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Title: A methodology for availability assessment of tunnel designs
Authors: Wong, CLW
Tsang, AHC
Chung, TS
Keywords: Hong Kong
Maintenance reliability
Markov processes
Issue Date: 2006
Source: International journal of quality and reliability management, 2006, v. 23, no. 1 spec. iss., p. 60-80 How to cite?
Journal: International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management 
Abstract: Purpose - The reliability and maintainability of tunnel infrastructure and systems is an important factor in assuring normal operation of a tunnel. Evaluating availability of a large-scale tunnel that includes civil, electrical, mechanical and electronic systems is a difficult task. The purpose of this paper is to present a methodology for performing such assessments, featuring the use of the Markov model. Design/methodology/approach - The methodology involves application of failure mode, effect and criticality analysis (FMECA), state space diagram construction, formulation of state space equations, and development of transitional matrices. It also involves transformation of multi-state models into two-state models (each comprises of an "up" state and a "down" state) through the use of the frequency and duration method for determining the failure and repair rates, as well as the mean-time-between-failures (MTBF) of the entire tunnel. By using the proposed bottom-up approach, a MTBF tree linking the availability measures of individual equipment with those of sub-systems, and ultimately the whole tunnel can be developed. Findings - The tunnel availability measures obtained by this analysis can be used in making comparisons between different tunnel designs so as to determine the value for money of various options. Furthermore, weaknesses in a tunnel design can be identified in the analysis. The information obtained from this method can also be used to evaluate adequacy, security and maintainability of a tunnel. Practical implications - The reliability and maintainability of tunnel infrastructure and systems are crucial factors for ensuring safety of tunnel operation. Unsafe conditions will cause closure of a tunnel. Efforts to improve availability of a tunnel often increase the tunnel's construction cost. Due to the complexity of tunnel systems, it is difficult to compare different tunnel designs, and trade-off analyses to strike a balance between target availability and construction cost of a tunnel design are seldom performed. This paper presents a systematic methodology to address these issues. This methodology allows tunnel management to evaluate the adequacy, security and maintainability of a tunnel so that design weaknesses can be identified and the value of design improvements can be determined. The methodology can also be used to evaluate designs of other complex systems such as power generation or petrochemical processing plants. Originality/value - A worked example demonstrating the application of the proposed methodology is presented in this paper.
ISSN: 0265-671X
DOI: 10.1108/02656710610637550
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