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Mean time between failures (MTBF) is the mean (average) time between failures of a system, the reciprocal calculation of the failure rate in the special case when the failure rate is constant. Calculations of MTBF assume that a system is 'renewed', i.e. fixed, after each failure, and then returned to service immediately after failure. A related term, mean distance between failures, with a similar and more intuitive sense, is widely used in transport industries such as railways and trucking. The average time between failing and being returned to service is termed mean down time (MDT).
For electronic products, it is commonly assumed that during the useful operating life period the parts have constant failure rates, and part failure rates follow an exponential law of distribution. In this case, the MTBF of the product can be calculated.
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