The New Weibull Handbook
Reliability & Statistical Analysis for Predicting Life, Safety, Risk, Support Costs, Failures, and Forecasting Warranty Claims, Substantiation and Accelerated Testing, ) Using Weibull, Log Normal, CrowAMSAA, Probit, and KaplanMeier Models
Fifth Edition by Dr. Robert B. Abernethy Author and Publisher
^{)}
The New Weibull Handbook, Fifth Edition
I
)
Copyright" 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004 by Robert B. Abernethy All rights reserved. Reproduction or translation of any part of this work beyond that permitted by Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act without permission of the copyright author is unlawful. Requests for permission should be addressed to the author.
Lihrary of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 96202898 TA169.A35 1996620/.004521
Abernethy, Robert B.
The New Weibull Handbook, 2"' ed.
I v. (various
pagings) :ill.; 28 crn
Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0965306232
I. 
Reliability (Engineering). 2. Statistical Methods 
3. 
Weibull distribution 
Book source: ad
ISBNIO 0965306232
ISBN139780965306232
Published and distributed by Robert B. Abernethy 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, Florida 334084328 Phone/Fax: 15618424082, Email: weibull@worldnet.att.net
Also distributed by:
1. SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers) Phone: 7247728597, Fax: 7247764955, Email: profdev@sae.org and http://www.sae.org
)
)
/
)
''\
)
2. Wes Fulton, Phone/Fax: 3105486358, Web page: http://www.weibullnews.com
3. Paul Barringer, Phone: 2818526810, Email: hpaul@barringerl.com and http://www.barringerl.com
Copyrights and Trademarks: Windows is trademarked by Microsoft, Inc. YBATH is trademarked by Carl Tarum. The New Weibull Handbook copyright belongs to Dr. Robert B. Abernethy. Copyrights for SuperSMITH software, SuperSMITH Weibull, SuperSMITH Visual, MonteCarloSMITH and "Playtime with SuperSMITH" belong to Fulton Findings.
Printing History (Each printing is updated to the latest technology) First Edition, December 1993, Printings to June 1996
Second Edition, July 1996, 9 Printings to January 1998
Third Edition, September 1998, 13 Printings May 2000
Fourth Edition, September 2000, 12 Printings November 2003
Fifth Edition, December 2006, February 2007, March, June, March, April, July. August 2008, May 2009, April 2010.
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
Dedication:
This book is dedicated to my wife, Sally, for her encouragement and patience. Further, it is dedicated to all my friends and colleagues that helped so much. Finally, it is dedicated to the reader with the hope it will have "some utility," to use Professor Weibull's words.
)
And
Handbook
lastly
we have
a
special
note
for the Weibull Workshop
students
for whom
we
designed
this
Weibull Workshop Students:
If you are fortunate enough to have obtained or borrowed the Handbook before your Workshop, studying the Handbook
Please read at least Chapters 14. We will cover the basic standard method the
first day, Chapters 14. For the second day, study Chapters 57 (7 is least important). For the third day, Chapters 8, 9,
& 10. (Most important material for the third day is the CrowAMSAA ModeL) Chapter 11 is case studies which you
The data should be in a
should browse. Please bring a clear plastic ruler, a calculator, and a problem from your work.
before the Workshop is very helpful.
single column, positive values are failures, negative are suspensions.
You may bring the data in ASCII format, or a
soreadsheet file (Excel) or SuoerSMITH Weibull files. The file mav be on a diskette or in vour laotoo.
)
)
"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cam10t measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the begilming of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be."
Lord Kelvin
1883
A quotation suggested by Walter Thomas, NASA Goddard.
"Now in building of chaises, I tell you what, There is always somewhere a weakest spot,
In
In
In screw, bolt, throughbraee,lnrking still,
Find it somewhere you must and will,
Above or below, or within or without, And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
A chaise breaks down, bnt doesn't wear out.
hnb, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
Oliver Wendell Holmes
"The OneHoss Shay"
)
)
"
J'
)
)
/
)
j
,
,
Preface
v
PREFACE
Background A quarter of a century has passed since the USAF Weibull Analysis Handbook was published. In the years that followed, the author frequently taught Weibull analysis using the USAF Handbook as the text, encouraged by both the United States Air Force and Pratt _{&} Whitney. In 1987, the author retired early to devote full time to research and lecturing in Weibull Analysis. It has been most enjoyable and interesting. The best part has been meeting outstanding engineers from many industries with new and different applications for Weibull methods. The students inspire additional research and methods development. This in turn required rewriting and updating the USAF Handbook producing The New Weibull Handbook. This document is the fifth edition. It contains the latest methods, teclmiques, and applications that have been developed by the author, Wes Fulton, Paul Barringer, Joe Wauben, Bob Rock, Wayne Nelson, Randy Pirtle, Todd Marquart, Carl Tarum, Geoff Cole and David Navell and many others.
The New Weibull Handbook has become the national and international standard for Weibull analysis.
daily use throughout the world. Thousands of copies have been distributed.
It is in
Users include military, automotive,
medical, electronics, materials & composites research, aerospace, electrical power, nuclear power, dental research,
advertising, bearings, compressors, vbelts, chain drives and on and on. Many organizations have adopted the Handbook and software implementing its methods as standard including the Federal Aviation Administration, Harley Davidson, Motorola, TVA, Honeywell, BICC General, GKN Automotive, Dupont, Meritor Automotive, Teleflex, Guidant Cardiac Pacemaker (CPI), Daimler Chrysler, General Electric, Siemens, Belu', BorgWamer, NASA, Rolls Royce, Gates Rubber, the US Naval Air Ann (NAVAIR), the US Air Force at SAALC and WPAFB, and Dow Chemical. The author has provided many free copies (shipping charges only) ofthe Handbook to universities in Europe, North America, and Australia. The author hereby extends this offer to university libraries worldwide. Wes Fulton provides free demonstration copies of the SuperSMITH software on his web site.
With this fifth edition there is a new companion text, "The New Weibull Handbook Student Version." _{I}_{t} includes an introductOly version of the SuperSMITH Weibull Software. The author provides free copies (shipping charges only) of the student handbook and the student software to professors and lecturers that teach reliability as well as to university libraries that requcst copies.
2009 Update: A new world standard, lEC 61649 Edition 2, has been published. As the author served on the lEC Committee, much of the lEC standard is taken verbatim from this Handbook. Fmiher, the two documents are absolutely consistent with each other.
"%
The SuperSMITH software is the most significant technical breakthrough. Wes Fulton has created friendly,
J easytouse software that does everything in the Handbook. The New We/bull Handbook provides an understanding and reference for SuperSMlTH. The computer software has made application so much easier. It has also made teaching Weibull easier, more efficient, and more fun. Within the Weibull workshops, many more applications and case studies can be treated without the drudgery of hand calculations and plotting. As this document is the workbook for the Weibull Workshops, many references to the software capabilities are included. This referencing may appear to be inappropriate, but the reliance on software in the workshops requires it. If the student using The New Weibull Handbook desires, he may avoid almost all hand calculations and hand plotting by using SuperSMITH. The new "Playtime with SuperSMITH" computer tutorial enhances the Handbook and provides many stepbystep case studies illustrating all the methods. Alternatively, the reader may use this Handbook to write "homegrown" software. Outputs are easily validated with benchmark case studies found in both demonstration and full versions of the SuperSMlTH software.
The Fifth Edition features new technology:
• Goodness of fit, illustrating for the first time the "power" of the three best methods for goodness of fit:
Critical Correlation Coefficient, likelihood ratio and AndersonDarling. "Power" is the probability that the method makes the correct choice identifying the parent distribution for a given data set. • CrowAMSAA modeling has become so popular that it has been moved to a new chapter. The new writeup includes the latest methods from the new lEC standards with best practices recommended. • A new section on warranty analysis has been added by Joe Wauben of Honda
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 561 8424082
VI
The New Weibull Handbook
)
• Life Cycle Costs are presented in a new section by Paul Barringer.
• Wayne Nelson has updated his graphical repair analysis with a case study in Appendix M.
• Bob Rock of PACCAR updated his extremely useful life data analysis logic diagram which takes you step bystep to the best methods and analysis for your particular data. The logic diagram is also available in Spanish translated by Gerardo Vargas of Carbones de Cerrejon.
• Todd Marquart of Micron Technology has completed an extensive comparison of the three methods for interval and grouped data. Which is most accurate?
• The New Weibull Handbook is unique in recommending "best practices" wherever there are alternative methods available. Some of the "best practices" have changed based on new research.
• Cost analysis is described for production process reliability, failure forecasts, CrowAMSAA, Life Cycle Costs and optimal parts replacement.
To make the Handbook more readable, all the heavy mathematics will be found in the appendixes. Asterisks on section subtitles indicate advanced topics. The novice reader may skip these advanced sections. As the workbook is designed for the Weibull Analysis Workshops, the fonnat includes much white space for notes and calculations. Dozens of case studies are employed to present the methodology. Paul Baninger has taken the most important reference texts and papers from my library and put them on his Website for downloading. http://www.barringerl.com They are indicated by a $ sign preceding references throughout the Handbook
Jume 2008: The data sets for the Weibull plots herein are now available as SuperSMITH software files at http://www.BobAbernethy.comifyou would like to follow the analysis stepbystep.
)
'~\
>J
Thank You: Many friends, students, experts, and clients have helped and contributed much to the Handbook. For me, all this support has been ovelwhelming. Everyone helped! Thank you all. Some are mentioned here:
First, my associate, Wes Fulton, not only for his friendly software, but also for his research and development of new Weibull methods. Second, our associate, Paul Barringer, for his help, cOlrunents, reviews, research, and contributions. A board of industry expelis has reviewed the fifth edition and provided many comments and contributions: Walter Thomas, Wes Fulton, Ronald Schop, Bob Rock, Charles DeSica, Randy Pirtle, Todd Marquart, Carl Tarum, Geoff Cole, Paul Barringer, Jim Breneman, and Joe Wauben. I am indebted to them. April 2010: Thanks to Richard Unkle for his many comments and suggestions. Many contributed sections of the Handbook: Bob Rock, PACCAR; David B. Smith, Detroit Edison; Marie Stanton, FPL; David Weber, Consultant; Carl Tarum, Delphia; Drs. Memis and Lautenschlager, Dentists at Northwestern University; Richard Rudy, Clllysler; Jim Keener and Mel Thomas, FPL; Bill Pritchard, TVA; Shashank Kolhatkar, Borg Warner; Charlie Williams, Florida Power; Geoffrey Cole and David Navell, Rolls Royce; David Williamson, Dow Chemical; M.A. Vasan, Meritor Automotive; David B. Smith, Detroit Edison; Todd Marquart, Micron; David Langanke and Randy Pirtle, Honeywell Engines. This edition is improved by incorporating the suggestions from the excellent constructive review of the Handbook by Dr. Alan Winterbottom for the Royal Statistical Society Journal A (1997), 160, Part 2. The author is indebted. None of the above are in any way responsible for errors in the Handbook. The author takes all the blame.
'\"
)
)
"1
/
)
j
>,
j
Please call or write with questions, comments, and constructive criticism about The New Weibull Handbook. 1 would like to hear from you: Email isprefeITed:weibull@att.net
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy Wintertime: 536 Oyster Road North Palm Beach, Florida 334084328 Phone: 5618428232
Summertime: 174 Tanasi Lagoon Drive Loudon, Tennessee, 377742984 Phone: 8654080541
;I
)
Table of Contents
Vll
Table of Contents
Chapter 1
An Overview Of Weibull Analysis
II
1.2 Background II
1.1 Objective
1.3 Examples 
12 
1.4 Scope 
12 
11
1.5 Advantages of Weibull Analysis 
13 
1.6 Data, Discrete Versus Life Data 
13 
1.7 Failure Distribution 14
1.8 Failure Forecasts And Predictions
16
1.10 Maintenance Planning 16
1.11 System Analysis And Math Models 17
1.12 Weibulls With Curved Data 17
1.13 Weibulls With Comers And Doglegs 19
1.14 Weibayes 19
1.15 Small Sample Weibulls 19
1.16 Updating Weibulls 19
I. 9 Engineering Change Test Substantiation
15
1.17 Deficient (Ditty) Data 19
1.18 Establishing The Weibull Line, Choosing The Fit Method 110
1.19 Related Methods And Problems 110
1.20 Summary 111
Chapter 2 Plotting The Data And Interpreting The Plot
2.1 Foreword 21
2.2 Weibull Data
2.3 The Weibull Plot Scales
2.4 11 (Eta) and P (Beta)22
2.5 Weibull Analysis  An Example
21
22
24
2.6 Median Ranks 
25 
2.7 The Weibull Plot 
26 
2.8 "B" Life
26
2.9 Suspended Test Items 
27 
2.10 Bernard's Approximation 
27 
2.11 Suspensions Increase Eta 
28 
21
2.12 Interpreting The Weibull Plot 28
2.13 Beta < 1 Implies Infant Mortality 29
2.14 
Beta = 
1.0 Implies Random Failures 
210 
2.15 1.0 < Beta < 4.0 Implies Early Wear Out 
211 
)
2.16 Beta> 4.0 Implies Old Age (Rapid) Wear Out
2.17 Weibull Modes May Be "Covercd"212
2.18 Weibull Paper And Its Construction 212
2.19 Weibull Analysis  The Standard Method 214
2.20 Problems 213
211
Chapter 3
3.1 Foreword 31
3.2 Small Sample Uncertainties 31
Dirty Data, "Bad" Weibulls, And Uncertainties
31
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Vlll
The New Weibull Handbook
3.2.1 Goodness Of Fit
33
3.3 Suspensions 
36 
3.4 Suspect Outliers 
36 
3.5 Curved Weibulls And The
to Correction
37
3.6 Curved Weibulls And The Log Normal Distribution 
311 

