A modular FMEA is a modification of the standard Failure Mode and Effects Analysis tool into meaningful components. For example, we can select “stepper motor” as a component of a typical instrument cluster used in the dashboards of truck and autos. We would then create our FMEA to deal with all issues related specifically the stepper motor.
How would we expand our FMEA to include the entire instrument cluster? We do this by creating a more difficult version of the FMEA called the System FMEA or SFMEA. A system FMEA is really an analysis of failure modes related to the inputs and outputs of the component systems (subsystems) of the larger concept. By the time we get to the dashboard itself, we should have a hierarchy of component and systems level FMEAs that cover the entire product.
Why do the modular FMEA? A modular FMEA allows us to transfer selected modules to the next product, a product which may only use some of the modules. This approach increase our flexibility, allows the development of a library of existing modules, and eliminated reinventing the FMEA every time we develop a similar product. As the old saying goes: “Why reinvent the wheel?”