Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is typically performed by a team of engineers working together. In general, they will only consider single point failures in a system. Consideration of all possible combinations of failures is impractical for all but the simplest example systems. Even if the task of producing the FMEA report for the full multiple failure scenario were automated, it would still be impractical for the engineers to read, understand and act on all of the results. This paper shows how approximate failure rates for components can be used to select the most likely combinations of failures for automated investigation using simulation. The important information can be automatically identified from the resulting report, making it practical for engineers to study and act on the results. The strategy described in the paper has been applied to a range of electrical subsystems, and the results have confirmed that the strategy described here works well for realistically complex systems.
- Failure mode and effects analysis
- Qualitative simulation
- Multiple failures