For our purposes we define a component to be ‘a non-repairable device’. This definition is somewhat elastic. For example, an altenator in a car may in some circumstances be taken as non-repairable (when it fails, it is removed and thrown away) and hence classed as a component. However, if spares are difficult to obtain, then an attempt may be made to repair it. It then becomes repairable and should be considered a subsystem rather than a component. Nevertheless, for reliability purposes the above definition is adequate since reliability predictions are usually made using well-known sources of data, and ‘component’ may be taken to mean any device which is listed in one of these sources.
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