Multiple Fault Diagnosis from FMEA

Chris Price, Neil Taylor

The Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) design discipline allows the examination of the consequences of potential component failures on the functionality of a system. It is clear that this type of information could also prove useful for application in diagnostic processes. Unfortunately, this information cannot be fully utilized for diagnosis when FMEA has been performed by human engineers, because of inconsistencies in effect descriptions. The FMEA discipline is also very time consuming, with the consequence that the engineer can only investigate single point failures. Automation of the electrical FMEA process facilitates information reuse for diagnosis by providing consistent descriptions of failure effects, and by speeding up the FMEA process to such an extent that it becomes feasible to examine multiple failures. This paper introduces the advantages that automated FMEA provides for diagnosis, and examines its fuse for generating fault trees fro the FMEA report. The paper examines the current limitations of FMEA use for diagnosis, and reports on how these limitations can be overcome.

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