The Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a methodology used to systematically identify faults and failures, and their effects on the system under investigation.This analytical methodology is cause-oriented and focused on examining individual faults and failures. Furthermore, their causes are investigated with the objective of avoiding a recurrence.

This method provides the benefits of enabling a determination of possible types of failures (failure modes) and the delivery of input information for risk-reducing actions.

An FMEA is performed by an interdisciplinary team. This serves the objective of feeding the expert knowledge from as many areas as possible which are relevant to the achievement of the FMEA objective into the analysis. The team is tasked with identifying potential faults and with detecting and assessing their criticality and potential effects.

The results from an FMEA are documented in tabular form using a template and tools as appropriate.  There are examples of templates available which, depending on the application, can be modified to suit specific requirements.

There are various forms of this analysis methodology. Principally, depending on the area of application, a distinction is made between three different types which are used in different phases of the product lifecycle, respectively:

  • System FMEA

Analyses the total system. System components are examined in order to avoid risks resulting from the system design as well as field risks, i.e. risks occurring when the finished product is in use, or to reduce their effects.

  • Design FMEA

This analysis is done at the assembly component level. The components of a system are examined in the development phase: their potential failures and the consequences that may result from such failures, for example.

  • Process FMEA

Analyses process planning and process execution. The objective in this case is the avoidance of manufacturing defects and assurance of product quality