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Abstract

Failure analysis is a process that is performed in order to determine the causes or factors that have led to an undesired loss of functionality. This article is intended to demonstrate proper approaches to failure analysis work. The goal of the proper approach is to allow the most useful and relevant information to be obtained. The discussion covers the principles and approaches in failure analysis work, objectives and scopes of failure analysis, the planning stages for failure analysis, the preparation of a protocol for a failure analysis, practices used by failure analysts, and procedures of failure analysis.

Abstract

This article discusses the organization required at the outset of a failure investigation and provides a methodology with some organizational tools. It focuses on the use of problem-solving tools such as a fault tree analysis combined with critical thinking. The discussion covers nine steps to organize a good failure investigation. They are as follows: understand and negotiate goals of the investigation, obtain a clear understanding of the failure, identify all possible root causes, objectively evaluate the likelihood of each root cause, converge on the most likely root cause(s), objectively and clearly identify all possible corrective actions, objectively evaluate each corrective action, select optimal corrective action(s), and evaluate effectiveness of selected corrective action(s). Common problems detrimental to a failure investigation are also covered.

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