Seeking: FMEA Beginners Guide - PCB Design and Assembly


Chris May

FMEA Beginners Guide ??

Hi guys,

It seems that the FMEA tools are primarily aimed at the automotive industry, but can be used elsewhere.

We are in the design and assembly of heating control systems and the most problematic parts are the PCB assemblies.

Has anyone in the PCB assembly arena instigated FMEA on board design and / or assembly processes and would they be willing to share ??

Also, where can I find an "Idiots Guide" or "Beginners Guide" to FMEA.

I have quickly searched and browsed the forums, but the topics are well in advance of what I require.

FMEA is not a requirement for us as a company, but from the little I have read, it could be a useful tool....


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s An example of military requirements is MIL STD 1629. I tried to attach, but file is too big. You can get it free from the web.

Douglas E. Purdy

Quite Involved in Discussions
Process Flow Chart (Traditional)

Chris May,

This is not an 'Idiot's Guide' to FMEAs, but I do find that walking through the Process Flow (see attached SAMPLE), with the Process Owners and identifying the Sources of Variation at each applicable step is a good beginning for generating an FMEA.


Last edited:

Bill Ryan - 2007

Chris May

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Performing an FMEA excersize (and actually doing it right!!) is one of the "driest, most painful" things a human being can put themselves through.

It is also one of the best tools you can use to document the risks your product could "potentially" expose you to. The Big3 did not "invent" the FMEA, they "adopted" it. It has been a great engineering tool since the '50s, I believe. But it is only a tool to write down (document) the thought process an engineer goes through on a daily basis.

I am a strong proponent of the FMEA and have recently made inroads here to, truly, make the FMEA a "living" document. I think you may be surprised at what you might learn going through the process.

I'm going home now - have a great weekend, all.



Since you guys are on the subject..... Doe you interpret the requirements to be that you have to utilize FMEA's and control plans?

All answer appreciated


Bill Ryan - 2007


Each one of your customers will tell you if it's a requirement. ISO/TS do not specifically, explicitly say that you "shall" have FMEAs for your parts.



O.K. I just called my registrar to find out what their standings are on the FMEA requirements. They tell me that FMEA's are a requirement. According to them element 4.2 subelement Advance Product Quality Planning states that "Teams actions should include: Development and review of FMEAs" and that subelement Process Failure and Effects Analysis states that "Process FMEAs shall consider...." According to them their interpretation is that it is a requirement. Am I off. I don't see it. I have to be honest, we have FMEA's. Are they useful. NO. Do any of the employees utilize them. NO. Is anyone that is ISO-9002/QS-9000 not using FMEA's? What does your registrar say?



Angela - We are QS and use FMEA/CP extensively. It is a requirement of PPAP and we find it a useful tool in our APQP process. We do not however use FMEA on every new part.

QS does not require FMEA outside the PPAP requirement. It is offered as a prefered technique in APQP but because it is a "should", you would be allowed to use an alternative technique.

The requirement is that you have an APQP process. Some techniques are listed as "should" but it states "Similar techniques that accomplish the intent are acceptable".

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