Failure Modes and Effects Analysis – or FMEA for short – is widely used across many industries. Often in the design phase of new equipment. But also to troubleshoot poor-performing equipment.
A Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is often one of the first steps you would undertake to analyse and improve the reliability of a system or piece of equipment.
During an FMEA you break the selected equipment down into systems, subsystems, assemblies, and components and determine how these could fail.
You analyse why the failure would happen and what the consequence would be.
The analysis is completed by assigning preventive or corrective actions to improve reliability.
An FMEA analysis helps you to identify how a piece of equipment might fail. You do this based on experience with similar types of equipment. Or in some cases purely on the basis of sound engineering logic.
FMEAs are widely used in the development phase of a product. But are also used to analyse the failure of existing equipment already in operation. In that case, often the FMEA is used to review and optimise the preventive maintenance program.
Read more in our article: Why the FMEA is my equipment not reliable?
Most FMEA templates are very similar and most miss out on some key features to develop effective PMs which is why we created a custom, but simple template.
What’s different? Simple – we make sure that as part of your analysis you capture key failure mode characteristic like: is the failure mode a hidden failure mode or not? is the failure mode age related or not? Does it have a consistent P-F interval? Knowing this is key to developing effective Preventive Maintenance tasks.
We provide detailed guidance on how to use the FMEA template in our online training course Developing & Improving Preventive Maintenance Programs.
There is not a single, correct method for conducting an FMEA. The various standards listed in the article Why the FMEA is my equipment not reliable? provide good guidance if you can get your hands on one of them.
Below is an outline of how you would go about conducting an FMEA. It is based on the process outlined in IEC 60812 with some simplifications:
STEP #1 – Plan and prepare the FMEA
STEP #2 – Define and scope the FMEA
STEP #3 – Identify failure modes
STEP #4 – Identify failure effects
STEP #5 – Identify failure causes
STEP #6 – Identify controls
STEP #7 – Assess and prioritise risks
For more details on how to do each step read Why the FMEA is my equipment not reliable?
Ideally, you can use FMEA template to improve reliability of equipment during the design phase. But reality for most plants in the world is that the equipment is designed, installed and in operation in which case you can still use the FMEA template to improve your Preventive Maintenance programs.
Keep in mind that not all failure modes can be managed by maintenance, some of the failure modes identified during an FMEA analysis may require a physical modification of the equipment to improve reliability.