This paper describes a new technique, based on fuzzy logic, for prioritizing failures for corrective actions in a Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA). As in a traditional criticality analysis, the assessment is based on the severity, frequency of occurrence, and detectability of an item failure. However, these parameters are here represented as members of a fuzzy set, combined by matching them against rules in a rule base, evaluated with min-max inferencing, and then defuzzified to assess the riskiness of the failure. This approach resolves some of the problems in traditional methods of evaluation and it has several advantages compared to strictly numerical methods: 1) it allows the analyst to evaluate the risk associated with item failure modes directly using the linguistic terms that are employed in making the criticality assessment; 2) ambiguous, qualitative, or imprecise information, as well as quantitative data, can be used in the assessment and they are handled in a consistent manner; and 3) it gives a more flexible structure for combining the severity, occurrence, and detectability parameters.Two fuzzy logic based approaches for assessing criticality are presented. The first is based on the numerical rankings used in a conventional Risk Priority Number (RPN) calculation and uses crisp inputs gathered from the user or extracted from a reliability analysis. The second, which can be used early in the design process when less detailed information is available, allows fuzzy inputs and also illustrates the direct use of the linguistic rankings defined for the RPN calculations.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.