The purpose of this paper is to propose an integrative approach for improving failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA).
An extensive literature review on FMEA has been performed. Then, an integrative approach has been proposed based on literature review. The proposed approach is an integration of FMEA and quality function deployment (QFD). The proposed approach includes a two-phase QFD. In the first phase, failure modes are prioritized based on failure effects and in the second phase, failure causes are prioritized based on failure modes. The proposed approach has been examined in a case example at the blast furnace operation of a steel-manufacturing company.
Results of the case example indicated that stove shell crack in hot blast blower, pump failure in cooling water supply pump and bleeder valves failed to operate are the first three important failure modes. In addition, fire and explosion are the most important failure effects. Also, improper maintenance, over pressure and excess temperature are the most important failure causes. Findings also indicated that the proposed approach with the consideration of interrelationships among failure effects, failure mode and failure causes can influence and adjust risk priority number (RPN) in FMEA.
As manufacturing departments are mostly dealing with failure effects and modes of machinery and maintenance departments are mostly dealing with causes of failures, the proposed model can support better coordination and integration between the two departments. Such support seems to be more important in firms with continuous production lines wherein line interruption influences response to customers more seriously. A wide range of future study opportunities indicates the attractiveness and contribution of the subject to the knowledge of FMEA.
Although the literature indicates that in most of studies the outcomes of QFD were entered into FMEA and in some studies the RPN of FMEA was entered into QFD as importance rating, the proposed approach is a true type of the so-called “integration of FMEA and QFD” because the three main elements of FMEA formed the structure of QFD. In other words, the proposed approach can be considered as an innovation in the FMEA structure, not as a data provider prior to it or a data receiver after it.