You might have heard salespersons claiming a product to be, ‘unbreakable’, ‘bulletproof’, ‘long-lasting’ and many such other claims as well. Ask mechanical experts or engineers. They surely laugh at such claims. Nothing is made to last forever. Extreme force, load cycling or severe weather conditions can damage anything strongest. Just think and imagine what happened with Titanic.
So, when there is a mechanical failure or any other sort of problem with a product, then who has to be blamed? The manufacturer, designer, supplier, salesperson or user? You really cannot tell this before there is a thorough mechanical failure analysis is done.
What is failure analysis? This is a complete and detailed process that helps in determining the cause of failure of the product. In any kind of instance of mechanical failure, damage or malfunction, the mechanical engineers make use of scientific techniques, procedures and methods to find out the cause and reason of that damage.
The expert team of mechanical engineers is skillful enough to analyze any kind of damaged or malfunctioned device by applying scientific set of rules and can find out the conditions in which it got damaged or malfunctioned.
Let’s talk about the reasons due to which mechanical engineers need to carry out failure analysis.
- To find out the root cause:
It is very important to find out the root cause of the product’s damage or malfunction. The process can help in finding out whether it was a design flaw that the product failed, misuse of the product, defected material usage or the useful life of that product was over due to which the product failed to function. The failure analysis cannot be completed without finding the root cause of product failure.
Close inspection of the product, checking the damaged or fractured surfaces and looking closely at the environment in which it was used, an experienced and professional mechanical failure analysis expert can collect observations and evidences to reach to the conclusion that would tell the root cause of the failure.
Usually, the mechanical expert make use of a technique called visual inspection microscopy and many other tests including hardness and tensile testing, chemical analysis and many other tests to reach to the conclusion. Sometimes, analysts also recreate the event and condition of failure in fully controlled environment.
- Prevention of similar kind of product failures:
Once the evidences of failure’s cause are collected, then the experts are in better position to design a correction plan that would help in preventing the same kind of fault with that product in the future. Following is the list of some of the root causes and some workable and practical corrective moves.
- Inappropriate design became the cause of failure→ revisiting the in service produces and loads and modifications and changes in the overall design structure.
- Failure caused due to manufacturing default→ revisiting manufacturing process.
- Failure caused by material defect→ implementation of quality check process of raw materials.
- Failure caused by product’s misuse→ start educating the users for correct product usage.