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What is the FMEA?

Learn what an FMEA is, how to conduct an analysis, what types of FMEAs there are, and get examples of how to use Failure Mode and Effect Analysis.

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What is the FMEA?

FMEA stands for failure mode and effects analysis. FMEA method is designed to prevent the defects that may occur at the stage of product design or manufacturing.

The beginnings of using the FMEA method date back to the 1960s. The method was initially used by the American space agency NASA. It was then used to control the design of parts and components of American spacecraft. Subsequently, it also gained popularity in the aerospace, military, chemical, electronic and, above all, automotive industries. Currently, the method is also adopted in ISO 9000 and QS-9000 standards for the automotive industry.

  1. About 75% of errors are due to irregularities at the stage of production preparation. Their detectability at the initial stage is very low.
  2. About 80% of errors are detected at the production stage.

FMEA areas of application

  • Broadly understood product optimization (at the stage of design, preparation for production and during product updates, implementation of improvements and changes).
  • Process optimization (during implementation of a new process and improvement of processes already functioning in the company).
  • Risk identification and management.


How to perform FMEA analysis?

The analysis is carried out in two stages.

  1. Preparation for the study – this stage includes activities related to determining the purpose of the analysis and data collection.
  2. The actual qualitative analysis – this stage includes activities related to the creation of a plan to correct the possible cause of the defect and supervision of the implemented improvements.

Failure mode and effects analysis implementation stages

To implement an FMEA:

  1. Identify the elements of the product or process (process sequence).
  2. Create a list of potential errors and deviations in the process.
  3. Create a list of likely effects of potential errors and deviations.
  4. Make a list of causes of potential errors and deviations.
  5. Analyze the potential errors and deviations.
  6. Assess the risk of potential errors and deviations.
  7. Plan corrective and preventive actions.
  8. Implement corrective and preventive actions, and then examine their effectiveness.

Learn about the most common mistakes made when conducting an FMEA analysis – here.


You can learn about the detailed procedure of FMEA analysis and practical examples of using the method in the course “Failure Mode and Effect Analysis“.

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