The opportunistic replacement problem: analysis and case studies

We consider an optimization model for determining optimal opportunistic maintenance (that is, component replacement) schedules when data is deterministic. This problem generalizes that of Dickman, Epstein, and Wilamowsky [21] and is a natural starting point for the modelling of replacement schedules when component lives are non-deterministic. We show that this basic opportunistic replacement problem is NP-hard. We show that the convex hull of the set of feasible replacement schedules is full-dimensional, and that all the necessary inequalities also are facet-inducing. We show that when maintenance occasions are fixed, the remaining problem can be stated as a linear program; when maintenance costs are monotone with time, the latter is solvable through a greedy procedure. Results from a series of case studies performed in the areas of aircraft engine and wind turbine maintenance are also reported. These illustrate the advantages of utilizing opportunistic maintenance activities based on a complete optimization model, as compared to simpler policies.


Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology and Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. Report, May 2011.



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