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6 Sigma Tools: FMEA Types

published on August 27, 2012

I have already written about FMEA (failure Modes Effects Analysis) here, but the general nature of this blog gives me the ability to revisit topics as questions are asked. Today I want to shine a general focus on the different types of FMEA; generally there are four types of FMEA that your 6Sigma professionals look at. Here we go!

Systems FMEA– This type is applied to products/services at the early concept or design level as each step forms a process which in turn forms a system. System FMEA usually focuses on potential design failures. One good example are the multiple iterations of a product development process, the System FMEA would focus on design failures in the product development process.

Design (DFMEA)-This type works at the pre-production level and it is used to analyze failures prior to production. The goal is to detect how failures affect the system and minimize them. Once caveat regarding this type of FMEA is that the information gained from this type of FMEA must be used in the Process FMEA.

Process (PFMEA)-This type works generally in the early stages of production, where quality planning begins. The failures mode and potential defect sources are given a weighted value and racked and stacked according to your organizational goals. Now as more industries adopt 6Sigma, the thought naturally becomes ‘how does this apply to me’? Whenever a process moves from creation to implementation, you can apply 6Sigma tools. The tools will have to be altered to your specific organizational goals but truthfully and good consultant will adapt the tools according to knowledge and goals anyway.

Equipment FMEA-This type is used to spot the failures in the equipment used in the process or in manufacturing a part of the product. The trick is in knowing your equipment on a level that will allow you to notice errors and failures.


Remember the goal of FMEA is to improve quality and reliability while reducing time and cost.  Before you start I would advise that you think about and identify what you are trying to do and why you are looking at that area. In the meantime if you want to get started right away, give SPC a call and we will get you started.

published on August 27, 2012


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