Automating FMEA: Next-Generation Failure Analysis from NANEVA

Automating FMEA:

Next-Generation Failure Analysis from NANEVA

By Bruce Jenkins, President, Ora Research LLC

Failure mode and effects analysis, or FMEA, is a systematic technique for failure analysis originally developed by reliability engineers in the 1950s to study problems that might arise from malfunctions of military systems. Broadly defined, FMEA today is “a systematic group of activities intended to:

  1. recognize and evaluate the potential failure,
  2. identify actions that could eliminate or reduce the chance of the potential failure occurring, and
  3. document the entire process” (AIAG, “Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA),” 3rd ed., 2001).

Primarily a qualitative rather than quantitative analysis, FMEA is an inductive process based on experience with similar products and processes, or on common physics of failure logic.

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The Role of Automated FMEA in Automotive Reliability Improvement

Paper #:
  • 2006-01-1619

  • 2006-04-03
  • 10.4271/2006-01-1619
Semp, B., Pathan, A., and Dessert, P., “The Role of Automated FMEA in Automotive Reliability Improvement,” SAE Technical Paper 2006-01-1619, 2006, doi:10.4271/2006-01-1619.

An important challenge facing automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEMs) is to bring a product to the consumer that meets the Voice Of the Customer (VOC) with high reliability. Although not an explicitly stated requirement, the desire for highly reliable products is an implicit want of most, if not all customers. The specific challenge to an OEM is to develop products with high reliability under shortened design cycles, cost reduction initiatives, and pressures to produce products with focus market appeal.

This paper evaluates the current situation, use, and overall effectiveness of Failure Modes & Effects Analysis (FMEA) and its role in improving the reliability of automotive products. The need for a semi-formal or formal methodology for identifying product failure modes is developed. Lastly, a set of recommendations and opportunities for research pertaining to automated FMEA are presented with an end goal of improving the FMEA process and ultimately the reliability of automotive products.