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The FMEA discipline was developed in the United States Military. Military Procedure MIL-P-1629, titled Procedures for Performing a Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis, isdated November 9, 1949. It was used as a reliability evaluation technique to determine the effect of system and equipment failures. Failures were classified according to their impact on mission successand personnel or equipment safety.
The term “personnel or equipment”, taken directly from an abstract of Military Standard MIL-STD-1629, is notable. The concept that personnel and equipment areinterchangeable does not apply in the modern manufacturing context of producing consumer goods. The manufacturers of consumer products established a new set of priorities, including customer satisfactionand safety. As a result, the risk assessment tools of the FMEA became partially outdated. They have not been adequately updated since.
For the most part, it hasbeen an indispensable tool for industries such as the aerospace and automobile industries, as well as, the electronic and medical industries. US government agencies (i.e. Air Force, Navy) require thatFMEA’s be performed on their systems to ensure safety as well as reliability.
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is methodology for analyzing potential reliabilityproblems early in the development cycle where it is easier to take actions to overcome these issues, thereby enhancing reliability through design. FMEA is used to identify potential failure modes,determine their effect on the operation of the product, and identify actions to mitigate the failures. A crucial step is anticipating what might go wrong with a product. While anticipating every failure modeis not possible, the development team should formulate as extensive a list of potential failure modes as possible.
The early and consistent use of FMEAs in the design process allows the engineer to...
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