The Basics Of Fmea

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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The basics of FMEA, itself a basic technique in modern maintenance, were originated by the U.S. Military in a report commissioned in 1949. The report, titled "Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality Analysis," was an equipment reliability report that contributed to maintenance practices a new way to rank criticality of a failure. Previously, the criticality of a failure mode may have been ranked by the periodicity of the failure--in other words, how often the asset failed in the field.

The FMECA report, however, ranked criticality by the effect that a failure mode had on other equipment and personnel. This idea became one of the basics of FMEA studies, and eventually found it's way into other maintenance disciplines. RCM 2, a school of maintenance that grew out of 70s reports that highlighted effects and consequences of failures, uses the basics of FMEA as an analysis and asset management tool.

Translating the Basics of FMEA into Modern Practice

Basic ideas of FMEA that exist in maintenance practices today are the ideas that failure modes happen along a timeline between a cause and an effect. Depending on the scope of the analysis, a singe event that may be an effect could also be a cause in a different analysis. In another analysis, that same event may be a failure mode.

In RCM practices, FMEAs are used along with root cause analysis to determine the possible causes and consequences of every failure mode imaginable for a single asset. Criticality of each consequence is ranked by its consequences, and so on, for every aspect of business from manufacturing to customer service. The consequences of failures are the focus for RCM, an idea that is similar to the basics of FMEA.


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