Asset life prediction and maintenance decision-making using a non-linear non-Gaussian state space model

Zhou, Yifan (2010) Asset life prediction and maintenance decision-making using a non-linear non-Gaussian state space model. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Estimating and predicting degradation processes of engineering assets is crucial for reducing the cost and insuring the productivity of enterprises. Assisted by modern condition monitoring (CM) technologies, most asset degradation processes can be revealed by various degradation indicators extracted from CM data. Maintenance strategies developed using these degradation indicators (i.e. condition-based maintenance) are more cost-effective, because unnecessary maintenance activities are avoided when an asset is still in a decent health state. A practical difficulty in condition-based maintenance (CBM) is that degradation indicators extracted from CM data can only partially reveal asset health states in most situations. Underestimating this uncertainty in relationships between degradation indicators and health states can cause excessive false alarms or failures without pre-alarms. The state space model provides an efficient approach to describe a degradation process using these indicators that can only partially reveal health states. However, existing state space models that describe asset degradation processes largely depend on assumptions such as, discrete time, discrete state, linearity, and Gaussianity. The discrete time assumption requires that failures and inspections only happen at fixed intervals. The discrete state assumption entails discretising continuous degradation indicators, which requires expert knowledge and often introduces additional errors. The linear and Gaussian assumptions are not consistent with nonlinear and irreversible degradation processes in most engineering assets. This research proposes a Gamma-based state space model that does not have discrete time, discrete state, linear and Gaussian assumptions to model partially observable degradation processes. Monte Carlo-based algorithms are developed to estimate model parameters and asset remaining useful lives. In addition, this research also develops a continuous state partially observable semi-Markov decision process (POSMDP) to model a degradation process that follows the Gamma-based state space model and is under various maintenance strategies. Optimal maintenance strategies are obtained by solving the POSMDP. Simulation studies through the MATLAB are performed; case studies using the data from an accelerated life test of a gearbox and a liquefied natural gas industry are also conducted. The results show that the proposed Monte Carlo-based EM algorithm can estimate model parameters accurately. The results also show that the proposed Gamma-based state space model have better fitness result than linear and Gaussian state space models when used to process monotonically increasing degradation data in the accelerated life test of a gear box. Furthermore, both simulation studies and case studies show that the prediction algorithm based on the Gamma-based state space model can identify the mean value and confidence interval of asset remaining useful lives accurately. In addition, the simulation study shows that the proposed maintenance strategy optimisation method based on the POSMDP is more flexible than that assumes a predetermined strategy structure and uses the renewal theory. Moreover, the simulation study also shows that the proposed maintenance optimisation method can obtain more cost-effective strategies than a recently published maintenance strategy optimisation method by optimising the next maintenance activity and the waiting time till the next maintenance activity simultaneously.

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ID Code: 41696
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Ma, Lin, Mathew, Joseph, & Wolff, Rodney
Keywords: degradation model, EM algorithm, Particle filter, Particle smoother, State space model, Partially observable Markov decision process
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 16 May 2011 04:45
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:01

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