Analysis of Failure Modes and Effects (FMEA)


FMEA, or Analysis of Failure Modes and Effects is a methodology that helps us to estimate and predict failures that may have a product that is in the design phase, in order to incorporate, from the beginning, components and functions ensure product reliability, safety and compliance with the parameters of the functions that customers require of this new product.
FMEA helps reduce the time and cost of developing a product, process or service. Help preventive analysis of the most likely potential failures that may have a product, systems or functionality thereof. The occurrence of faults generates a series of on product costs such as loss of performance or sudden stop any of the product features designed or analyzed, causing customer complaints.

FMEA is also used by manufacturers during the phases of the product life-cycle management to resolve claims of products or ranges of products that lose their competitiveness against others with better design and better specifications.

FMEA More specifically aims to:

Reduce delays and increase the effectiveness of development projects of new products and improve existing products, because it predicts what might be the potential failures that may occur in the future, in the manufacture or during operations, simulating During the design process probable causes of failure modes and which can be corrective actions.
Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of actions taken, to establish a process of continuous improvement around improving the quality of products.
Familiarizing and educating staff in teamwork during the design, in order to be themselves who provide faults, identify the probable causes, propose preventive actions in design and value results in later design phases.
Types of FMEA

The FMEA applications can be used for:

Concept: Analysis of systems or subsystems in the early stages and before the design.
Design: Analysis of product before the prototype and pre-series and before production.
Process: Analysis of manufacturing and assembly processes.
Machinery and Equipment: Analysis of products, machinery and equipment to improve efficiency and quality.
System: System Analysis and its specific functions.
Software: Analysis software functions.
Service: Analysis of field service processes before they are launched and the impact of the likely failure of the customer or consumer.
Phases FMEA methodology applied to design a new product or improving an existing one

The process of analysis of failure modes is a continuous improvement process that seeks excellence in product quality, for that reason should be structured in order to make as many analyzes as necessary to improve the indicators of product quality.

The phases of the FMEA methodology are shown below:




Initial phase: Previous work collection and analysis of information on the product or process:

To begin, it is necessary to describe the product, the system and its functions, since a good understanding of it simplifies analysis. In this way the team can prove that the product uses are appropriate and which are not. Following is a Block Diagram Product must be created. This diagram provides an overview of the main components and functions and how they are interrelated. This is called logical relationships around which a FMEA can be developed.

Later Matrix FMEA is made and thus answer the following questions that are performed on the product you want to improve or design:

What is the component or part of the component that we may fail?

What is the role we will analyze ?: Set the priority to analyzing functions. One by one.

Failure Modes: The way the fault occurs. Usually answer the question: How did the ruling? Typical failure modes: Break – Deformation – Fuga – Short – etc.

Potential causes of failure: Are all assignable causes of each failure mode. Examples: Wrong Material – Improper handling – deficient components – poor programs – functions not included in the design – other causes.

What are the potential failure modes ?: Is every possible failure mode, without requiring the fault has been really happen. Usually answer questions like:

How does conceivable that could fail the component, product or process?
How could the failure to comply with the specifications component and its functions?
Potential failure modes can be: broken, bent, Loose, Mal mounted, Omitted, among other faults.
What are the effects that the customer perceives against each failure ?: How a ruling on the client results in the event that the failure occurs: Noises – Scents – Smoke – Overheating – parts that do not work – Loss of Function, etc.

Then we proceed to qualify and quantify each function and evaluated Fault mode, placing a value from 0 to 9 for the following variables:

SEVERITY (S): To determine the severity of the failure and its effects, also called “Gravity.”
OCCURRENCE (O): To determine the occurrence of the failure and its effects.
DETECTION (D): To determine the criteria and tests for the detection of faults and their effects.
CRITICALITY: criticality of failure modes and effects.
The conclusions of FMEA allow us to take corrective and preventive on product design to increase reliability and safety actions. The conclusions of FMEA and corrective action to eliminate failure modes, are organized according to the criteria of this decision matrix:



A criterion for carrying out corrective actions of a product or its associated processes are:

Conclusions with a lower risk, low severity, low occurrence and no quality problem not any action is taken and it is understood that the design is robust.
Conclusions with a moderate risk, any control action should be taken.
Conclusions high risk, specific actions should be taken. selective evaluation is done to implement specific improvements in order of priority on components and / or functions.
Conclusions with a critical risk, significant changes must be made of the system, design modifications and improvement of the reliability of each of the components that have been identified for the product.
The FMEA methodology allows us to anticipate possible failures that a new product may have, therefore is an effective tool that incorporates the principles of continuous improvement of design and improvements focused on products and product range that an industrial company has plans to launch in the short and medium term.

This methodology is part of the many tools that are developed on a System Lean Management and Lean Project.


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