What Is Failure Mode Effect Analysis?

Failure Mode Effect Analysis

Failure Mode Effect Analysis is about designing quality into a process by a disciplined Critical to Quality (CTQ) flow-down of customer requirements ensuring that each and every one are statistically capable of being produced.

Ensuring failure in the field is mitigated or, better still, eliminated from internal processes.

A failure mode refers to the way in which something might fail, usually seen by customers as a defect, but can be categorised as potential or actual.  Failure Mode Effect Analysis looks to identify the potential failure modes in a process (manufacturing, assembly or others) and devise mitigating strategies to contain, or better still, eliminate the failure modes through effective re-design of the process.

By systematically evaluating the potential failure modes and ranking them using a Risk Priority Number (RPN), the FMEA team can quantify the risk and prioritise actions accordingly.  The RPN is calculated by evaluating the failure mode using three criteria: Severity, Occurrence and Detection.

Severity looks at the worst potential outcome of the failure mode.  What could the potential injury be to a person or damage be to equipment or property.

Occurrence looks at how probable it is for the failure mode to happen.

Detection looks at how easy is it to detect the failure mode.

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This page was written by Bob Newton in February 2018.
Due for review in 2019.
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