Efficient Plant May 2019 - 31

department | on the floor

FMEA is an effective tool,
for continuous improvement, but an RCM may
provide the additional
information you need to
make decisions.

monitoring, predictive technologies, and time-based
and run-to-failure strategies. In addition, more engineers are writing FMEAs to a similar detail level
of RCM (with function and performance details).
Some have added parts availability, cost, and other
items to the FMEAs for better decision making.
With the higher level of detail and PMO done at the
back end of FMEAs, there is not much difference
between an industry-typical RCM and an FMEA.
You will also hear the term FMECA, which is an
FMEA with a criticality analysis. FMEA is based
on qualitative analysis (team consensus of the three
scales). FMECA uses quantitative analysis (actual
failure rate and failure severity), which is called a
criticality analysis (CA).
Many of the FMEAs performed in manufacturing and process industries are still done on paper
or an Excel spreadsheet, with some using software.
While paper is a good way to begin and learn, it
doesn't lend itself to sharing knowledge or developing a reliable history. Remember that an FMEA
should be a living document. As such, some form of

MAY 2019

digital storage and common formatting will be helpful to enable easy use of historical learning.
The answer to the original question is somewhat
different than what may have been given in the
1950s or 1980s, and will be different again in a few
years. FMEAs have evolved from mainly a design-in
tool for new product/equipment to today's moredetailed analyses and PMO (which is becoming
similar to RCM). Future FMEAs will use machine
learning/artificial intelligence to capture, store, and
leverage historical information. This will result in
better processes, products, equipment design-in,
and, in general, ongoing improvement. EP

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache is director
of the Reliability & Maintainability Center at the
Univ. of Tennessee, and a research professor in the
College of Engineering. Contact him at
kblache@utk.edu.

EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM |

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