A DMAIC integrated fuzzy FMEA model: A case study in the automotive industry

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The growing competitiveness in the automotive industry and the strict standards to which it is subject, require high quality standards. For this, quality tools such as the failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) are applied to quantify the risk of potential failure modes. However, for qualitative defects with subjectivity and associated uncertainty, and the lack of specialized technicians, it revealed the inefficiency of the visual inspection process, as well as the limitations of the FMEA that is applied to it. The fuzzy set theory allows dealing with the uncertainty and subjectivity of linguistic terms and, together with the expert systems, allows modeling of the knowledge involved in tasks that require human expertise. In response to the limitations of FMEA, a fuzzy FMEA system was proposed. Integrated in the design, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) cycle, the proposed system allows the representation of expert knowledge and improves the analysis of subjective failures, hardly detected by visual inspection, compared to FMEA. The fuzzy FMEA system was tested in a real case study at an industrial manufacturing unit. The identified potential failure modes were analyzed and a fuzzy risk priority number (RPN) resulted, which was compared with the classic RPN. The main results revealed several differences between both. The main differences between fuzzy FMEA and classical FMEA come from the non-linear relationship between the variables and in the attribution of an RPN classification that assigns linguistic terms to the results, thus allowing a strengthening of the decision-making regarding the mitigation actions of the most “important” failure modes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3726
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2021


  • Automotive industry
  • FMEA
  • Fuzzy FMEA
  • Potential failure


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