PHM (Prognostics & Health Management) and RAMS: Complementarities, Differences and Challenges

Pierre Dersin, Ph.D., ALSTOM Transport

In most industrial areas, maintenance is a key economic stake, while contracts increasingly include demanding availability and reliability targets. This situation drives the development and deployment of predictive maintenance: by spotting degradations before they result in service-affecting failures, the latter can be avoided while reducing maintenance costs. In this context, the PHM (Prognostics & Health Management) discipline, initially evolved in the aerospace and defense fields, now permeates many other areas such as energy and transportation. Its growth is spurred by smart sensors and connectivity (the Internet of things) but also by the significant progress achieved recently in machine intelligence. At the same time, more-traditional methods of reliability engineering and physics-of-failures modeling are playing a key role in that quest. While reliability engineering addresses average properties of a population, PHM focuses on one single asset; though the two methods are complementary, the respective communities are still often separated.

Illustrations in the railway area will be presented.

Challenges should not be underestimated: combining human expertise and machine intelligence, using data effectively for decision making, dealing with safety and cyber-security, dealing with large amounts of data or too few data. But economic benefits are potentially huge and PHM is becoming a 'must have'.

About the speaker
Pierre Dersin holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Operations Research, both from MIT. With ALSTOM Transport since 1990, he founded the “RAM Center of Excellence”. He is currently RAM (Reliability-Availability-Maintainability) and PHM (Prognostics & Health Management) Director of ALSTOM Digital Mobility. He has authored numerous publications in scientific conferences and journals in RAMS, PHM and automatic control, including IEEE Transactions, ESREL, RAMS Symposia, French Lambda-Mu Symposia andIEEE-PHM Conference. He served on the IEEE Reliability Society AdCom from 2012 to 2017 and as VP, Technical Activities, in 2017. He is a contributor of 4 chapters in the “Handbook of RAMS in Railways: Theory & Practice” CRC Press, 2018.