FAILURE MODE AND EFFECTS ANALYSIS
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, or FMEA, is a systematic way for identifying the effects of a potential product or process failure and includes methodology for eliminating or reducing the chance of a failure occurring. It is used for analyzing potential reliability problems early in the development cycle where it is easier to take actions to overcome these issues, thereby enhancing reliability through design. A crucial step in the FMEA analysis is anticipating what might go wrong with a product, and while anticipating every failure mode is not possible, a development team should formulate an extensive list of potential failure modes when implementing a FMEA analysis. FMEA was developed in the 1960s in the aerospace industry and is now used extensively in the automotive industry. It was developed as a preventative mechanism and is most useful when it is implemented before a product or process is released rather than later. Because FMEA helps engineers identify potential product or process failures, they can minimize the likelihood of those failures, track and manage risks associated with the product or process, and ensure that failures that do occur will not injure or seriously impact the customer. In this way, they can help provide reliable, safe, and customer pleasing products and processes.
The first step in a FMEA analysis starts with the selection of the process or product to be reviewed and its function. Most FMEA projects involve processes or products that are candidates for a high risk of error. Initially, investigators determine which uses of the product or process fall inside the intended use and which fall outside, since product failure often leads to litigation. Next, they assemble a team made up of people who understand or use the product or process regularly. Using a block diagram showing the major components and how they are related or a flowchart, the team searches to identify locations, types, and...
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