This paper presents an approach to represent equipment degradation and various maintenance decision processes based on Markov processes. Non-exponential holding time distributions are approximated by inserting multiple intermediate states between the two different degradation states based on a phase-type distribution. Overall system availability then is numerically calculated by recursively solving the balance equations of the Markov process. Preliminary simulation results show that the optimal preventive maintenance intervals for two repairable components system can be achieved by means of the proposed method. By having an adequate model representing both deterioration and maintenance processes, it is also possible to obtain different optimal maintenance policies to maximize the availability or productivity for different configurations of components.

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