Electric Ship Research &
Development Consortium

Preliminary FMEA for the MVDC Shipboard Power System Distribution Architecture

This short report provides an overview of the failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) studies undertaken to date for the MVDC shipboard power system (SPS) architecture. It is intended to highlight the approach, benefits and initial outcomes with respect to research approaches. The important benefits of the preliminary functional-FMEA (F-FMEA) to date are as follows:

  • Indication of relative vulnerability of certain sections, components and subsystems to focus studies on their respective faults and failures
  • An understanding of the need for detailed hardware information which would eventually lead to a more exhaustive hardware FMEA (H-FMEA). This would help to enhance the detail of the overall analysis
  • Help focus diagnostic efforts to manage identified risks using well established AI techniques or the need to develop novel ones
  • Aid efforts to enhance decision support by tapping into the data-rich FMEA resources.

The emphasis is laid on a F-FMEA which serves as the most appropriate method to start analysing failure cause and effects in a novel system such as the zonal shipboard power distribution architecture studied. The F-FMEA will be shown in a tabular format in the report.

To summarise, the contents of this preliminary report are:

  • Introduction to the relevance and need to utilize FMEA as a starting point in this research
  • Example of a fundamental F-FMEA conducted on the MVDC system
  • Potential uses of FMEA data for benefiting future research

This report explains the F-FMEA process applied to a notional MVDC ship system model already available on the Real-Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) at CAPS. The relevant outputs are highlighted along with future directions for this particular research. Observing the merits of beginning at a more superficial F-FMEA are evident, mainly in the fact that the current research is centered around modeled representative systems with more generic than specific hardware information. F-FMEA is a logical start to understanding system and subsystem level risks and studying ways to mitigate their effects with accurate diagnostics.

Even though an F-FMEA is relatively less exhaustive than an H-FMEA, its outcomes form the driving force behind further research and eventually aid H-FMEA by narrowing down critical sections and devices. This in turn aids focusing and informing further research. While applying FMEA to a relatively detailed point design such as the notional MVDC ship system model represented on the RTDS explored and demonstrated the approach it will be of particular importance to incorporate FMEA into the ESRDC’s early stage design environment S3D as soon as possible.

Publication Date

  • N/A


  • D. Cartes
  • R. Soman
  • T. Vu



@article{esrdc1148, author = "D. Cartes, R. Soman, T. Vu", title = "Preliminary FMEA for the MVDC Shipboard Power System Distribution Architecture ", journal = "ESRDC Website, www.esrdc.com" }
D. Cartes; R. Soman; T. Vu. Preliminary FMEA for the MVDC Shipboard Power System Distribution Architecture .