3.7 Data Inconsistencies And Multimode Failures 
314 

3.7.1 LowTime Failnres 314 

3.7.2 Close Serial Numbers 315 

3.7.3 Mixtures Of Failure Modes 
316 

3.8 Steep Slopes Hide Problems 317 

3.9 Bad Weibull Pattems 318 

Conclnsion 
318 

3.10 
Problems 
319 

Chapter 4 
Failure Forecasting = Risk Analysis 
41 

4.1 Situation 
41 

4.2 Definition 
41 
4.3 Forecasting Techniques
4.4 Calculating Failure Forecasts 41
41
41
4.4.1 Expccted Failures Now
4.4.2 Failure Forecast When Failed Units Are Not Replaced 
43 

4.4.3 Failure Forecasts When Failed Units Are Replaced 
43 

4.5 Failure Forecast AnalysisSummary 44 

4.5.1 Case Study 1: Bearing Cage Fractnre 
45 

4.5.2 Case Stndy 2: Bleed System Failures 
47 

4.6 System Failure Forecast Without Simulation* 
412 

4.6.1 
Case Study 3: Aircraft InFlight Engine Shutdowns' 
412 

4.7 System Failure Forecasts With Simulation' 415 

4.7.1 
Case Study 4: System Failure Forecast With Simulation* 
417 
4.8 Optimal (Lowest Cost) And Block Replacement Intervals*
4.9 Problems 425
419
Chapter 5
Maximum Likelihood Estimates & Other Alternatives 51
5.1 
Introduction 51 

5.2 
Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) 
51 

5.3 
MLE With Reduced Bias Adjustment (RBA) for Accurate Results 
53 

5.3.1 The REA Factor for Normal and Lognormal Distributions 
54 

5.3.2 The REA factor for the Weibull distribution 
55 

5.3.3.Best Practice 
56 

5.4 
Median Rank Regression: X on Y Versus Y on X 
57 

5.5 
Plotting Positions 59 

5.5 
Special Mcthods: Mlc With Reduced Bias Adjustment (Rba) 56 

5.6 
Special Mcthods: Gossett's Student's T 510 

5.7 
The Dauser Shift  Unknown Suspension Times 
510 

5.8 
Special Methods For Inspection Interval Data And Coarse Data 512 

5.8.1 
Inspection Option #1 
512 

5.8.2 
& 5.8.3 Probit Analysis Inspection Options #2 & 3 
513 

5.8.4 
KaplanMeier (KM) Inspection Option #4 
514 

5.8.5 
Interval Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) Inspection Option #5 514 

5.9 
Distribution Analysis 
516 
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, NorOl Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
)
)
~>.
}
)
';;
f
)
)
)
)
)
/
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
) 
Table of Contents 
ix 

Chapter 6 Weibayes And Weibayes Substantiation Testing 
61 

6.1 Foreword 61 

6.2 Weibayes Method 62 

6.3 Weibayes Without Failures 
62 

6.4 Weibayes With Failures 
63 

6.5 Unknown Failure Times 64 

6.6 Weibayes Worries And Concems 
64 

6.7 Weibayes Case Studies 
65 

6.8 Substantiation And Reliability Testing 
69 

6.9 ZeroFailure Test Plans For Substantiation Testing 
610 

6.10 
ZeroFailure Test Plans For Reliability Testing 
612 

6.10.1 ReExpression Of Reliability Goal To Determine? 
612 

6.10.2 Tailoring and Designing Test Plans 614 

6.11 
Total Test Time 615 

) 
6.12 
TestToFailure Versus Weibayes ZeroFailure Tests 
616 

6.13 
One Or Zero Failure Test Plans 
619 

6.14 
Sudden Death Tests With Weibull And Weibayes 
620 

6.15 
Case Study: Cost Vs. Uncertainty Trades 
623 

6.16 
Normal And Lognormal Tests 
622 

6.17 
Accelerated Testing 
624 

) 
6.17.1 * Accelerated StepStress Test Data Analysis 625 

6.17.2* Accelerated Testing: A Method For Estimating Test Acceleration InService Failures Factor With No Existing 

