CNC turning center is one of the significant CNC-assisted machine tools, widely used for different machining operations. The quality, reliability and maintainability of such CNC turning centers are critical for both the manufacturers and users. In this context, it is decided to carry out failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) of a typical CNC turning center manufactured and used in India. A FMEA framework is proposed for the analysis of the CNC turning center. The main objective of analysis was to identify critical failure modes and their effects on the components and sub-systems. This study uses the field failure data from more than 50 CNC turning centers and opinions from more than five industrial experts. CNCS, EES, XZAS, ChS, MT, HS, CS and SS are found to be the critical sub-systems of the CNC turning center.CNCS, HS, MT, EES, ChS, TS, XZAS and CS are the critical sub-systems from reliability and maintainability perspective. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020.