The main outcome is the marriage of FTA with advanced maintenance models. This results in significant progress in the applicability of FTs and substantially extends the class of practically relevant properties analysable using FTA, e.g., the reliability under degraded modes of operation, and the expected time until a top-level failure, possibly conditional under certain (ordered) system events. These new techniques are made available in a publicly available software tool and will be used to improve the availability and reliability of the Dutch railroads, potentially at a lower cost.
Our research will be pursued in close cooperation with ProRail, as well as with Movares and NedTrain. Although it will be applicable to general maintenance problems, we will focus on maintenance of (1) the switch, and (2) ATB (automatic train safety). To ensure that our FTs will naturally capture the most common maintenance strategies, we will extensively interact with experts from the aforementioned industrial partners. ProRail will be crucial in the validation and field testing of our methods and tools: we need to assess to what extent our tool results are correct, useful, and realistic for ProRail by carrying out a large number of practical case studies and extensively discussing the outcomes and interpretation with ProRail, Movares, and NedTrain. These interactions will lead to continuous improvements of our methods and tool. Concretely, these cooperations will be realized by bi-weekly visits to ProRail, and two or three internships (of some months) at Movares or ProRail by the PhD students.
Bringing project results in practice.
Our strategy to convey our results to our industrial partners and beyond is threefold: a publicly available software tool, concrete case studies, and technology transfer. The main deliverable is a fully automated, usable, and open-source software tool for maintenance planning and engineering. Input to the tool will be a fault tree augmented with a maintenance model. The main tool capabilities are evaluation and synthesis of maintenance plans for these extended FTs. We foresee that our tool will be instrumental to evaluate, provide, and adjust maintenance plans before a system is in operation (“design for maintenance”) as well as for a system that is already in operation (“maintenance engineering”). As stated before, field tests are pivotal in this project and will be carried out directly with ProRail, Movares and NedTrain. Finally, concerning knowledge transfer, we will provide an intensive practical training program on the novel FTA techniques and usage of the software tool for ProRail, Movares and NedTrain, and disseminate our results in industry-relevant events (e.g., Safecomp and STW meetings). In addition, we foresee that Movares will extensively use the project results in their RAMS consultancy activities, interpreting the results in the RAMS(HE) process. This also transfers the project results into certifying organizations like IVW (Inspectie Verkeer en Waterstaat) and RailCert.
Maintenance evaluation and optimization is a key in cost-effective asset management. Therefore, our project results will be of great added value to asset management in general, including railroads, water works, buildings, roads, machines, etc. Institutions like Rijkswaterstaat, IV Infra, ESA (European Space Agency), Deltares, Arcadis (to mention a few) can greatly profit from the maintenance planning solutions provided by the ArRangeer project and its software tool.