6.18 
System Deterioration 
628 

6.19 
Weibull Libraries And Lessons Learned 
629 

6.19.1 A WeibullLibraryCaseStudy 
630 

6.19.2 Weibull Libraries FOl'End Users 631 

6.21 
Problems 632 

Chapter 7 Interval Estimates 
71 

7.1 Interval Estimates 
71 

7.2 Confidence Interval Concept71 

7.3 Confidence Intervals For B Lives And Reliability 
72 

7.3.1 BetaBinomial Bounds 
73 

7.3.2 Fisher's Matrix Bounds 74 

7.3.3 Likelihood Ratio Bounds 75 

7.3.4 Pivotal Bounds Monte Carlo Bounds 
76 

) 
7.3.5 Reliability Assurance Interval and the "p" value 
77 

7.3.6 Normal Distribution Confidence Bounds with Student's t 77 

7.3.7 Summary Of Confidence Bounds For B Life And Reliability 
78 

7.4 Confidence Intervals For Eta And Beta 
78 

7.5 Are Two Weibull Data Sets Different Or From The Same Distribution 
79 

) 
7.5.1 Double Confidence Bounds Do Not Overlap 710 

7.5.2 Likelihood Ratio Test 711 
7.5.3 Likelihood Contour Plots 711
7.6 Problems  True Or False?
713
Chapter 8 Related Math Models
8.1 Introduction 81
8.2 Binomial Distribution
8.3 Poisson Distribution
81
85
81
8.4 Binomial Becomes Poisson 
Sometimes 
89 
8.5 The Exponential Distribution 
811 
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 561 8424082
x
The New Weibull Handbook
"j
8.6 KaplanMeier Survival Estimates 
812 
") 

8.7 Probabilistic Design 
817 

8.7.1 StrengthLoad And LifeVsage Interactions 
817 

8.7.2 Total Life = Crack Life + CrackToRuptnre Life 
818 

8.7.3 Does Failure Mode A CoverModeB? 
819 
) 

8.8 Production Process Reliability 
819 

8.9 Extreme Value Statistics 
821 

8.10 Batch Effects 823 
) 

8.11 Problems 
824 

Chapter 9 
CrowAMSAA Modeling, Warranty Analysis & Life Cycle Costs 91 

9.0 The CrowAMSAADuane Reliability Growth Model 
91 

9.1 Background History 92 

9.2 CA Methods 92 

9.2.1 Simple Graphical and Regression Solution 92 

9.2.2 IEC Solutions for Time and Failure Terminated Data 
95 

9.2.3 IEC MLE Solutions for Interval and Grouped Data 
97 

9.3 Comparisons of the IEC and Regression CA Methods 
912 

9.4 CA Input May Be Confusing 
914 

9.5 Missing Early Data with CA 
914 

9.6 First Time Failure Mode Analysis 
914 

9.7 Warranty Claims Analysis 
915 
) 

9.8 Warranty Data Matrix 
916 

9.9 Warranty Data Rules 
917 

9.10 Warranty Data Matrix Conversion and Analysis 918 

9.11 Wan'anty Analysis Methods 
920 

9.11.1 Inspection Option #1 
920 
) 

9.11.2 KaplanMeier 
920 

9.11.3 MLE Interval 
920 
) 

9.11.4 Crow AMSAA 
920 
9.12 Case Studies 921
9.13 Tracking Your Results 921
9.14 WalTanty Conclusions and RecOlmnendations
9.15 Life Cycle Cost 921
9.16 Net Present Value (NPV) 921
9.17 Discount Rate 922
9.18 Life Cycle Cost and NPV 922
9.19 LCC Calculations 923
9.20 Case Studies
924
Chapter 10
Summary
101
10.1 The Beginning Of The End 101
10.2 Which Method? What Kind Of Data? 101
10.3 Looking At Thc Plot, What Do You See? 103
10.4 Which Distribution Is Best? 104
10.5 Substantiation And Accelerated Testing 106
10.6 Confidence Intervals 106
10.7 Presentations And Reports 106
10.8 Logic Diagram  Flowchart 106
10.9 The End 106
10.10 Best Practice Flow Chart
107
921
Dr. Roberl B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
_{)}
Table of Contents
xi
Chapter 11  Case Studies And New Applications
)
11.1 Foreword
11.2 Stress COlTosion Failure Forecasting
11.3 Optimal Component Replacement  Voltagc Regulators
1104 Locomotive Power Units Overhaul Life
11.5 Cost Effective Calibration Intervals 118
11.6 Florida Power & Light Turbogenerator Failure 1110
11.7 TVA Bull Run Fossil Plant  Controller Cards
11.8 Repairable Systems Reliability Growth Assessment 1113
11.9 Front Jounce Bumpers
11.10 Transfer Case Seal 1115
11.11 Dental AClylic Adhesive Fatigue 1116
11.12 DuaneCrowAMSAA Reliability Modeling 1117
11.13 Weibull Analysis Of Boiler Tube Failures 1120
11.14 Gas Turbine Seal Failures  A Batch Problem 1123
11.15 Challenger Space Shuttle Weibull 125
112
117
1111
1114
Appendix A: Glossary
AI
113
Appendix B: Rank Regression And Correlation Method Of Weibull Analysis
B1
B.1 
Method B1 

B.2 
Example And StepByStep Procedure 
B1 

Appendix C: Maximum Likelihood Estimation* 
Cl 

CI. 
Foreword Cl 

C.2 
Statistics, Probability And Likclihood 
CI 

C.3 
The Likelihood Function 
Cl 

CA Maximizing The Likelihood Function 
C2 
C.5 
Maximum Likelihood Example 
C3 

C.6 
Interval MLE 
C6 

C.7 
Maximum Likelihood Versus Median Rank Regression Estimates C8 
Appendix D: Goodness of Fit
Appendix E: Weibayes Analysis
Dl
El
E.l 
Foreword 
El 

E.2 
Weibayes Equation With No Failures 
El 

E.3 
Weibayes With Failures 
E2 
Appendix F: Batch Failures Using The Aggregated Cumulated Hazard
Function
Fl
F.I 
Batch Failures On Weibull Plots 
FI 

F.2 
Batch Problems With The "PresentRisk" Method 
F2 

F.3 
The Ach Method 
F3 
FA A Case Study: AcroEngines  (Lp Turbine Strap Failures)
F.5 Concluding Remarks
F5
F4
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Xll
The New Weibull Handbook
Appendix G: Weibull And Log Normal Mean And Variance Gl
G.I Rth Moments 
GI 

G.2 Weibull Mean 
G2 

G.3 Weibull Variance 
G3 
'') 

G.4 Weibull Mode 
G3 

G.5 Weibull Median 
G3 

G.6 Log Normal Mean And Standard Deviation G3 
) 

G.7 
Log Normal Variance 
G4 

Appendix I: Median Ranks 
II 

Appendix J  Mixtures Of Populations And Failure Modes 
Jl 

J.I Competing Risk: 
JI 

J.3 Competing Risk Mixture: 
J2 
) 

J. 4 Compound Competing Risk Mixture: 
J2 

J.5 Weibath Model: 
J2 

J.7 Curve Shape. 
J3 

Appendix K: Answers To Problems 
Kl 
) 

Appendix L: The C4 Factor 
Ll 

Appendix M: Graphical Repair Analysis Ml 
) 

