continue to run without repairs aren’t considered failures.
  • Machines that are down for regular maintenance aren’t considered failures.
  • The equation assumes that the repair will happen immediately and doesn’t allow room for machines that can’t be repaired.
  • It also assumes that the machine is in its useful life period. This means the machine should not be very old and on its last legs. That would accelerate the time between failures.

You get the right results from the equation when these assumptions are satisfied. MTBF is effective and has helped several factories and plants plan replacement of their machinery carefully. Bear in mind that the MTBF is created for repairable machines. For machines that can’t be repaired, you should consider the MTTF or Mean Time to Failure.

How does it Work?

It’s quite easy to understand this equation. The MTBF determines the time between two failures of reparable factory machinery. You can calculate the average MTBF by measuring the time between one failure and another in several machines. To better understand this, consider this scenario:

  • Three machines that perform well are put to work at the same time. This time is deemed 0.
  • They continue to work in normal and equal conditions until they fail.
  • The first one fails after 120 hours, the second one fails after 130 hours, and the third one fails after 140 hours.
  • The average time between these failures is 130 hours.

From this example, you can conclude that the MTBF of these failures is 130 hours. If we were calculating the MTTF, it would also be 130 hours.

That’s a simple explanation but it can be slightly misleading. The MTBF actually calculates between the up-time and the down-time. This excludes the time that’s taken to actually repair the machine.

Up-time is the instant the machine starts working again after the repairs. Down-time is the instant the machine stops working and needs to be repaired. This gives you a more accurate result when you calculate time between failures.

As you can see, the MTBF gives you some idea of when you can expect break downs and repairs. This can be a boon to factory or plant owners because they don’t have to deal with unexpected problems. They can be prepared when the expected time of failure approaches.

If you want to know more about mean time between failures or our custom made DC to DC converters and services, don’t hesitate to contact us at KaRaTec Power Supply Pty. You can give us a call at 612 9808 1127. You can also fill in this contact us form and we’ll reply as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading,
Karatec Power Supply Pty
612 9808 1127

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