Stochastic Filtering Approach for Condition-Based Maintenance Considering Sensor Degradation

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Original languageEnglish
Article number8741096
Pages (from-to)177-190
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number1
Online published19 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


This paper proposes a condition-based maintenance (CBM) policy for a deteriorating system whose state is monitored by a degraded sensor. In the literature of CBM, it is commonly assumed that inspection of system state is perfect or subject to measurement error. The health condition of the sensor, which is dedicated to inspect the system state, is completely ignored during system operation. However, due to the varying operation environment and aging effect, the sensor itself will suffer a degradation process and its performance deteriorates with time. In the presence of sensor degradation, the Kalman filter is employed in this paper to progressively estimate the system and the sensor state. Since the estimation of system state is subject to uncertainty, maintenance solely based on the estimated state will lead to a suboptimal solution. Instead, predictive reliability is used as a criterion for maintenance decision-making, which is able to incorporate the effect of estimation uncertainty. Preventive replacement is implemented when the estimated system reliability at inspection hits a specific threshold, which is obtained by minimizing the long-run maintenance cost rate. An example of wastewater treatment plant is used to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed maintenance policy. It can be concluded through our research that: 1) disregarding the sensor degradation while it exists will significantly increase the maintenance cost and 2) the negative impact of sensor degradation can be diminished via proper inspection and filtering methods.

Note to Practitioners—This paper was motivated by the observation of sensor degradation in wastewater treatment plants but the developed approach also applies to other systems such as manufacturing systems, chemical plants, and pharmaceutical factories, where sensors are dedicated to a long-time operation in a harsh environment. This paper investigates the impact of sensor degradation on CBM and suggests that the effect of sensor degradation should be carefully addressed while making maintenance decisions. Otherwise, it will lead to a suboptimal maintenance decision and increase the operating cost. An optimal maintenance decision, which contains the optimal inspection interval and reliability threshold, is achieved via minimizing the long-run cost rate. In the presence of measurement noise and intrinsic uncertainty from degradation, a stochastic filtering approach is employed to estimate the system and sensor state. Based on the estimated states and the calculated reliability, a dynamic maintenance decision is obtained at each inspection. This paper can be further extended considering non-Gaussian noise and alternative degradation processes.

Research Area(s)

  • Condition-based maintenance (CBM), imperfect inspection, sensor degradation, stochastic filter, Wiener process