Appendix N: Waloddi WeibullNl 

References 
Rl 

) 
Index
II
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy' 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter I: An Overview of Weibull Analysis
II
)
CHAPTERl.
1.1 Objective
ANOVERWEWOFWEmULL
ANALYSIS
This handbook will provide an understanding of life data analysis. Weibnll and Log Normal analysis will be emphasized particularly for failure analysis. There are new applications of this technology in medical and dental implants, warranty analysis, life cycle cost, materials propeltics and production process control. Related quantitative models such as the binomial, Poisson, KaplanMeier, Gumbel extreme value and the CrowAMSAA are included. The author intends that a novice engineer can perform Weibull analysis after studying this document. A secondary objective is to show the application of personal computers to replace the laborious hand calculations and manual plotting required in the past.
1.2 Background
Waloddi Weibull invented the Weibull distribution in 1937 and delivered his hallmark American paper
on this subject in 1951. He claimed that his distribution applied to a wide range of problems. He illustrated this point with seven examples ranging from the strength of steel to the height of adult males in the British
Isles. He claimed that the function"
may sometimes render good service." He did not claim that it always
worked. Time has shown that Waloddi Weibull was cOITect in both of these statements. IIis biography is in
AppendixN.
)
The reaction to his paper in the 1950s was negative, varying from skepticism to outright rejection. The author was one of the skeptics. Weibull's claim that the data could select the distribution and fit the parameters seemed too good to be hue. However, pioneers in the field like Dorian Shainin and Leonard Johnson applied and improved the technique. The U.S. Air Force recognized the merit of Weibull's method and funded his research until 1975. Today, Weibull analysis is the leading method in the world for fitting and analyzing life data.
Dorian Shainin introduced the author to statistical engineering at the Hartford Graduate Center (RPI) in the midfifties. He strongly encouraged the author and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft to use Weibull analysis. He wrote the first booklet on Weibull analysis and produced a movie on the subject for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.
Leonard Johnson at General Motors improved on Weibull's plotting methods. Weibull used mean ranks for
plotting positions. Johnson suggested the use of median ranks which are slightly more accurate than mean ranks. Johnson also pioneered the use of the BetaBinomial confidence bounds described in Chapter 7.
EJ. Gumbel showed that ti,e Weibull distribution and the Type III Smallest Extreme Values distributions are the same. He also proved that if a part has multiple failure modes, the time to first failure is best modeled by the Weibull distribution. This is the "weakestlillkll1thechain1! concept. See page 326 for mOre on Dorian Shainin and E.J. Gumbel.
Waloddi Weibull18871979
Photo by S:lIn C. Saunders
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy' 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
12 The New Weibull Handbook
The author found that the Weibull method works with extremely small samples, even two or three failures for engineering analysis. This characteristic is important with aerospace safety problems and in development testing with small samples. (For statistical relevance, larger samples are needed.) Advanced techniques such as failure forecasting, substantiation of test designs, and methods like Weibayes and the Dauser Shift were developed by the author and others at Pratt & Whitney. (In retrospect, others also independently invented some of these techniques like Weibayes in the same time period.) Such methods overcome many deficiencies in the data. These advanced methods and others are presented in this Handbook.
1.3 Examples:
)
The following are examples of engineering problems solved with Weibull analysis:
A project engineer reports three failures of a component in service operations during a threemonth
period. The Program Manager asks, "How many failures will we have in the next quarter, six months, and year?" What will it cost? What is the bcst cOlTective action to reduce the risk and
losses?
To order spare parts and schedule maintenance labor, how many units will be returned to depot for overhaul for each failure mode monthbymonth next year? The program manager wants to be 95% confident that he will have enough spare parts and labor available to support the overall program.
A state Air Rcsources Board requires a fleet recall when any part in the emissions system exceeds
a 4% failure rate during the warranty period.
the 4% rate and on what date? After an engineering change, how many units must be tested for how long, without any failures, to verifY that the old failure mode is eliminated, or significantly improved with 90% confidence? An electric utility is plagued with outages from superheater tube failures. Based on inspection data forecast the life of the boiler based on plugging failed tubes. The boiler is replaced when 10% of the tubes have been plugged due to failure. The cost of an unplanned failure for a component, subject to a wear out failme mode, is twenty times the cost of a planned replacement. What is the optimal replacement interval?
Based on the walTanty data, which parts will exceed
1.4 Scope Weibull analysis includes:
Plotting the data and interpreting the plot Failme forecasting and prediction Evaluating con'ective action plans Test substantiation for new designs with minimum cost Maintcnance planning and cost effective replacement strategies Sparc parts forecasting Warranty analysis and support cost predictions Controlling production processes Calibration of complex design systems, i.e., CAD\CAM, finite element analysis, etc. Recommendations to management in response to service problems
Data problems and deficiencies include:
Censored or suspended data Mix!ures of failure modes Nonzero time origin Unknown ages for successful units Extremcly small samples (as small as one failure)
· No failure data
· Early data missing
· Inspection data, both interval and probi!
)
\
)
)
)
\
)
)
~1
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter 1: An Overview of Weibull Analysis
13
Failure types include:
Development, production and service Mechanical, electronic, materials, and human failures Nature: lightning strikes, foreign object damage, human eITor, woodpecker holes in power poles Quality eontrol, design deficiencies, defective material WaiTanty elaims
Math modeling for system analysis includes:
Explieit models for independent failure modes Monte Carlo simulation for dependent failurc modes. Reliability growth, repairability, and management traeking using CrowAMSAA models Exponential, binomial and Poisson models KaplanMeier Survivor Models Warranty Claims models Produetion Proeess Control Models
Statistical derivations are in the Appendices to keep the main body of the Handbook more readable. The author leans toward simple methods as being most useful and easily understood. Complex methods that require sophisticated mathematics are academically interesting, but they are difficult to communicate and explain. Engineers are reluetant to use methods they do not understand. However, many of these complex methods sueh as confidence intervals are included, as the student may be required to employ them. Qualitative reliability methods are not included sueh as failure mode and effects analysis, failure analysis, and fault trees. These are important and recommended, but they are not described herein as the emphasis is on quantitativc methods. See [O'Connor] for treatment of qualitative methods.
1.5 Advantages of Weibull Analysis
The primalY advantage of Weibull analysis is the ability to provide reasonably accurate failure analysis and failure forecasts with extremely small samples. Solutions are possible at the earliest indieations of a problem without having to "crash a few more." Small samples also allow cost effective component testing. For example, "sudden death" Weibull tests are completed when the first failure oceurs in each group of components, (say, groups offour bearings). If all the bearings are tested to failure, the cost and time required is much greater.
Another advantage of Weibull analysis is that it provides a simple and useful graphieal plot of the failure data. The data plot is extremely important to the engineer and to the manager. The Weibull data plot is particularly informative as Weibull pointed out in his 1951 paper. Figure 11 is a typical Weibull plot. The horizontal scale is a measure of life or aging. Start/stop eycles, mileage, operating time, landings or mission eycles are examples of aging parameters. The vertical seale is the cumulative percentage failed. The two defining parameters of the Weibullline are the slope, beta, and the eharacteristic life, eta. The slope of the line, f3, is particularly significant and may provide a clue to the physics of the failure. The relationship between the slope and generic failure classes is discussed in Section 1.7 and Chapter 2. The eharacteristie life, '1, is the typical time to failure in Weibull analysis. It is related to the mean time to failure.
1.6 Data, Discretc Vcrsus Lifc Data
Discrete or counted data was originally used to measure reliability. Tests would be categorized as success or failure. Receiving inspection data would count good parts versus defective parts. This data is modeled with the binomial and Poisson distributions described in Chapter 8. The results are imprccise unless enormous sample sizes are employed. The author has developed a new method using the CrowAMSAA
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 561 8424082
14 The New Weibull Handbook
model that is much more precise and accurate for successfailure and gono go data when the sample size is large. (See Chapter 9.)
Measured data like agetofailure data is much more precise because there is more information in each data point. Measured data provides much better precision so smaller sample sizes are acceptable.
Ideally, each Weibull plot depicts a single failure mode. Data requirements are described by D.R. Cox [1984]: "To determine failure time precisely, there are three requirements:
A time origin must be unambiguously defined,
A scale for measuring the passage oftime must be agreed to and finally,
The meaning of failure must be entirely clear."
SAMPLE
TimetoFnilure might be HoursCyclesStartsLandillgs
"
SUllcl"SMITHfTND 5.0AO32
Figure 11. The Weibull Data Plot
^{)}
The age of each part is required, both failed and unfailed. The units of age depend on the part usage and the failure mode. For example, low cycle and high cycle fatigue may produce cracks leading to rupture. The age units would be fatigue cycles. The age of a starter may be the munber of starts. Burner and turbine parts may fail as a function of time at high temperature or as the number of cold to hot to cold cycles. Usually, knowledge of the physicsoffailure will provide the age scale. When there is uncertainty, several age scales are tried to determine the best fit. This is not difficult with good software. The "best" aging parameter data may not exist and substitntes are tried. For example, the only data on air conditioner compressors may be the date shipped and the date returned. The "best" data, operating time or cycles, is unobtainable, so based on the dates above, a calendar interval is used as a substitute. These inferior data will increase the uncertainty, but the resulting Weibull plot may still be accurate enough to provide valuable analysis. The data fit will tell us if the Weibull is good enough.
1.7 Failure Distribution
The slope of the Weibull plot, beta, (~), determines which member of the family of Weibull failure distributions best fits or describes the data. The slope, ~,also indicates which class of failures is present:
~ < 1.0 indicates infant mortality
Dr. Robert B. Abemethy • 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter 1: An Overview of Weibull Analysis
_{1}_{}_{5}
)
)
7
)
~ = 1.0 means random failures (independent of age)
~ > 1.0 indicates wear out failures
These classes will be discussed in Chapter 2. The Weibull plot shows the onset of the failure. For example,
