Design FMEA

A Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a structured method to assess a product design at any stage in its development in order to identify potential issues associated with durability or potential problems. Advantages of undertaking this kind of exercise with an independent party such as Smithers Rapra is that it offers a non-biased, outside view, allowing potential hazards to be quickly identified and anticipated.

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA): A risk based approach to product design and development
There is more and more demand for products to have higher quality and increased reliability but it can be difficult for designers and manufactures to meet these challenges. With decreases in time to market and development budgets, engineers are often not able to undertake extensive testing under all possible conditions. 

Therefore any testing must be carefully considered to make the most of the test program using a risk-based approach. Large costs are the consequence of getting the design or production wrong, for example in the form of customer returns, high production scrap, recalls and even legal action.

FMEA can be carried out on new product developments at the concept stage, prototyping or on existing products.

Benefits of an FMEA include:

  • Improvements in the quality and reliability of the product or process
  • Reductions in development times and costs
  • Focus durability testing on critical areas
  • A structured approach to identifying potential problems
  • Identifying critical issues via quality checks
  • Increased safety for products and processes 
  • Documents the risk analysis

An effective independent FMEA will prevent crucial elements of the design from being overlooked. Additional failure modes are useful starting points for future development programs and can become the standard approach with all new projects.

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