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Abstract

This paper presents a unified approach for obtaining system reliability and availability parameters from block diagram representations of process systems. It starts with computer algorithms for obtaining the minimal paths in a system, then shows how this information can be combined with unit reliability data to obtain the overall system reliability, and the response of system reliability to changes in unit reliability (sensitivities). It then demonstrates how these sensitivities can be used to optimize the system reliability and availability by equipment redundancy. Extension of the methodology to the automated production of system fault trees as well as the mathematical relationship between fault trees and block diagrams are noted.