it may be of interest to determine the time at which 1% of the population will have failed. Weibull called this the "B I" life. For more serious or catastrophic failures, a lower risk may be required, B.l (age at which 0.1 % of the population fail) or even B.OI life (0.01% of the population). Sixsigma quality program goals often equate to 3.4 parts per million (PPM) allowable failure proportion. That would be B.00034! These values are read from the Weibull plot. For example, on Figure II, the Bllife is approximately 160 and the B5 life is 300.
The horizontal scale is the age to failure. Thc vertical scale is the Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF), describing the percentage that will fail at any age. The complement of the CDF scale, (100  CDF) is reliability. The characteristic life 11 is defined as the age at which 63.2% of the units will have failed, the B63.2 life, (indicated on the plot with a horizontal dashed line). For _{~} _{=} I, the meantime tofailure and 11 are equal. For ~ > 1.0, MTTF and '1 are approximately equal. The relationship will be given in the next chapter.
1.8 Failure Forecasts and Predictions
When failures occur in service, a prediction of the number of failures that will occur in the fleet in the next period of time is desirable, (say six months, a year, or two years). To accomplish this, the author developed a risk analysis procedure for forecasting fnture failures. A typical failure forecast is shown in Figure 12. Cumulative future failures are plotted against future months. This process provides infonnation on whether the failure mode applies to the entire population or fleet, or to only one portion of the fleet, called a batch. Aftcr alternative plans for corrective action are developed, the failure forecasts are repeated. The decisionmaker will require these failure forecasts to select the best course of action, the plan with the minimum failure forecast or the minimum cost. If failed parts are replaced as they fail; the failure forecast is higher than without replacement. Prcdiction intervals, analogous to confidence intervals, may be added to the plot. Chapter 4 is devoted to failure forecasting.
p
,.
F
25 J
IWith Replacement
V
/
^{o} o
10 20
30
40
50
60
Figure 12. Failure Forecast
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
16 The New Weibull Handbook
A further advantage of Weibull analysis is that it may be useful even with inadequacies in the data. bad Weibull plots are usually infOlmative to engineers trained to read them. Methods will be described for:
Identifying mixtures offailures modes, Problems with the origin not located at zero,
Even
)
"")
• Investigation of alternate aging parameters, Handling data where some part ages are unknown,
• Construction of a Weibull curve when no failures have occurred, Identifying "batch" problems where the failure mode only affects a subset of the fleet, Identifying grouped or inspection data,
• Identifying suspected outliers.
The Weibull distribution usually provides the best fit oflife data. This is due in part to the broad range of distribution shapes that are included in the Weibull family. Many other distributions are included in the Weibull family either exactly or approximately, including the normal, the exponential, the Rayleigh, and sometimes the Poisson and the Binomial. If the Weibull fit is poor, other distributions should be considered unless the sample size is small, less than 21 failures. The data may be plotted on other probability papers to determine which distribution best fits the data. The Log Normal is not a member of the Weibull family and it is by far the most significant competitor. The Log Normal is the best choice for some material characteristics, for crack growth rate, and for nonlinear, accelerating system deterioration. WeibullLog Normal comparisons are much easier with appropriate software. If there is engineering evidence supporting another distribution, this should be weighed heavily against the Weibull. Moderate size samples, twenty or more failures, are needed to accurately discriminate between the Weibull and other distributions. With less than 20 failures the Weibull is the best choice, and therefore, best practice.
1.9 Engineering Change Test Substantiation
)
When a redesign is made to conect an existing failure mode, tests are made to show the new design is an improvemcnt. The tests are required as not all redesigns are improvements. How many units must be tested without failure, for how long, to substantiate that thc ncw design is significantly better than the existing design? Alternatively, the test objective may be to demonstrate a design requirement expressed as a reliability or probability of failure at some design life.
The success data from the test may be used to determine a lower confidence bound for the Weibull line for the new design, called a "Weibayes" line. The test design criteria may allow zero failures, or zero or one failure, etc. as alternatives. "Sudden Death" testing is another useful technique. Zero failure test plans have the absolute minimum test time. Trade studies are used to find the optimum test plan to minimize cost and time. See Chapter 6.
1.10 Maintenance Planning
The Weibull plot is extremely useful for maintenance planning, particularly reliability centered
maintenance.
~ is less than or equal to one, overhauls are not cost effectivc. With ~s greater than one, the ovcrhaul period or scheduled inspection interval is read directly from the plot at an acceptable probability of failure. For wearout failure modes, if the cost of an unplanned failure is much greater than the cost of a planned replacement, there is an optimum replacement interval for minimum cost. Using Weibull failure forecasting, quantitative trades are made between:
Beta, (~) tells the analyst whether or not scheduled inspections and overhauls are needed.
If
Scheduled and unschcduled maintenance, Forced retrofit and convenience retrofit, Nondestructive inspections versus parts replacement, Corrective action versus lido _{n}_{o}_{t}_{h}_{i}_{n}_{g}_{,}_{1}_{1} Different timesbetwecnoverhauls,
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter I: An Overview of Weibull Analysis
_{1}_{}_{7}
^{)} _{}}
)
)
Optimal replacement intervals.
The rhythm is affected by
the interactions between characteristic lives of the failure modes of the system, Bs, the inspection periods,
and parts replacements. This phenomenon is illustrated in Chapter 4.
Planned maintenance induces cyclic or rhythmic changes in failure rates.
1.11 System Analysis and Math Models
Mathematical models of components and entire systems like a sports car, a big tiuck, or a nuclear power system may be produced by combining (statisticians say convoluting) tens or hundreds of failure modes. Most of these modes are represented by Weibulls but some may be Lognormal, or even Binomial. The combination may be done by Monte Carlo simulation or by analytical methods. If the data cannot be segregated into individual failure modes or if the early data is missing, the CrowAMSAA or the Kaplan
Meier models may still be applied to provide trending and failure forecasting. System models are useful for predicting spare parts usage, availability, module returns to depot, and maintainability support costs. These models are frequently updated with the latest Weibulls. Predictions may be compared with actual results to estimate the model uncertainties and finetune the model.
If the data from a system, such as a diesel engine, are not adequate to plot individual failure modes, it
This is roughly
equivalent to using meantimetofailure (MTTF) and exponential reliability. It masks infant mortality and wear out modes. This approach is not recOlmnended, as the results are not meaningful for the individual failure modes. This method was common in the fifties and sixties and is still used by those unaware of the advantages of Weibull Analysis and the newer methods for system models. Better methods are provided for these data deficiencies. See Chapter 8.
is tempting to plot a single Weibull for the system.
This plot will show a B close to one.
^{i}
Bearings Often Need t zero
A Curved Weibull
"
Bearing Life (revolutions/10'6l
Figure 13 Bearings Rarely Fail Early in Life With Curved Data
1.12 Weibulls with Curved Data
The Weibull plot is inspccted to determine how well the failure data fit a straight line. Sometimes the failure points do not fall along a straight line on the Weibull plot, and modification of the simple Weibull approach is required. The data are hying to tell us something in these cases. Wei bull illustrated this concept in his 1951 paper. The bad fit may relate to the physics of the failure or to the quality of the data. If the
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy' 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
18 The New Weibull Handbook
points fall on gentle curves, it may be that the origin of the age scale is not located at zero. See Figure 13. There are usually physical reasons for this. The manufacturer may not have reported early failures that occun'ed in production acceptance. With roller bearing unbalance, it takes many rotations for the wobbling roller to destroy the cage. The bearing cannot fail instantaneously. This leads to an origin correction equal to the minimum time necessary to fail. The cOlTection is called to. and if it is positive, it provides a guaranteed failure free period from zero to time to' If the cOlTection is negative, "old" parts, perhaps with shelflife aging, may be the cause. The to correction is treated in Chapter 3.
Lognormal data plotted on Weibull probability paper will appear curved, concave downward like Figure 13. Therefore, the Weibull with the tocolTection and the Lognormal distribution are candidates for distributional analysis to tell us which is the best distribution. The critical correlation coefficient provides an easy solution. This capability is in SuperSMITH Weibull (SSW). Moderate size samples are required to discriminate between these distributions, at least 20 failures. Othelwise the standard two parameter Weibull is the best choice [Liu].
1.13 Weibulls With Corners and Doglegs
Another common cause of bad Weibulls is a mixture offailure modes. The plot will often show doglegs and sharp corners. This indicates there is more than one failure mode, a mixture of modes. See Figure 14. The preferred procedure is to use engineering physical analysis to classify the failure data into different modes. Examination of the broken parts, or failure reports, or laboratOly tests is often helpful. Separate Weibull plots are made for each failure mode. If the classification is cOlTect, the separate Weibull plots will show good fits, with their points falling along the plot line. On each plot, the failure points from the other failure modes are treated as successful (censored, suspended or nonfailure) units. The mixture shown in Figure 14 is frequently observed with hydromechanical components, a shallow slope followed by
)
)
)
J
)
Figure 14. Cusp, Corners, and Doglegs Iudicate a Mixture of Failure Mode
a steep slope. For this classic mixture, if additional failure analysis is impossible, a statistical solution based on the likelihood ratio test may provide the separate Weibull failure modes. Appendixes F and J provide a discussion of more complex mixtures including batch problems.
)
Dr. Robe
t
B. Abernethy'
536 Oyste Road, No
th
Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter I: An Overview of Weibull Analysis
19
As the number of failure modes mixed together increases to say five or more, the doglegs and corners tend to disappear and ~ will tend toward one (unless all the modes have the same ~ and similar 11). See Section 3.7.
1.14 Weibayes
) 
A Weibull plot may be needed even when no failures have occurred. For example, an engineering redesign is made to correct a failure mode experienced in service. Redesigned units are tested to prove that the problem is corrected. How many units must be tested for how long to have statistical confidence that the problem is solved? When parts exceed their design life, it may be possible to extend their life by constructing a Weibull with no failures. The method is called Weibayes analysis. It has many applications and is presented in Chapter 6. Methods to design experiments to substantiate new designs using Weibayes theory is also presented in Chapter 6. ill preliminaty design, when there is little or no data on the new designs, Weibayes may be used to estimate the Weibulls for the new design. If the number of failures is extremely small and there is good plioI' knowledge of the slope, ~, Weibayes will be more accurate than the Weibull. 

