Most engineering, maintenance and operating decisions involve some aspect of cost/risk trade-off. Such decisions range from evaluating a proposed design change, determining the optimal maintenance or inspection interval, when to replace an ageing asset, or which and how many spares to hold.
The decisions involve deliberate expenditure in order to achieve some hoped-for reliability, performance or other benefit. We may know the costs involved, but it is often difficult to quantify the potential impact of reduced risks, improved efficiency or safety, or longer equipment life. Historical evidence points to what is allowed to happen – we try not to gather the data about the other side of the coin: what would happen if we did not perform maintenance.
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