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Key Term Tuesday: Failure Mode


Failure is an inevitable part of life. But in the auto industry, failure needs to be assessed and addressed to avoid costly failures related to products, processes, and quality.

Within the context of auto manufacturing, failure means the loss of function under stated conditions. This basically means that a specific aspect of the product or process doesn’t perform correctly (or at all) when put through a test.

FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis)

Systematized group of activities intended to:

1) recognize and evaluate the potential failure of a product/process and its effects

2) identify actions which could eliminate or reduce the chance of the potential failure occurring

3) document the process failure occurring

Correctly analyzing potential failures is especially important during development and planning phases of production, as an unaddressed failure can be detrimental to future success. To learn more about implementing FMEA, be sure to enroll in our eLearning course.

There are several different types of FMEA. Two of the most common in the auto industry analyze issues of design and process:

DFMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis Design)

An analytical technique used by a design responsible organization as a means to assure, to the extent possible, that potential failure modes and their associated causes/mechanisms have been considered and addressed.

PFMEA (Failure Mode & Effects Analysis Process)

A structured analytical tool used by an organization, business unit, or cross-functional team to identify and evaluate the potential failures of a process. Enroll in our eLearning course to get more familiar with PFMEA process.

But how are these tools measured? This is known as RPN.

RPN (Risk Priority Numbers)

The measure of risk in the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis comprehending effects severity, failure mode cause occurrence and detection capability of current controls.

For more terms like these, download our Core Tools Key Terms.

photo credit: Hamed Saber via photopin cc