TPK5170 - Design and Reliability Analysis of Digitalized Safety Systems


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

This course focuses on the application of standards that are framing design, operation, and reliability assessment of critical systems. The main focus area is standards for technical systems that employ electrical/electronic/programmable electronic technology for the purpose of preventing or acting upon hazardous situations occurring in e.g. process plants, machinery, control of trains, avionic and air traffic management systems, critical infrastructure, and in relation to car driving. Which systems used as examples may vary from year to year.

The main idea is to introduce key concepts and methods under the framework of key standards, like IEC 61508 and standards that are based on this one for adaption in specific industry sectors. Topics include: Purpose of standards, including key concepts used, lifecycle phases and management, and methods advocated for RAMS assessments of critical functions (low-demand, high-demand). Choice of modeling approach and reliability measures in light of operational conditions and requirements are discussed. The weight put on the various topics may be subject to some adjustments each year.

Learning outcome


The course shall give thorough introduction to key concepts and methods associated safety-standards, and the application of these for different types of safety-critical systems and operating conditions. The students shall become aware of the scope and role of safety standards, and some of the strengths and weaknesses of methods used to determine and demonstrate conformance to RAMS requirements. This type of knowledge would be relevant for those that later will work as safety or RAMS engineer. (RAMS=Reliability, availability, maintenance, and safety)


Be able to identify situations where safety standards are applicable, and apply associated methods in a design situation or after the systems have been put into operation. The students should also be able to identify how standards are linked to regulatory bodies and sector guidelines.

General competence (attitudes):

Understand RAMS as an important cornerstone of industrial and commercial systems and in the public administration.

Learning methods and activities


Are used to go through key concepts and methods within the lectured topics. There may also be some group work during the lecture hour, and some time may, if needed, be borrowed from the tutorial hours.


Problem solving of selected problems in a booklet that has been prepared along with the textbook. To access the exam it is necessary to have delivered sufficient number of mandatory work.

Self study:

This includes to prepare for lectures and to study topics after the lecture. To support both of these, some control questions are published each week. Other information: The lectures, exercises and exam are in English, but the student can use English or Norwegian in the answer.

Compulsory assignments

  • Exercises

Further on evaluation

The written exam counts 100 % for the grade.

If there is a re-sit examination, the examination form may be changed from written to oral.

Required previous knowledge

TPK4120 Safety and reliability analysis or similar knowledge.

Course materials

Theory: Reliability of Safety-Critical Systems: Theory and Applications Wiley, Marvin Rausand, ISBN: 978-1-118-11272-4, 466 pages, March 2014. Standards and their application area: The library access to standards will be utilized. Some additional reports and articles will be made available to support application of standards. More information is provided at start of semester and when each topic is introduced.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Safety, Reliability and Maintenance
  • Technological subjects
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

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