Application of the Interface and Functional Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis (IFF-MECA) for RAM and Safety Assessment of Rail Electrification

Authored by: Qamar Mahboob

Handbook of RAMS in Railway Systems

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138035126
eBook ISBN: 9781315269351
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, a functional, interface and component failure-based approach called interfaces and functional failure mode effects and criticality analysis (IFF-MECA) is presented for the reliability, availability, maintainability, and safety (RAMS) assessment of an example but real system. Reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) parameters are calculated and were made available for comparison and decision making in reference to the widely accepted RAMS-related standards. It is argued that the functions of the system and its interfaces, together with components and their failure modes and properties, must be considered for comprehensive RAMS studies, and this is possible using the IFF-MECA methodology presented herein. Due to the combined handling of system components, interfaces, and functions using IFF-MECA, a novel approach for the RAMS assessment is achieved. One of the major advantages of this top–down approach is that not only the realization of the functions can be analyzed from the hardware point of view but also software can replace hardware for the same function(s) in the analysis. In this way, future systems can possibly be improved by replacing hardware with software and vice versa. This approach is suitable for analyzing functional tendering documents for technical systems that offers great potential of innovation drive with reduced overall life cycle costs. The IFF-MECA methodology can be applied to other similar RAMS-related problems, for example, systems involving functions, complex interfaces (e.g., interfaces related to heat, information and energy flows), and components such as smart energy networks (include software and digital interfaces).

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