1.15 
Small Sample Weibulls 

Statisticians always prefer large samples of data, but engineers are forced to do Weibull or Weibayes analysis with very small samples, even as few as one to three failures. When the result of a failure involves safety or extreme costs, it is inappropriate to request more failures. The primary advantage of Weibull analysis is that engineering objectives can often be met even with extremely small samples. Of course, small samples always imply large uncertainties. To evaluate these small sample uncertainties, confidence bounds are available in SSW. Chapter 7 is devoted to confidence methods. 

1.16 
Updating Weibulls 

After the initial Weibull, later plots may be based on larger failure samples and more time on successful units. Each updated plot will be slightly different, but gradually the Weibull parameters, _{~} and 11, will stabilize and approach the true Weibull as the data sample increases. With the appropriate fit 

method, the important engineering inferences about B.I life and the failure forecasts will not change 

significantly as the sample size increases. around the true unknown value. 
With complete samples (no suspensions) 
and 
11 
oscillate 

1.17 Deficient (Dirty) Data 

Special methods have been developed for many forms of "dirty" data including: 

Censoredsuspended data Mixtures of failure modes Failed units not identified Inspection data & coarse data Suspension times or ages missing 
No failure data Nonzero time origin Extremely small samples Early data missing Data plots with curves and doglegs 

) 
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
110 The New Weibull Handbook
'""',
"'"
1.18 Establishing the Weibnll Line, Choosing the Fit Method
)
The standard engineering method for establishing the Wei bull line is to plot the time to failure data on Weibull probability graphs using median rank plotting positions and regression analysis to fit the line as described in Chapter 2. This method is recommended as best practice. Many statisticians prefer an analytical method called maximum likelihood. The likelihood calculations require a computer. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. The pros and cons will be discussed in Chapter 5. There are also special methods for different types of inspection data and warranty data that are treated in Chapters 5 and 8.
1.19 Related Methods and Problems
Weibull analysis is the main theme of this text, but there are some types of data and some types of problems that can be analyzed better with other math models that are described later and included in the software. For example, the Weibull distribution is also the Extreme Value Type III minimum distribntion. The Extreme Valne Type I is called the Gumbel distribution and both the minimnm and maximum forms have nseful applications. For example gnst loads on aircraft are modeled with Gumbel maximum distribution. See Figure 15.
Some organizations feel the CrowAMSAA (CA) model is more important than Weibull analysis. It is extremely useful. It is more robust than Weibull, that is, it provides reasonable accurate resnlts when the data has serious deficiencies. It works well even with mixlnres of failure modes and missing pOitions of data. Weibnll plots allow only one failure mode at a time. It will track changes in reliability which Weibull cannot. CA is the best tool for trending significant events for management, snch as outages, production cutbacks and interruptions, accidents, and inflight loss of power. The original CA objective was to track the growth of reliability in R&D testing. It is still best practice for that application. It is also best practice for predicting walTanty claims by calendar time and tracking systems inservice.
;
<"\
)
Figure 15. NACA Wind Gust Loads Gumbel + Distribution
KaplanMeier (KM) survival analysis is good for "snapshot" data, (a large portion of initial data is not availablc). This tool was developed in the medical industry and has good statistical properties. We have
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy' 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter 1: An Overview of Weibull Analysis
111
borrowed KM for our reliability work. KM is also used for warranty claim predictions as a function of age, and for some forms of inspection data.
Wayne Nelson's Graphical Repair Analysis provides a rigorous approach for predicting warranty claims by age of the units when repeated warranty repairs ofthe same type are expected.
)
1.20 Summary
There are many methods because there are
many kinds of data and applications. The real effort involved with this Weibull analysis is obtaining and
validating good data. The analysis, given good software, is almost trivial by comparison.
Chapter I has provided an overview of Weibull analysis.
o 
The next chapter (2) will discuss good Weibull plots and good data and the standard method of analysis. 
o 
Chapter 3 will treat bad Weibulls and "dirty" data. Case studies will be employed to illustrate the methods and solutions. 
o 
Chapter 4 is devoted to failure forecasting, Monte Carlo, and optimal parts replacement intervals. 
o 
Chapter 5 presents alternative data formats and special solution methods. 
o 
The Weibayes concept, substantiation tests and Wei bull Libraries are treated in Chapter 6. 
o 
Chapter 7 discusses confidence intervals and testing two or more data sets to see if they are significantly different. 
o 
Chapter 8 treats a number of related math models. 
o 
Chapter 9 presents CrowAMSAA modeling and waITanty analysis. 
o 
Chapter 10 summarizes the Handbook methods, analysis, and interpretations of the plots. Bob Rock's logic diagram in Chapter 10 will lead you stepbystep though the best practices for your particular data. 
o 
Chapter II is a collection of interesting case studies contributed by induslly experts 
"')
.;Ii'
There is little herein on qualitative methods, as the emphasize is on quantitative methods. However, qualitative methods are extremely important. Failure reporting and analysis (FRACAS) is required for accurate life data analysis. Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) and fault tree analysis can significantly improve the design process and are needed to identifY the root cause of failure modes. Design review is prerequisite to achieving high reliability and is significantly improved by use of a Weibulllibrmy to avoid previous design mistakes. Pat [O'Connor] provides a good introduction to these methods. The Weibulllibrmy is discussed in Chapter 6.
A comment on software is appropriate here. As the primmy purpose of this Handbook is to be the workbook for the Weibull Workshops, it is necessmy to present the software capabilities with the methodology. Further, for readers not attending the workshop, good software is needed to eliminate the drudgery of hand calculations and in general, increases the productivity of the analyst many times over. The author has been deeply involved in the development of SuperSMITH Weibull (SSW) & SuperSMITH Visual (SSV) software and therefore, recommends their features and friendly characteristics. Further, no other software does all the methods presented in the Handbook. Almost all of the plots herein are from SuperSMITH, a bundled set
) of Windows software including SuperSMITH Weibull and Visual as well as YBATH. This software is used in our Weibull Workshops. Free "demo" versions of the software are available on our web site. Wes Fulton is the creator of the software and with the author, is available to answer questions conceming applications. Our addresses and phone numbers are given on the back cover and the backside of the title pages. We would like to hear from you.
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy' 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
112 The New Weibull Handbook
This page is intentionally blank.
)
,
)
,
,,)
)
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, North Palm Beach, FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter 2: Plotting the Data and Interpreting the Plot
21
CHAPTER 2: PLOTTING THE DATA AND INTERPRETING THE PLOT
2.1 Foreword
Basic Weibull analysis consists of plotting the data on Weibull probability paper and then interpreting the plot. There is significant information available on the Weibull plot. It is so informative that even bad data is worth plotting.
The first step is to by to get good data. The timestofailure (or cyclestofailure or mileagetofailure) are needed plus the current age of units that have not failed. Data acquisition is the most difficult part of Weibull analysis assuming there is good friendly software available. Next, these data are ranked (i.e., realTanged so the earliest failure is listed first and the oldest failure is last), plotted on Weibull probability paper, and then the plot is interpreted. Each of these steps will be discussed in this chapter.
2.2 Weibull Data
Life data is special because we must know the "age" of the parts.
Weibull failure data is life data.
There are two kinds: (1) standard life data consists of the exact "age" of the parts that have failed and those that have not failed and (2) grouped or interval data for which exact ages are unknown so the data is grouped into intervals of time. Inspection data is an example, grouped into inspection intervals. Inspection data is "dirty" or deficient data as we do not know the exact time to failure. If data is collected monthly or weekly it is also grouped data and dirty for the same reason. This is coarse data as the intervals are too long compared to exact times.
"Age" may be operating time, starts and stops, landings, takeoffs, low cycle fatigue cycles, mileage, shelf or storage time, cycles or time at high stress or high temperature, or many other parameters (Figure 2 1). Usually the appropriate aging parameter is obvious from the physics of the failure mode, but sometimes there may be confusion. For example, does a turbine blade erode due to operating time, or time at high temperature, or hotcold cycles? Without engineering knowledge to tell us which aging parametcr is best, the choice is determined from Weibull plots of the alternatives. The best aging parameter is the one with the best fit compared to a straight line.
Sometimes life data for the best aging parameter is not available. For example, air conditioning compressors probably age as a function of operating time or startstop cycles. However, calendar time between production acceptance and return from walTanty claim may be the only data available. This is "dirty data" because it has deficiencies. The Weibull plot against calendar time will have a poorer fit and more uncertainty than the (unobtainable) plot against the bcst aging parameter. A meaSure of goodness of fit (r ^{2} ) will detennine if the calendar time Weibull plot may be useful. This problem is cOtmnon. Automotive data rarely contains starts and stops or operating time, so mileage is used. Electric utilities may not havc operating cycles, so they arc forced to use operating time or calendar time. As Weibull analysis becomes more widely accepted, data quality usually improves because management recognizes the cost cffectiveness of good data.
) Materials characteristics such as strength, creep, stress rupture and fatigue often are plottcd on Weibull
probability paper.
use forcing parameters instead of aging parameters, the plot is interpreted the same way.
Hcre the horizontal scale may bc stress, load or temperature.
Although these plots may
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, 2 North Palm Beach, 2 FL 334084328 • 5618424082
22
The New Weibull Handbook
Weibull
Probability Plot
"
Figure 21. A Typical Weibull Plot
2.3 The Weibull Plot Scales
The horizontal scale is thc age or time parameter (t).
This scale is logarithmic as shown in Figurc _{I}_{.}
For automobiles and trucks mileagc is used. Operating time or cycles are used for inscrvice systems and components. The vcrtical scale is the Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF), that defines the proportion of the parts that will fail up to age (t) in percent. The statistical symbol for the CDF is F(t), the probability offailure up to time t. The complcment of F(t) is reliability, the probability of not failing up to time t. R(t) = IF(t).
j
\
Weibull coined a name for the time that a given percentage will fail. He called these "B lives". In Figure 21, the B I life for the new design is about 80 units. This means I% of the new design parts will fail by the time they age 80 units. It also means the reliability at 80 units is 99%. The block in the lower right comer provides T]; B; pve% (a measure of goodness of fit); and n, (the fleet size of 8), and s, the number of suspensions, zero in this case. The scales are derived so the data confonns to a straight line if it is a Weibull distribution. Other notation on Figure 21 will be explained later. Weibull analysis applies to only one failure mode at a time. A single part may have several failure modes and each mode has its own Weibull plot.
2.4 T] (Eta) and f3 (Beta)
The twoparameter Weibull distribution is by far the most widely used distribution for life data analysis. Thc Weibull cumulative distribution function (CDF) provides the probability offailure, F(t), up to time (t):
F(t) =1 e( t/ ll)f3
(21)
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, 2 North Palm Beach, 2 FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter 2: Plotting the Data and Interpreting the Plot
23
^{)}
)
where:
F(t)
e = 2.718281828, the base for natural logarithms,
=
fraction failing uptotime t (CDF),
~=slope or shape parameter
The complement of the CDF is reliability, time (t).
(R),
t=failure time, 11 =characteristic life or scale parameter,
the probability that failure will not occur up to
R(t)=e(tl1/)fJ
_{(}_{2}_{}_{2}_{)}
The two parameters are 11, the characteristic life, and ~, the slope of the Weibull line. ~ shows the class of failure mode such as infant mortality, random, or wear out. These interpretations are discussed later in this chapter. ~ is called the shape parameter as it determines which member of the Weibull family of distributions is most appropriate. Different members have different shaped probability density functions (PDF). See Fignre 22. The Weibull distribution fits a broad range of life data compared to other distributions. The PDF is the derivative of the CDF with respect to time (t). Failure data plotted as a bar chart against time will have the same shape as the PDF.
Figure 22. The Shapes of the Weibull Family
The Weibull probability density function, PDF, is:
J(t) = (fJ I1])(t 11/l1 e ^{C}^{t}^{I}^{1}^{7} )P
^{(}^{2}^{}^{3}^{)}
Although the PDF shape for ~ = 3.4 looks like the normal distribution, normal data plotted on a Weibull plot can have any ~. (J, the standard deviation of the nonnal varies inversely with ~. Small sigmas correspond to large betas. Nonnally distributed data makes good Weibull plots but not usually the other way around. As a result the normal distribution is rarely used in life data analysis.
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, 2 North Palm Beach, 2 FL 334084328 • 5618424082
24
The New Weibull Handbook
11 is equal to the meantimetofailure (MTTF) when the slope,
~,
equals one.
11 and MTTF are
related by a galmna function of ~ shown in Equation 24, and derived in Appendix G.
MTTF = 17 r [1 + 11Pl
When ~ = 1.0, MTTF = 11, the Exponential distribution.
When
When ~ < 1.0, MTTF is greater than 11. See Figure 23. When ~ =0.5, MTTF=2x 11.
~ > 1.0,
MTTF is less than 11.
(24)
MTBF, the average time between failures, should not be confused with MTTF, meantimetofailure, the average life. MTBF is estimated by dividing total operating time on all units by the number of failures observed. They are different parameters, although equal when there are no suspensions. Otherwise they can be vastly different. MTBF is used with repairable systems. See tbe Glossary, Appendix A.
Figure 23. MTTF/Eta = Gamma[! + (lIBeta)]
)
"'j
)
11 is the age at which 63.2% of the units will fail. This is trne for all Weibulls. Setting t = eta in Equation 21 illnstrates the reason.
F(t) '" 1 e'Cqlq)P '" 1 e'CI)P '" 1 (lie) '" 0.632, regardless
This means that for all Weibulls 63.2% of the units will fail by the Characteristic Life,
2.5 Weibull Analysis  An Example
of fJ
Tj
A benign failure docs not affect the performance of the system, and it will go unnoticed until the system is inspected. This was the case for the compressor inlet air seal rivets in the following example. The flare part of the rivet was missing from some of the rivets during inspection. After thorough failure analysis, a redesign was started. An accelerated laboratOly test using the old rivets established a baseline. The results are shown in Table 21. Rivet serial numbers 3, 6, and 7 arc considered nonrepresentative failures as they were produced by two other failure modes. For instrnetive purposes only, the three suspensions arc ignored
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy' 536 Oyster Road, 2 North Palm Beach, 2 FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter 2: Plotting the Data and Interpreting the Plot
_{2}_{}_{5}
for the first analysis,
(Weibull plots could also be made for flare loosened, 2 failures + 6 suspensions and lug failed, 1 failure + 7 suspensions.)
Table 21. Baseline Rivet Data
but will be considered correctly later.
That leaves five failure points for flarc failure.
Serial Number 
Fuilure Time (Miuutes) 
Remarks 

