Predictive maintenance strategies which estimate remaining useful life of system components to prevent breakdowns and down-times by timely and well-scheduled maintenance ensures the reliable availability of assets and lowers total costs of ownership. The focus on the components’ life times falls short, however, to infer the system-level capability to achieve upcoming tasks, especially if these tasks vary either in the strain they cause for the system or in the environmental conditions in which the system needs to perform. Such an assessment of the health and mission readiness of a system is crucial for mobile assets like seafaring vessels undertaking long-term operations without the option to easily come in for repairs or for industrial assets that need to complete long production runs in one go under varying circumstances. We propose a multi-step methodology to achieve such assessments using both Bayesian reasoning for diagnosis and prognosis and physics-based simulation models. First, we construct an appropriate Bayesian network in an object-oriented way by fitting a pre-compiled library of network fragments to the system’s schematics using generative techniques. We then parameterize the obtained network using a combination of expert knowledge and machine learning to fine tune system-level interactions between components and their link to the system’s performance. The learning step uses past operational data that we augment or complement with synthetic data, created by a physics-based simulation model, where needed. Finally, we use the trained Bayesian network to assess the mission readiness of the system given the probabilistics of its diagnosed state, expected impact of possible maintenance interventions, and the estimated profile of the future use. We illustrate and verify our methodology on a cooling system with an active feedback control loop, but our approach for mission readiness assessment is domain-independent, universally applicable, and typically feasible where operational data and engineering knowledge can be brought together to solve its challenge.
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system level prognostics, probabilistic reasoning, machine learning
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