Clustering and visualization of failure modes using an evolving tree

Tay, Kai Meng and Wui, Lee Chang and Chee, Peng Lim (2015) Clustering and visualization of failure modes using an evolving tree. Expert Systems with Applications, 42 (20). ISSN 0957-4174


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Despite the popularity of Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) in a wide range of industries, two well-known shortcomings are the complexity of the FMEA worksheet and its intricacy of use. To the best of our knowledge, the use of computation techniques for solving the aforementioned shortcomings is limited. As such, the idea of clustering and visualization pertaining to the failure modes in FMEA is proposed in this paper. A neural network visualization model with an incremental learning feature, i.e., the evolving tree (ETree), is adopted to allow the failure modes in FMEA to be clustered and visualized as a tree structure. In addition, the ideas of risk interval and risk ordering for different groups of failure modes are proposed to allow the failure modes to be ordered, analyzed, and evaluated in groups. The main advantages of the proposed method lie in its ability to transform failure modes in a complex FMEA worksheet to a tree structure for better visualization, while maintaining the risk evaluation and ordering features. It can be applied to the conventional FMEA methodology without requiring additional information or data. A real world case study in the edible bird nest industry in Sarawak (Borneo Island) is used to evaluate the usefulness of the proposed method. The experiments show that the failure modes in FMEA can be effectively visualized through the tree structure. A discussion with FMEA users engaged in the case study indicates that such visualization is helpful in comprehending and analyzing the respective failure modes, as compared with those in an FMEA table. The resulting tree structure, together with risk interval and risk ordering, provides a quick and easily understandable framework to elucidate important information from complex FMEA forms; therefore facilitating the decision-making tasks by FMEA users. The significance of this study is twofold, viz., the use of a computational visualization approach to tackling two well-known shortcomings of FMEA; and the use of ETree as an effective neural network learning paradigm to facilitate FMEA implementations. These findings aim to spearhead the potential adoption of FMEA as a useful and usable risk evaluation and management tool by the wider community.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Clustering; Visualization; Failure Mode and Effect Analysis; Evolving tree; Edible bird nest industry; Euclidean similarity; Neural network, research, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, unimas, university, universiti, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, ipta, education
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Engineering
Faculties, Institutes, Centres > Faculty of Engineering
Depositing User: Meng
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2015 04:29
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2015 04:29

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