Guide To DFMEA: How to Detect Potential Design Failures Before They Occur

Guide To DFMEA How to Detect Potential Design Failures Before They Occur

Design failures can significantly impact businesses, both financially and reputationally. That is why it is important to invest in DFMEA processes to avoid these costly issues. But what is DFMEA, and why is it important?

This guide will discuss DFMEA and how to use it to detect potential design failures before they occur. We’ll also provide some examples of how DFMEA has been used successfully in the past.


What is DFMEA?

Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (DFMEA) is a tool to assess and ensure that products and processes perform their intended functions and satisfy user needs. A common tool used by design engineers, DFMEA evaluates the overall design of product components and systems to determine potential failure modes and their corresponding causes.

DFMEA specifies recommended actions to eliminate or mitigate possible design failures and their effects on customers. Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is useful in manufacturing, where failure prevention and risk reduction are crucial. In addition, performing an effective DFMEA enables teams to understand their design better, develop high-quality products, and improve overall safety.


DFMEA vs. FMEA: What’s the Difference?

It’s important to know that DFMEA and FMEA are two different but related tools. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a tool used to identify potential failures in a product or process. DFMEA, on the other hand, is used to assess potential design failures of parts before they can make a significant impact.


Why is DFMEA Important?

DFMEA helps engineers identify and resolve potential design failures at the onset, which reduces product development costs and time. Following DFMEA processes can also result in the development of a more robust design. For example, if a particular component doesn’t have a particular function, it shouldn’t be a part of the entire design.


The People Involved in DFMEA

A DFMEA team features four to six members who are familiar with and understand the design fully, along with the requirements and manufacturability considerations. A design engineer usually leads this team, and the team members must trust each other to provide honest feedback. Different departments are involved in this process, including production, logistics, and service.


When Should DFMEA Be Used?

DFMEA should be used as early as possible in the product development cycle, ideally during or before the concept stage. This is because it’s much easier and less expensive to make changes to the design at this stage, as opposed to later on when the product is completed.


How to Perform an Effective DFMEA: The Steps Involved

There are ten main steps involved in performing an effective DFMEA:


Step 1: List Each System with its Corresponding Function

One of the simplest ways to start a DFMEA is to list each system, its function, and any other design requirements. This step will help ensure that the team is on the same page and has a common understanding of the product.


Step 2: Determine How Each Function Can Fail

The next step is to identify the potential failure modes of each system. A failure mode is a state of a design where it doesn’t meet its intended function. This step will help the team identify potential design improvement areas. Make sure to be as specific as possible when documenting the failure modes.


Step 3: Identify the Implications of Each Failure Mode

After the failure modes have been identified, it’s important to understand the potential effects of each one. These effects can be classified into three categories: safety, performance, and function.


Step 4: Input a Severity Rating to Each Effect

Once the effects have been classified, the team can assign a severity rating to each. This rating should be based on how significant the effect is and how likely it is to occur. In addition, the team should consider the customer’s perspective when determining the severity rating.


Step 5: Determine the Cause of Each Failure Mode

The next step is to identify the root cause of each failure mode. This will help the team understand why the failure mode exists and what can be done to prevent it. For example, if a particular component frequently fails, the root cause could be a design flaw.


Step 6: Develop Potential Countermeasures for Each Cause

After the root cause has been determined, the team can then develop potential countermeasures to prevent it from happening. These countermeasures should be aimed at eliminating or reducing the risk of the failure mode. DFMEA prevention controls are measures taken to reduce the risk of a failure mode.


Step 7: Determine the Detection Rating for Each Countermeasure

The team should also determine the detection rating for each countermeasure. This rating should be based on the likelihood that the countermeasure will detect the failure mode. The higher the rating, the more effective the countermeasure will be.


Step 8: Assign a Risk Priority Number to Each Failure Mode

After the severity, cause, and detection ratings have been determined, the team can assign a risk priority number (RPN) to each failure mode. The RPN is calculated by multiplying the three ratings together. The higher the RPN, the more likely the failure mode will occur and should be addressed.


Step 9: Identify Potential Actions to Reduce the Risk Priority Number

Once the RPN has been calculated, the team can identify potential actions to reduce the risk. These actions should reduce the failure mode’s severity, cause, or detection rating. For example, if the root cause of a failure mode is a design flaw, then the team can take action to improve the design.


Step 10: Implement the Actions and Monitor the Results

The final step is to implement the actions and monitor the results. This will help the team see if the actions effectively reduce the risk of failure mode. In addition, it will allow the team to identify any new or additional failure modes that may have arisen.


Use DATAMYTE for an Effective DFMEA

Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis can sound like a daunting and complicated task to follow. However, with DATAMYTE, you’ll easily incorporate this process into your quality control system. DATAMYTE offers workflow automation software to help you effectively perform DFMEA on your products. In addition, the software offers a variety of features that will make your life easier, such as:

  • The ability to create workflows for different types of products
  • The ability to track and monitor the progress of each product
  • The ability to create checklists and other smart forms for each product
  • The ability to generate reports on the results of each DFMEA analysis


With DATAMYTE, you’ll be able to quickly and easily perform DFMEA on your products. So get started today and see the difference DATAMYTE can make in your product quality control.



DFMEA is a powerful tool that can help teams to identify and prevent potential design failures. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively use DFMEA to improve the quality of your products and avoid liability from design failures.



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