Machine and component residual life estimation through the application of neural networks

M. A. Herzog, T. Marwala, P. S. Heyns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


This paper concerns the use of neural networks for predicting the residual life of machines and components. In addition, the advantage of using condition-monitoring data to enhance the predictive capability of these neural networks was also investigated. A number of neural network variations were trained and tested with the data of two different reliability-related datasets. The first dataset represents the renewal case where the failed unit is repaired and restored to a good-as-new condition. Data were collected in the laboratory by subjecting a series of similar test pieces to fatigue loading with a hydraulic actuator. The average prediction error of the various neural networks being compared varied from 431 to 841 s on this dataset, where test pieces had a characteristic life of 8971 s. The second dataset were collected from a group of pumps used to circulate a water and magnetite solution within a plant. The data therefore originated from a repaired system affected by reliability degradation. When optimized, the multi-layer perceptron neural networks trained with the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm and the general regression neural network produced a sum-of-squares error within 11.1% of each other for the renewal dataset. The small number of inputs and poorly mapped input space on the second dataset meant that much larger errors were recorded on some of the test data. The potential for using neural networks for residual life prediction and the advantage of incorporating condition-based data into the model was nevertheless proven for both examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-489
Number of pages11
JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Condition-monitoring data
  • Neural networks
  • Residual life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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