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The primary benefit of fault tree analysis (FTA) is the analysis provides a unique insight into the operation and potential failure of a system.

This allows development teams to explore ways to eliminate or minimize the occurrence of product failure. By exploring the ways a failure mode can occur by exploring the individual failure causes and mechanisms, the changes impact the root cause of the potential failures.

With every product, there are numerous ways it can fail. Some more likely and possible than others. The fault tree analysis permits a team to think through and organize the sequences or patterns of faults that have to occur to cause a specific top level fault.

The top level fault may be a specific type of failure, say the car will not start. Or it may be focused on a serious safety related failure, such as the starter motor overheats starting a fire.

A complex system may have numerous FTAs that each explore a different failure mode.

Specific benefits for organizations from using fault tree analysis include creating a graphical aid for system analysis and management. Managers like graphics, and for complex system, FTA helps to focus the team on critical elements.

Fault tree analysis also provides an alternative way to analyze the system. FMEA, RBD and other tools permit a way to explore system reliability, FTA provide a tool that focuses on failure modes one at a time. Sometimes a shift in the frame of reference illuminates new and important elements of the system.

Additionally, fault tree analysis exposes system behavior and possible interactions as well as accounts for human error.

 FTA allows the examination of the many ways a fault may occur and may expose non-obvious paths to failure that other analysis approaches miss.

FTA also includes hardware, software, and human factors in the analysis as needed. The FTA approach includes the full range of causes for a failure.

In general, fault tree analysis helps prevent future failures and identify critical areas of concern for new workflows, products, and services. That is why various industries use FTA as a method for safety analysis and risk mitigation like:

  • Aerospace, aeronautical, and defense operations
  • Power generation and system safety 
  • Cybersecurity system analysis 
  • Specialty chemical manufacturing
  • Healthcare and pharmaceuticals
  • Environmental study and disaster management

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Fault Tree Analysis Training, a 2-day course that teaches participants how fault tree analysis (FTA) is used in system engineering and analysis practices such as reliability, maintainability and safety. 

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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