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Using statistically designed experiments for safety system optimization

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journal contribution
posted on 06.10.2006 by Lisa Jackson, J.D. Andrews
This paper describes the method of statistically designed experiments (SDE's), used as a structured method to investigate the best setting for a number of decision variables in a system design problem. Traditionally, in the design of safety critical systems, a trial and error type approach is undertaken to achieve a final system that meets the design objectives. This approach can be time consuming and often only an adequate design is found rather than the optimal design for the available resources. Optimal use of resources should be imperative when possible lives are at risk. To demonstrate the practicality of this new structured approach for optimising a safety system design, a high integrity safety system has been used. Each design is analysed using the Binary Decision Diagram analysis technique to establish the system unavailability, which is penalised if the system constraints are exceeded. System constraints indicate the limitations on the resources which can be utilised. The SDE approach highlights good and bad settings for possible design variables. This knowledge can then be used by more sophisticated search techniques. The latter part of this paper analyses the results from the best design generated using the SDE, for further optimisation using localised optimisation approaches.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


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BARTLETT, L.M. and ANDREWS, J.D., 2004. Using statistically designed experiments for safety system optimization. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E : Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering 218 (1), pp. 53-63


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This article was published in the journal, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering [© Professional Engineering Publishing] and is also available at: http://pep.metapress.com/content/119780