A recognized leader in failure mode and effects analysis

Hardware Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) look for product-level consequences of component failures and the likelihood of each failure. Different types of components can fail in a number of ways, called failure modes, and each failure mode has an associated failure rate. FMEA and FMECA’s can highlight where fail-safe features are needed. Analysis results are presented in a table that shows, for each failure mode of each component, the local effect and system effect of the failure, plus its failure rate.

Software FMEA looks for consequences of failures in critical software. While software does not fail in the same sense that hardware fails, software variables sometimes acquire unexpected values due to programming errors, bad input data, component failures and many other causes. The analysis looks for local and system effects due to unexpected variable values. Analysis results are presented in a table that shows, for each variable and failure mode, the local effect and the system effect of the failure.

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Reasons to perform Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)

  • Development of system requirements that minimize the likelihood of failures
  • Development of methods to design and test systems to ensure that the failures have been eliminated
  • Identification of certain design characteristics that contribute to failures, and minimize or eliminate those effects
  • Tracking and managing potential risks in the design to help avoid the same failures in future projects
  • Ensuring that any failure that could occur will not injure the customer or seriously impact a system
  • When analyzing failures of an existing process, product or service
  • When a process, product or service is being designed or redesigned
  • To produce world class quality products

Developing software tools that compare FMEAs and corresponding Fault Tree Analyses (FTAs)

FTA and FMEA are usually performed by different analysts to assure independence of assessments and conclusions. The independent determinations must of course be consistent in both kinds of analyses, but consistency checking is difficult because completed analyses may run well over a thousand pages. To address this challenge, our team developed a software tool that compares FTAs and corresponding FMEAs.

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Bridging Software and Hardware FMEA in Complex Systems

What’s Inside: When complex software-controlled systems are subject to both software and hardware FMEA, conclusions are often incorrect in areas where software and hardware failures affect each other. These analysis errors occur because software specialists generally do not analyze hardware and hardware specialists generally do not analyze software, a situation that often leads them to use educated guesses when determining system-level effects in such crossovers. Sometimes a particular failure mode is assessed as part of hardware FMEA and a similar failure mode is independently assessed as part of software FMEA, causing duplication of effort and the strong possibility of two different conclusions.