Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is the study of potential failures that might occur in any part of a system to determine the probable effect of each failure on all other parts of the system and on probable operations success. When criticality analysis is added for sophisticated studies the method is know as FMEAC. In the automotive world where FMEA is a required portion of the quality systems, it is frequently known as PFMEA for potential failure mode and effect analysis. The basic thrust of the analysis tool is to prevent failures using a simple and cost effective analysis that draws on the collective information of the team to find problems and resolve them before they occur.
Why use Failure Mode and Effect Analysis?
The FMEA analysis is known as a bottom up (inductive) approach to finding each potential mode of failure and preventing failures that might occur for every component of a system and determines the probable effects on system operation of each failure mode in turn on probable operational success and the results of which are ranked in order of seriousness. FMEA can be performed from different viewpoints such as safety, mission success, availability, repair costs, failure modes, reliability reputation, production processes, and follow-on service, and so forth.
When to use Failure Mode and Effect Analysis?
The FMEA is most productive when performed during the design process to eliminate potential failures. It can also be performed on existing systems where operations personnel and maintainers are made team members to add real-life experiences to educate the team in a problem solving forum that is constructive to eliminating existing problems.
Where to use Failure Mode and Effect Analysis?
The analysis can be conducted in the design room or on the shop floor and it is an excellent tool for sharing experiences to make the team aware of details that are know to one person but seldom shared with the team. It is also an extremely productive tools for educating young engineers, young maintainers, and your operators into details they should be aware that can kill the system.
These definitions are written by H. Paul Barringer