Detailed Risk Analysis for Failure Prevention in Conceptual Design: RED (Risk in Early Design) Based Probabilistic Risk Assessments


Avoiding product recalls and failures is a must for companies to remain successful in the consumer product industry. Large numbers of failed products result in significant profit losses do to repair or replacement costs as well as untraceable costs of reputation damage among customer bases. Probalistic risk assessment (PRA) is key to preventing product failures. When risks are adequately identified and assessed the potential product failures can be mitigated and save lives as well as company profit. Risk mitigation is more effective the earlier it can be applied in the design process; therefore, the identification and assessment of risk through PRA techniques is the most beneficial to the company when employed early in the design process. This paper presents new techniques for performing four common PRAs preliminary hazards analysis PHA, failure mode and effect analysis FMEA, fault tree analysis FTA, and event tree analysis ETA, during the conceptual phase of design, when products have yet to assume a physical form. The backbone for the application of these PRA techniques during the conceptual design phase is the RED method. RED genreates a listing of potential product risk based on historical faulure occurrences. These risks are catagorized by function, which enables this premlininary risk assessment to be preformed during conceptual design. A risk analysis is performed for a bicycle that demonstrates the powerful failure prevention ability of RED and PRA during conceotyual product design with a Consumer Product Safety Commission recall.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Recall Alerts; Recalling Products

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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