Estimating failure time distribution and its parameters based on intermediate data from a Wiener degradation model. (English) Zbl 1210.90068

Summary: Instead of measuring a Wiener degradation or performance process at predetermined time points to track degradation or performance of a product for estimating its lifetime, we propose to obtain the first-passage times of the process over certain nonfailure thresholds. Based on only these intermediate data, we obtain the uniformly minimum variance unbiased estimator and uniformly most accurate confidence interval for the mean lifetime. For estimating the lifetime distribution function, we propose a modified maximum likelihood estimator and a new estimator and prove that, by increasing the sample size of the intermediate data, these estimators and the above-mentioned estimator of the mean lifetime can achieve the same levels of accuracy as the estimators assuming one has failure times. Thus, our method of using only intermediate data is useful for highly reliable products when their failure times are difficult to obtain. Furthermore, we show that the proposed new estimator of the lifetime distribution function is more accurate than the standard and modified maximum likelihood estimators. We also obtain approximate confidence intervals for the lifetime distribution function and its percentiles. Finally, we use light-emitting diodes as an example to illustrate our method and demonstrate how to validate the Wiener assumption during the testing.


90B25 Reliability, availability, maintenance, inspection in operations research
62N05 Reliability and life testing
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