As you’ve seen in our series on Safety Engineering and how to use Safety Risk Analysis (SRA) to de-risk the safety hazards of your equipment and operations, in certain manufacturing automation environments you can also benefit from a detailed analysis and reporting provided through a Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA).
Typically, FMEAs are associated with the analysis of product performance. But we can also apply the principles of an FMEA to audit your manufacturing automation equipment and processes to ensure functional performance and maximum uptime.
Applying FMEA Principles to Manufacturing Equipment
Starting with Complete Team Representation to Determine FMEA Scope
To accurately prepare for a FMEA, AC enages with your complete project team, including operation staff, to ensure a healthy cross-functional group of contributors. This includes technical staff from design, quality, and operational teams who will help to define the scope of the FMEA, including outlining processes related to equipment, subsystems, or manufacturing.
For FMEAs conducted on existing equipment on your floor, we also analyze existing documentation that can provide insight into potential failure.
Identifying Failure Modes to De-Risk Equipment Design
Leaning on our 20+ years of manufacturing equipment design experience, we collaborate closely with your manufacturing team to identify the most likely failure modes and their potential effect on your equipment and manufacturing.
The FMEA typically reveals a wide range of root causes, from human error, to design flaws, material defects, and more. Using this information, we can recommend design and process improvements that can significantly impact overall project success.
Calculating a Risk Priority Number (RPN) to Prioritize Improvements
Impacts to product quality, worker safety, downtime and more are calculated to produce a Risk Priority Number (RPN).
Depending on your unique production requirements, the RPM reflects and provides insight into what is critical to your operation:
> High volume manufacturers prioritize quantity when identifying impacts of downtime
> Medical device prioritize quality when identifying impacts of downtime
Utilizing the resulting RPN, we pinpoint areas where the equipment does not meet required standards or where improvements can be made in relation to your manufacturing goals and equipment needs.
Building Corrective Actions to Ensure Ongoing Performance and Safety
Integrating FMEA principles into your manufacturing equipment audit helps us identify and prioritize risk reduction that matches your unique requirements, enabling safety through corrective action and equipment performance improvements.
By proactively tackling potential failure modes, your organization can not only boost equipment performance and safety but also reduce downtime and elevate product quality.
When to Use FMEA to De-Risk Your Equipment and Processes
De-Risk Your Requirements Starting in the Early Proof of Concept Stage
In most cases, performing a FMEA during the proof of concept stage lays the right groundwork for success with the rest of the project.
From a FMEA, we gain a clearer picture of the risks associated with the tool design and related processes. By identifying your risk priorities (RPNs) early, we can better define your requirements through a de-risked understanding of your equipment.
De-Risk Your Design During the Design & Development Stage
During the design and development phase of manufacturing equipment, performing a FMEA helps you build reliable and safe equipment from the start by defining a clear and detailed process for the equipment’s use and manufacturing.
De-Risk Upgrades and Modifications Planned for Your Equipment
Upgrades and modifications to manufacturing equipment are often necessary to improve performance, meet changing production requirements, or integrate new technologies. However, these changes can introduce new risks and potential failure modes. Applying FMEA during the upgrade or modification process can help you navigate these changes with confidence and minimize potential issues.
De-Risk Process Improvement Initiatives
FMEA can be a powerful ally in the success of process improvement initiatives like Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, or Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). By systematically identifying and addressing potential failure modes in the manufacturing process, FMEA can contribute to reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and enhancing overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
De-Risk Preventive Maintenance to Minimize Downtime
FMEA can be instrumental in developing preventive maintenance plans for manufacturing equipment. By identifying the most critical failure modes and their causes, you can prioritize maintenance tasks, allocate resources effectively, and minimize equipment downtime—saving both time and money in the long run.
Determining if an FMEA is the Right Path for Your Equipment
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