FIT and MTTF / MTBF (1): What is MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)?
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A. Mean time between failure is the arithmetic mean (or average) time between failures of a given device or system and is normally measured in hours. This statistical value is meant to represent the average amount of time that will pass between random failures for a large sample over a long period of time for a given component. It is also an indicator of system reliability that is calculated from known failure rates of various components in the system.[3,4,5]

MTBF calculations are used to predict behaviors for a large (or entire) population, not the behavior from a particular site or smaller subset of the population. Therefore MTBF only applies to the cumulative analysis of large numbers of components; it says nothing about a particular unit.[5] Figure 1 gives a visual overview of the concept.

Figure 1. MTBF Illustration.

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