I 
90 
Flare Failure 

2 
96 
Flare Failure 

3 
100 
Flare loosened 

4 
30 
Flare Failure 

5 
49 
Flare Failure 

6 
45 
Flare loosened 

7 
10 
Lug failed 

) 
8 
82 
Flare Failure 

To make the Weibull plot, rank the data from the low time to the high time failure. See Table 22. This ranking will establish the plotting positions for the time, t, axis and the ordinate, F(I), in % values. Each failure is plotted at its timetofailure (I) and an estimate ofF(t), the percentage of the total population failing before it. The true percentage values are unknown. In the next section a Weibull plot of this data is produced ignoring suspensions. This is wrong. Always include suspensions. It is done here to illustrate the effect of suspensions. The correct plot with suspensions will be produced in Section 2.9. 

2.6 Median Ranks 

The median rank is the most popular approach of estimating the Yaxis plotting positions. Median ranks are reconnnended as most accurate and therefore, best practice, but there are other plotting positions discussed in Chapter 5. Weibull employed mean ranks in his paper $[Weibull 1951] but later recognized $[Benard] (the $ sign preceding a reference means the document may be downloaded from Paul BalTinger's website given on the last page.) and [Johnson 1964] suggestions to use median ranks. In Section 5.4 we will compare the accuracy of several plotting positions. With reasonably sizcd samples there is little difference in results with different plotting positions. 

) 

) 
Median rank tables are provided in Appendix I. Enter the tables for a sample of five and find the median ranks shown in Table 22 for the five flare failure times shown in the middle column. These same median rank plotting positions are used with all types of probability paper i.e., Weibull, log normal, n01T11al, and extreme value. Note that if two data points have the same time to failure on the Xaxis, they are plotted at different median rank values on the Yaxis, each point gets its own individual verticalloeation. 
Table 22. Ranked Flare Failure Rivet Data
Failure Time t 
Mediau Rank % (Y) 

Order Number (i) 
(Minutes) (X) 

