Mean Time Between Failures, MTBF, Calculation

Meaning of Mean Time Between Failures

Mean Time Between Failures, MTBF, calculation is a way to predict the time between failures of a piece of equipment during normal operating hours. Mean time between failures is the average time between breakdowns of systems. It is a crucial maintenance metric to measure the performance, reliability, and safety of critical assets, like process analyzers. Mean time between failures is used to calculate the availability, together with mean time to repair (MTTR).

Mean Time Between Failures Calculation

Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is a basic measure of asset reliability. MTBF is calculated by dividing the total uptime with the number of breakdowns. Mean Time Between Failures calculation= Total uptime / Number of breakdowns.

Mean time between failures calculations mtbf

For example, If an asset had an uptime of 1.000 hours and broke down 10 times, the MTBF calculation would result in 1000/10 = 100 hours. It is crucial to collect data about the performance of the asset. That information is necessary to measure the MTBF. Each asset operates under different circumstances and is influenced by human factors, such as assembly, design, and maintenance. That is why an MTBF estimation should never be made based on a manual. A high MTBF means fewer problems will occur over an asset’s lifetime. This means lower costs associated with repairs and downtime. A lower MTBF means that the asset experiences more frequent failures over its lifetime. When this is the case a strategic asset management tool can help to avoid failures in the future, Like AML Information Management.


How to use Mean Time Between Failures?

MTBF calculation provides an indication about the period within which an asset can fail and how often an asset will fail. When paired with other maintenance strategies, like root cause analysis, it will help to avoid costly breakdowns. Having this information makes it easier to create preventive maintenance. The reliability can be improved by avoiding issues before they cause failure. Gathering all the data when a failure occurs is essential to improve maintainability.


Why is Mean Time Between Failures essential?

MTBF calculation is a method to measure the reliability of an asset and gives an indication of how long an asset will last. This will allow maintenance teams to take preventive measures that can help extend the life of parts that are critical for production. Also, it is helpful for:

– Scheduling maintenance activities
– Inventory planning
– Making Capex decisions
– Estimating and evaluating the cost-effectiveness of a project.

In the end, all assets will fail but having insights into when they will fail and using this information to plan and be proactive will lead to more efficient maintenance planning, improved reliability, less unexpected repairs, and cost reduction.


Ways to improve the Mean Time Between Failures

The impact of asset failure can be significant because it can lead to loss of production and increased time spent on maintenance. Getting to the root cause of failures is the best way to find and possibly prevent the recurrence of that problem, all while increasing your MTBF in the process. There are a few ways to improve the MTBF calculation.

1. Improve preventive maintenance processes
A fantastic way to improve the MTBF is to implement a preventive maintenance plan. When the maintenance team is proactive instead of reactive, it provides a chance to prevent failure before it happens. A poorly executed preventive maintenance plan can have the opposite effect on your MTBF. Lack of training, manuals, and checklists can all leads to more breakdowns. This can all be avoided through a real-time asset management system, like AML Information Management.

2. Conduct a root cause analysis
Root cause analysis (RCA) is a useful process for understanding and solving a problem. Subject matter experts investigate failure data, assess the probable cause, and determine the underlying root cause of the failure event. This process can indirectly increase the MTBF by producing a long-term solution. For example, if the maintenance team notices that an asset fails frequently, they may look to see if they can replace it with a higher quality asset.

3. Condition Based Maintenance
Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) is a maintenance strategy that monitors the real-time condition of an asset to determine what maintenance needs to be performed. It can identify trends in asset performance and assess where an asset is in its lifecycle. The goal of condition-based maintenance is to continuously monitor assets to spot signs of failure, so maintenance can be proactively scheduled before the failure occurs. The benefit is that maintenance scheduling, labor planning, and budgeting are done based on live information from the plant. Software like AML Information Management can be useful to determine signs of failure. This is a way to increase MTBF and reduce downtime.

Mean time between failures calculation
AML Information Management


Your business and MTBF Calculation

Calculating Mean Time Between Failures is one way to reduce downtime. An asset can breakdown due to numerous ways. Adopting the methods mentioned in this blog will reduce unplanned breakdowns. A breakdown is not just an issue for the maintenance department, but it can affect the whole organization. Improving the MTBF can be a great way to decrease unplanned downtime, and this can have an enormous impact on your organization. (Cost reduction, increase employee safety, decrease the loss of production).

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