This article presents the model for calculating the performance of dependability for complex technical systems. According to ISO-IEC 300, dependability is an overall indicator for the quality of service and considers simultaneously reliability, maintainability, and maintenance support. For a proper understanding of the quality of service for any technical system, it is important to define dependability performance at the level of single component as well as at the upper levels—levels of subsystems and entire system. As dependability indicators (reliability, maintainability, and maintenance support) have been defined as linguistic variables, the fuzzy max–min composition has been used for the dependability determination and integration of its indicators. A procedure for the synthesis of single components dependability performance to upper levels in complex technical system is proposed. Max–min composition is again used as a tool for fuzzy synthesis because it enables obtaining the comprehensive and synergetic effect in a process of dependability evaluation. A practical engineering example (mechanical systems at bucket wheel excavator) has been used to demonstrate the proposed dependability synthesis model. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.