Failure mode and effects analysis
Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a method (first developed for systems engineering[/url]) that examines potential failures in products or processes. It may be used to evaluate [URL=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_management”]risk management
priorities for mitigating known threat-vulnerabilities.
FMEA helps select remedial actions
that reduce cumulative impacts of life-cycle consequences (risks) from a systems failure (fault).
By adapting hazard tree analysis to facilitate visual learning
, this method illustrates connections between multiple contributing causes and cumulative (life-cycle) consequences.
It is used in many formal quality systems
such as QS 9000 or ISO/TS 16949.
The basic process is to take a description of the parts of a system, and list the consequences if each part fails. In most formal systems, the consequences are then evaluated by three criteria and associated risk indices:
- severity (S),
- likelihood of occurrence (O), and (Note: This is also often known as probability (P))
- inability of controls to detect it (D)
FMEA is most commonly applied but not limited to design (Design FMEA) and manufacturing processes (Process FMEA).
Design failure modes effects analysis (DFMEA) identifies potential failures of a design before they occur. DFMEA then goes on to establish the potential effects of the failures, their cause, how often and when they might occur and their potential seriousness.
Process failure modes effects analysis (PFMEA) is a systemized group of activities intended to:
FMEA is useful mostly as a survey method to identify major failure modes in a system. It is not able to discover complex failure modes involving multiple failures or subsystems, or to discover expected failure intervals of particular failure modes. For these, a different method called fault tree analysis
The FMEA process was originally developed by the US military in 1949[/url] to classify failures “according to their impact on mission success and personnel/equipment safety”. FMEA has since been used on the 1960s Apollo space missions. In the 1980s it was used by Ford to reduce risks after one model of car, the [URL=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Pinto”]Pinto
, suffered a fault in several vehicles causing the fuel tank to rupture and it to subsequently burst into flames after crashes.