What is MTBF and why is it important?

What is MTBF? 

The meantime between failures, also called MTBF, is the average time between system breakdowns. It can be used as a reliability indicator. MTBF can also indicate if a machine has been badly repaired or badly used by human beings.

Why is it important? 

A machine that breaks down disables the whole organization. When the company’s operations depend on these machines, their downtime represents a considerable cost.

This is why performance measures are essential for the proper functioning of the company. Measuring MTBF is the first step in the goal to minimize downtime.

How to calculate?

To calculate the mean time between failures, you have to divide the total number of operational hours in a period by the number of failures that occurred in that period. It is usually measured in hours.

MTBF =  Number of operational hours ÷ Number of failures

For example, let’s say you have a piece of equipment that is supposed to work for 12 hours. In the end, it worked for 10 hours instead. It broke down 4 times for a total duration of 2 hours.

MTBF = 10÷4

MTBF = 2,5 hours

Here, we have calculated that the MTBF is 2,5 hours. It is usually measured in hours. 

How to decrease it? 

You can combine MTBF with other maintenance calculators like the meantime to failure (MTTF) in order to avoid a breakdown. In fact, it will help the maintenance team to improve their system and be more efficient. The checking of assets can be done through the validation process, testing process, health monitoring and failure prediction etc…

All this process, calculating MTBF and an anomaly detection tool can make you save money and work faster. 

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