Productivity and risk are closely linked, and it’s no surprise that as manufacturers look at ways of tackling their different productivity challenges, more time is spent on how to mitigate risk in the production process. Here are some key features this involves.
By: Patrick Lee, EEF Manufacturing Growth Lead
When it comes to mitigating risk, Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a trusted, intensive method that helps with analysing and preventing failures in the production process. This proactive, in-depth technique can be applied to both the design and production processes, helping to identify possible failures and to prevent them by correcting the processes proactively rather than reacting to adverse events after failures have occurred.
This benefits organisations in a number of way by providing:
- A documented method for selecting a successful designA list of failure modes ranked according to the seriousness of their system impact and likelihood of occurrence
- Early identification of single failure points (SFPS) and system interface problems
- An effective method for evaluating the effect of proposed changes to the design and/or manufacturing process
- A basis for troubleshooting procedures
Many companies don’t begin the exercise of evaluating their risk potential at the start of their product design process, but this is a fundamental point. Design FMEA is a thorough technique that makes the design process more robust by driving out risk elements at an early stage. This helps to bring standardisation to the production process, thus helping prevent issues cropping up over and over again.
Key aspects of design FMEA:
- Using product service design drawings or documents to identify each component and its relation with other components of product/service
- Brainstorming and listing any potential failure modes and potential effects of these failure modes
- Assigning severity, occurrence and detection rankings to calculate a risk priority number (RPN)
- Developing an action plan to reduce vital RPNs
Once a full design FMEA has been completed, organisations can then move to analysing and eliminating the risks in the manufacture of their product. Process FMEA takes the results of design FMEA and expands on it, following the complete production process. The key thing about process FMEA is setting up the right checks and balances to ensure reliability and consistent quality.
Key aspects of process FMEA:
Completing a process map with input from all process owners
Assigning severity, occurrence and detection rankings to each process step as a team to calculate RPNs
Identifying corrective actions for each process step
Completing a Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) chart for the corrective actions
FMEA is an important step for organisations looking to mitigate risk and improve productivity, contributing to continuous improvement activities, cost savings, decreasing development time, warranty costs and issues. If you want to learn more about FMEA, register today for the EEF Basic failure mode effect analysis (FMEA) training.