I 
30 
12.94 
2 
49 
31.38 
3 
82 
50.00 
4 
90 
68.62 
5 
96 
87.06 
The median rank table is calculatcd using the incomplete beta distribution. Thc median rank values of F(t), probability of failure, are found by setting the beta probability equal to 0.5 (50%) for each value of sequence number. (See page II for the Exccl function). For example, for a set including 3 failure points (N = 3):
1. 
For the lowest data point the median rank estimate, the probability plotting position is (20.63%). 
2. 
For the middle data point the probability plotting position is (50.00%). 
3. 
For the highest data point the probability plotting position is (79.37%). 
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy· 536 Oyster Road, 2 North Palm Beach, 2 FL 334084328 • 5618424082
26
The New Weibull Handbook
The median estimate is prefelTed to the mean or average value for nonsymmetrical distributions. The median is more typical in these cases. For example, the majority of the population makes far less than the average (mean) income, bnt half the population makes more (or less) than the median income. Most life data distribntions are skewed and therefore, the median plays an important role. [$Miscbkc 1979] is recommended for readers that would like more detailed explanation. ("$" means the reference may be downloaded from http://www.baITingerl.com.)
2.7 The Weibull Plot
Figure 24 Rivet Failures
,
)
)
Plot the points from Table 22 on onetoone ratio Weibull probability paper and "eyeball" (draw) a best fit line through the points. Measure the slope of the line with a ruler by taking the ratio of rise over run measured with a ruler to estimate beta. Note, make sure you are using 1:1 scale Weibull probability paper. Weibull plots generated by computers are rarely 1:1 scale. Most of the illustrations in this book are not I: 1. See the problem section at the end of this chapter for I: I Weibull paper. Select a staIting point and measure one inch in the horizontal direction (run). Then, measure vertically, (rise), to the line intersect. In Figure 24 the slope is an estimate of J3 = rise/run = 2/1 = 2. Analytical methods for establishing the line using regression analysis and maximum likelihood estimates will be discussed in Chapter 5.
Two parameters define the Weibull distribution.
The first is J3, the slope or shape parameter, and the
other is the characteristic life, eta (denoted by YJ).
(24), the 63.2 percentile intersects the line at 79.8 minutes; therefore,
YJ
is the
63.2 percentile of the distribution.
YJ _{=} 79.8 minutes.
In Figure
2.8 "B" Life
Waloddi Weibull suggested that bearings should be compared by their "BIO" life, the age at which I 0% of the bearings will fail. Weibull's suggestion has become the world standard for quoting bearing life. It is not clear where the B notation came from. The author believes it may be from the Gelman "Brucheinleitzeit" (fracture initiation time). Others believe "B" stands for bearing. Some bearing manufacturers now use "LIO" (L for life) instead of the "BIO" notation. Aircraft industries use much lower B lives for design requirements. In aerospace, BI life is used for benign failures, BO.I for serious failures and BO.OI for catastrophic failures. Some organizations quote reliability with a confidence levcl, such as "99% reliability with 95% confidence for catastrophic failures." The author prefers the simple B life without
)
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, 2 North Palm Beach, 2 FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter 2: Plotting the Data and Interpreting the Plot
27
the confidence interval. B lives may be read directly from the Weibull plot or determined more accurately from the Weibull equation. For example, the Bl life for the rivet data in Figure 24 would be 9.5 minutes. The age at which 50% of the units fail, the B50 life, is the median timetofailure, about 67 minutes in Figure
(24).
)
2.9 Suspended Test Items
Nonfailed units or units that fail by a different failure mode are "censored" or "suspended" units. These data cannot be ignored even though the suspensions are never plotted. Times on suspended units must be included in the analysis.
)
Suspensions are not plotted but the rank order and the median ranks must be adjusted for suspensions. Leonard Johnson is credited for the method of adjustment employed herein [Johnson 1964]. The Johnson equation given in the original USAF Handbook represented a significant obstacle for students tlying to hand plot Weibulls. Fortunately, Drew Auth of AVCO/LYCOMING, simplified Leonard Johnson's fonnula for the author. Auth's simple fonnu1a gives exactly the same adjustment to the rank order (i). 11 is easier to apply. The Auth adjusted rank value then is used in Bernard's equation to calculate an adjusted median rank. The procedure is to rank the Table 21 data with the suspensions and use the Auth equation below, to determine the adjusted ranks, aecounting for the presenee of the suspensions. (This eorreets the previous Weibull, Table (22), and Figure (24), which excluded the three suspensions.)
.
1=
Ad' Juste
d R
k
an
=
(Reverse Rank) x (Previous Adjusted Rank) + (N + 1) (Reverse Rank) + 1
(25)
The rank order numbers are adjusted for the effect of the three suspended items in Table 23.
.u 
, 
• .< 
1 
" 
uu 
'" 
v 
"' 
V" 
.,v 
u 
u 

Rank 
Time 
Reverse Rank 
Adjusted Rank (i) 
Median Rank 

I 
lOS 
8 
Susoended 

2 
30F 
7 
[7 XO 
+(8+1)11 (7+1)  1.125 
9.8% 

3 
45S 
6 
Suspended 

4 
49F 
5 
[5 X 1.125 +(8+ I)l/ (5+1)  2.438 
25.5% 

5 
82F 
4 
[4 X 2.438 +(8+1)11 (4+1)  3.750 
41.1% 

6 
90F 
3 
[3 X 3.750 +(8+1)11 (3+1) ~ 5.063 
56.7% 

7 
96F 
2 
r2 X 5.063 +(8+1)11 (2+1)  6.375 
72.3% 

8 
100S 
I 
Suspended 
The adjusted ranks are used in Benard's approximation to calculate the adjusted median ranks, as it is easier than interpolating in the table. Benard's approximation is given in the next section. The results in Table (23) arc plotted in Figure (25). The major effect of the suspensions is to increase I]. Beta is minimally affected. Note: suspended items do not affect rank numbers until after they occur (earlier failure times have unadjusted rank numbers). Also, if two items fail at the same age, they are assigned sequential rank order numbers.
)
2.10 Benard's Approximation
Benard's approximation for the median rank is sufficiently accurate for plotting Weibulls and estimating the parameters. (Benard's approximation is accurate to 1% for N ~ 5 and 0.1 % for N = 50.) 11 is also easier than intelpolating in the tables for the adjusted median ranks that are not an integer value. $[Benard].
Benard's Median Rank = (i  0.3) / (N + 0.4)
(26)
Dr. Roberl B. Abernethy' 536 Oyster Road, 2 North Palm Beach, 2 FL 334084328 • 5618424082
28
The New Weibull Handbook
Here "i" is the adjusted rank and "N" is the sum of failures and suspensions. The median ranks are converted to percentages to plot on Weibull paper. For example, considering the first failure in Table 23 with an adjusted rank of 1.125:
Median Rank (%) = (1.125  0.3) x 100/ (8 + 0.4) = 9.82%
Figure 25. Total Test Time (minutes)
2.11 Suspensions Increase Eta
The slope, beta, hardly changed but the
characteristic life,
but increases eta. Figure 25 is the correct Weibnll plot as it includes the suspensions. Thus if suspensions are ignored, results will be pessimistic. These are the steps to plot data sets with suspensions:
This effect generally is tme: adding suspensions has little effect on beta,
What effect did the suspensions have on the Weibull plot?
eta, increased.
I. First rank the times, both failures and suspensions, from earliest too latest.
2. Calculate the adjusted ranks for the failures (suspensions are not plotted).
3. Use Benard's approximation to calculate the adjusted median ranks.
4.Plot the failure times (x) versus the adjusted median ranks (y) on standard I x I Weibull paper. (Incidentally, the same plotting positions may be used to plot the data on other probability paper such
as Log Normal.) 5.Estimate eta by reading the B63.2 life from the plot.
6. Estimate beta as the ratio of the rise over run measured with a ruler. 7.1nterpret the plot. Figure 2.6 The Bathtub Curve for a Good Component
"BATHTUB CURVE"
HAZARD
HAlE
LIFE
RUNIN
^{D}^{E}^{S}^{I}^{G}^{N}
WEAROUT
)
)
"j
}
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
Dr. Robert B. Abernethy • 536 Oyster Road, 2 North Palm Beach, 2 FL 334084328 • 5618424082
Chapter 2: Plotting the Data and Interpreting the Plot
29
2.12 Interpreting the Weibull Plot
The first look at the Weibull plot answers two questions; how good is the fit and what is the beta, the slope? The Weibull plot provides clues about the failure mechanism, since different slopes, betas, imply different classes of failure modes. The bathtub curve, Figure 2.6, shows the relationship between beta and failures throughout the life of a component. The "hazard rate" is the instantaneous failure rate. Figure 2.7 shows a bathtub curve for human beings. Personally we hope the "failure rate" during the design lifc is zero from all causes.
,r::::::
:=="
USA Mortality 1999
"
Age (years)
_{9}_{0}
Figure 27. The Bathtub Curve [or Human Mortality
2.13 Beta < 1 Implies Infant Mortality
The term infant mortality stems from the high mortality of infants. Both electronic and mechanical systems can initially have high failure rates. Manufacturers provide production acceptance tests, "burnin," and environmental stress screening, to end infant mortality before delivery to the customer. Therefore, betas less than one lead us to suspect:
• Inadequate bnrnin or stress screening,
• Production problems, misassembly, quality control problems,
• Overhaul problems,
• Solid state electronic failures.
Until 1980 most experts thought electronics had a beta of onc, the exponcntial distribution. At the 1980 RAMS Conferencc three papers were presented indicating the correct beta for solid state electronics is close to 0.70.8 if proper cnvironmental stress screening had been done. If stress screening or burnin is inadequate the slope will be shallower, 0.20.3. Were the experts wrong or did the physics of failure change during the transition from radio tubes to solid state components? The author believes the latter is the answer. Note in these sections 2.132.16, italics
Bien plus que des documents.
Découvrez tout ce que Scribd a à offrir, dont les livres et les livres audio des principaux éditeurs.
Annulez à tout moment.