Residual Life Predictions in the Absence of Prior Degradation Knowledge
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Recent developments in degradation modeling have been targeted towards utilizing degradation-based sensory signals to predict residual life distributions. Typically, these models consist of stochastic parameters that are estimated with the aid of an historical database of degradation signals. In many applications, building a degradation database, where components are run-to-failure, may be very expensive and time consuming, as in the case of generators or jet engines. The degradation modeling framework presented herein addresses this challenge by utilizing failure time data, which are easier to obtain, and readily available (relative to sensor-based degradation signals) from historical maintenance/repair records. Failure time values are first fitted to a Bernstein distribution whose parameters are then used to estimate the prior distributions of the stochastic parameters of an initial degradation model. Once a complete realization of a degradation signal is observed, the assumptions of the initial degradation model are revised and improved for future predictions. This approach is validated using real world vibration-based degradation information from a rotating machinery application. 2009 IEEE.