Reliability Estimation under Scarcity of Data: A Comparison of Three Approaches

Leonardo Leoni, Alessandra Cantini, Farshad Bahootoroody, Saeed Khalaj, Filippo De Carlo*, Mohammad Mahdi Abaei, Ahmad Bahootoroody

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


During the last decades, the optimization of the maintenance plan in process plants has lured the attention of many researchers due to its vital role in assuring the safety of operations. Within the process of scheduling maintenance activities, one of the most significant challenges is estimating the reliability of the involved systems, especially in case of data scarcity. Overestimating the average time between two consecutive failures of an individual component could compromise safety, while an underestimate leads to an increase of operational costs. Thus, a reliable tool able to determine the parameters of failure modelling with high accuracy when few data are available would be welcome. For this purpose, this paper aims at comparing the implementation of three practical estimation frameworks in case of sparse data to point out the most efficient approach. Hierarchical Bayesian modelling (HBM), maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), and least square estimation (LSE) are applied on data generated by a simulated stochastic process of a natural gas regulating and metering station (NGRMS), which was adopted as a case of study. The results identify the Bayesian methodology as the most accurate for predicting the failure rate of the considered devices, especially for the equipment characterized by less data available. The outcomes of this research will assist maintenance engineers and asset managers in choosing the optimal approach to conduct reliability analysis either when sufficient data or limited data are observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5592325
Number of pages15
JournalMathematical Problems in Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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