The Do's and Don'ts of DFMEA
Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is one of the first structured techniques of failure analysis. It was developed in the 1950s by the U.S. armed forces and was later used in the Apollo space program. In the 1980s, it was adopted by the automotive industry—and today it is widely used in a number of industries.
Unlike root cause analysis (RCA), which focuses on the past (discovering the cause of existing problems), FMEA is directed toward the future; it is about trying to prevent a failure by anticipating it.
The three most common types are:
- System FMEA includes failure modes with interfaces and interactions in addition to considering single-point failures. Risks linked to interfaces between subsystems or components need to be understood because interface problems are often the root cause for system failures. An example would be a design software compatibility issue between two plants making components for a single product. Such an incompatibility results in product assembly difficulties, project delays and cost overruns. The goal of System FMEA is to prevent interface failures from happening. Typically, a System FMEA should be done at the start of a new product program or in order to implement a robust change in existing product design. Human interactions, services or software could be included in the scope of the System FMEA or addressed
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