THE CONCEPT OF MAINTAINABILITY.
What is maintainability and why is it important? Is maintainability related to reliability, weight, safety, purchase price, ease of manufacture, finish, functional performance, and other requirements? As explained in this introduction, if a product is to be maintainable, the concept of maintainability, its relationship to other disciplines, and its contribution to product value must be understood by the maintainability engineer and design team.
2.1 What is Maintainability? Different textbooks and other reference documents define maintainability in slightly different ways. However, consolidating the ideas in these definitions yields the following definition: Maintainability. The relative ease and economy of time and resources with which an item can be retained in, or restored to, a specified condition when maintenance is performed by personnel having specified skill levels, using prescribed procedures and resources, at each prescribed level of maintenance and repair. In this context, it is a function of design. In succeeding sections, this definition will be examined in more detail. For now, it is sufficient to note that maintainability, a design characteristic, concerns the relative ease and cost of preventing failures (retaining an item in a specified condition) or correcting failures (restoring an item to a specified condition) through maintenance actions.
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Unlike previous handbooks which focused only on maintainability, this document provides information to help the reader view maintainability in the context of an overall systems engineering effort. The handbook defines maintainability, describes its relationship to other disciplines, addresses the basic elements common to all sound maintainability programs, describes the tasks and activities associated with those elements, and provides guidance in selecting those tasks and activities. Due to the many aspects of maintainability and the large number of related disciplines, the depth in which some topics are covered is necessarily limited. Table I summarizes where the scope of the coverage of key topics is limited. Whenever possible, references are given in the text to documents having more detailed information on a topic.