Reverse-FMEARaising FMEA Quality to a Higher Level

Does the "theoretical" FMEA match the real production conditions at all? Reverse FMEA (R-FMEA) is used to validate the FMEA. The actual production processes are examined and deviations from the risk analysis are identified. This review increases the quality of the FMEA and leads to improved, more robust production processes.

Method for Verifying the Process FMEA

In order to confront FMEA results with real situations, the Reverse FMEA method was introduced. It no longer deals only with imagined causes of defects, but is carried out directly on site at the respective process or activity step. This method can be seen as an addition to the content of a Process FMEA, but from a different perspective. In order to bring together different perspectives, usually an interdisciplinary FMEA team including FMEA moderator is used. The proximity to the process or the individual activity step allows a comparison between the documented results of the Process FMEA and the actual production processes.

How Reverse FMEA Validates the Performance of Your Manufacturing Processes

To date, there is no mandatory normative requirement or binding rules from any industry association for the implementation of a Reverse FMEA. However, many OEMs (BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, Geely Group, General Motors, VW Group, etc.) now require their suppliers to perform R-FMEA. As a result, and due to the proven effectiveness of this method, companies have started to adopt R-FMEA into their existing processes and are developing their own approaches and rules.

There is no specific approach for implementation, but in general most companies define their own methodology in their FMEA standards. Following an R-FMEA checklist is recommended.

However, some approaches are also listed in customer-specific requirements, for example in Ford's CSR agreements.

With PLATO e1ns, Reverse FMEA can be successfully implemented

  • Verification of the work steps incl. filtering capability for special characteristics through R-FMEA
  • R-FMEA is a checklist that includes P-FMEA and CP data, such as work step (process function), special process and product features, device/tool/equipment, potential failure modes and causes, OD numbers, prevention and detection controls.
  • The result of the Reverse FMEA will confirm/modify the current P-FMEA by adding new recommended actions.
  • The Lessons Learned process of PLATO e1ns will update the family/baseline FMEA data from the R-FMEA (e.g. revised controls, OD numbers, new recommended actions).
  • R-FMEA Activity Report
What is the Goal of Reverse FMEA?

FMEA is considered one of the most powerful risk prevention tools. However, it is performed by multidisciplinary teams in meeting rooms brainstorming away from the reality of the field and real manufacturing situations.

The purpose of Reverse FMEA is to validate the assumptions made when the FMEA was created and see if they still hold true. In this process, the observations from the Reverse FMEA are incorporated into the existing Process FMEA and further processed there. This means that new defects and new causes of defects may be discovered, which may also lead to a re-evaluation of significance, avoidance and detection measures. This serves primarily to keep the Process FMEA up to date and to document an image of the actual situation. Necessary actions are also to be implemented.

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