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Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA)

  FMEA, Introduction
  1. Mil-STD-1629 Piece Part FMEA
  2. Mil-STD-1629 Criticality Analysis
  3. Automotive FMEA
  Concerns with FMEA
FMEA means Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, and FMECA means Failure Mode and Effect Criticality Analysis. Ther latter is just a specific FMEA type.



During the last decades, many FMEA types have been established by different sectors of industry. Some of them even have their own specific name, for example:

FMEDA: D = Detectability
Design-FMEA, Process FMEA, Software FMEA and so on (they simply describe the nature of the subject under consideration.
HAZOP: Hazard and Operability Analysis
HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point

The underlying principle is always the same, and can be described as follows:
The way how potential failure modes are identified as well as all downstream FMEA steps depend on FMEA type and FMEA goal, and can therefore be very different.

The following two examples may outline the range of what is practically encountered in the FMEA world:
While the first example is focused on improvement, the second example is a standard procedure in reliability and safety analysis.
Depending on the FMEA type, one or more of the following topics will be addressed:
The process of many FMEA types are live processes, and therefore the FMEA documents are live documents. This means that they are updated and reviewed either on a regular basis, or on demand. Those FMEAs focused on improvement are typical live FMEAs: After each improvement/mitigation action, a re-assessment is made until the results are conceived acceptable.
The basic toolset for FMEA is the FMEA table, also called FMEA worksheet. Specific column headers of the FMEA worksheet and its tabular structure define  FMEA type and FMEA methodology. In turn, type of industry and applied FMEA standard can be easily concluded from the column headers and the tabular structure of the FMEA worksheet.

The reader may now expect a list of established FMEA standards; instead, by describing just three FMEA types of only two FMEA standards (Mil-STD-1629 and IEC 60812), the following paragraphs aim to outline the entire FMEA spectrum.

On the next page, the "father" of all today's FMEA Standards, the so called "task 101" of Mil-Std-1629, also called "piece part FMEA" will be described. Mil-Std-1629 (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) has been developed by the US department of defense as a requirement for army material suppliers.

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