FAILURE MODE AND EFFECT ANALYSIS
Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, or a product or service.
“Failure modes” means the ways, or modes, in which something might fail. Failures are any errors or defects, especially ones that affect the customer, and can be potential or actual.
“Effects analysis” refers to studying the consequences of those failures.
Failures are prioritized according to how serious their consequences are, how frequently they occur and how easily they can be detected. The purpose of the FMEA is to take actions to eliminate or reduce failures, starting with the highest-priority ones.
Failure modes and effects analysis also documents current knowledge and actions about the risks of failures, for use in continuous improvement. FMEA is used during design to prevent failures. Later it’s used for control, before and during ongoing operation of the process. Ideally, FMEA begins during the earliest conceptual stages of design and continues throughout the life of the product or service.
Begun in the 1940s by the U.S. military, FMEA was further developed by the aerospace and automotive industries. Several industries maintain formal FMEA standards.
What follows is an overview and reference. Before undertaking an FMEA process, learn more about standards and specific methods in your organization and industry through other references and training.
WHEN TO USE FMEA?
• When a process, product or service is being designed or redesigned, after quality function deployment.
• When an existing process, product or service is being applied in a new way.
• Before developing control plans for a new or modified process.
• When improvement goals are planned for an existing process, product or service.
• When analyzing failures of an existing... [continues]
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