Performing FME(C)A to increase safety, reliability and identify single point of failures

FME(C)A (Failure Modes, Effects (and Criticality) Analysis) is a methodology to identify and analyze all potential failure modes of the various parts of a system, the effects of these failures, and how to avoid them and/or mitigate their effect.

An FMECA is conducted in a multidisciplinary workshop, where a facilitator ensures a systematic and structured approach and a scribe records the discussions to keep consistency and tracking of all items.

The technique is primarily used to:

  • Create reliability block diagram and fault trees to calculate the reliability of the system in order to assist in selecting design alternatives with high reliability and high safety potential during early design phases;
  • Ensure that all conceivable failure modes and their effects on operational success of the system have been considered;
  • List potential failures, identify the severity of their effects, estimate failure rates, classify failures in safe/dangerous and detected/undetected;
  • Develop early criteria for test planning and requirements for test equipment;
  • Provide historical documentation for future reference to aid in analysis of field failures and consideration of design changes;
  • Provide a basis for maintenance planning;
  • Provide a basis for quantitative reliability and availability analyses.

Another important aspect of FMECA, in addition to the potential of increasing safety and reliability of equipment and systems, is that it can also be used for operational considerations as a tool to eliminate potential single point of failures that do not impact safety, but can cause downtime. This becomes increasingly important when the analysis considers subsea systems such as subsea production systems and subsea BOP’s, where failures causing downtime have large financial impact.

The success of the FMECA depends to a large degree on the dedication and preparation of the facilitation team (facilitator and scribe). ORS offers experienced FMECA facilitators and scribes with relevant background for each FMECA. ORS has lately been awarded multiple FMECA assignments by engineering and drilling companies for international projects, where operational aspects of the systems analyzed becomes important. Our facilitators have experience from facilitating FMECAs for a wide range of equipment and systems, such as process systems, subsea production systems, and drilling and well intervention equipment.