Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) / Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA)

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) / Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA)


There are very few reliability design analysis tools that are as widely practiced as Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) or its derivative, the Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA). The FMEA/FMECA is a tool by which a design is analyzed to identify all credible potential ways that the building blocks of a design can fail, and the impact that these failures can have on the product or system. The process begins by identifying the building blocks (for example, individual components or functional blocks), then enumerating the functional requirements for each block, and finally listing the effect(s) of failure on both the local and higher-level assemblies until the impacts on the final product or system are projected. For this reason, the analysis is referred to as a “bottom-up” approach.

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Product Description

The series name has a double meaning:
(1) the spelling of the name r-e-l-e-a-s-e indicates that the series is intended to “release“ the non-expert down the path to reliable products and
(2) the complementary terms “REL” with “ease”, implying the series goal of “reliability made easy.”

Of course, reliability success is seldom easy, requiring expertise and tailoring with tradeoffs addressing life-cycle costs and other issues, but we hope that the series will help those not familiar with reliability practices understand the basics.

While it is unlikely that the reader will become an instant expert in reliability by reading the RELease guides, it is likely that he/she will gain a better appreciation of the basic tools that lead to designing and building reliability into products and systems. The number of pages in each guide is intentionally limited to address only the basics, with comprehensive authoritative references listed for those wanting to know more. The initial set of guides will be continuously expanded in the future. Please let us know how the series can be improved to meet your needs in introducing reliability to the non-expert, or suggest other topics you would like to see developed.

Additional information

File Type:



Daniel Gonzalez





Publication Date:

July 2013

Table of Contents

1. What is an FMEA/FMECA       2
2. FMEA/FMECA Terminology       4
  2.1. Failure Modes     5
3. Performing an FMEA/FMECA       6
  3.1. Before You Begin     6
  3.2. FMEA/FMECA tools     8
  3.3. Performing an FMEA/FMECA per MIL-STD-1629A     8
  3.4. Performing the Criticality Analysis (CA) per MIL-STD-1629A     11
  3.5. Performing an FMEA/FMECA per SAE and IEC Standards     14
  3.6. Key Differences Between the MIL-STD-1629A and SAE/IEC Approaches     17
  3.7. The Process FMEA     18
  3.8. FMEA/FMECA Limitations     18
4. Details       19
5. For More Information       20

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