The systematic process of collecting and analyzing data in order to find the root cause of failures is called Failure analysis.
In other words, failure analysis is the effective method to identify and implement corrective actions in timely manner without which repeating the same mistake that can lead to catastrophic failure would be likely. The aim of failure analysis is to take immediate actions to find the root cause of any materials engineering failure and design and implement the corrective actions by minimizing the interruptions of the operations.
Accurate failure mode characterisation and identification of the contributing factors is essential in overall root cause identification and design of a robust solution. This is of high importance to be able to prevent problems that can result in costly consequences while ensuring the compliance to the health and safety and environment legal requirements. Such understanding may be required also during the fabrication phase, to ensure compliance with applicable codes and standards.
How is it done?
Failure of engineering components in service can be due to several possibilities and accurate identification of the root cause requires experienced experts as well as analytical equipment. To carry out the inspection, a team of engineers from related background of material, application and service conditions investigate the case, identify the cause and recommend appropriate steps to minimise the risk of a reoccurrence.
The failure analysis process often involves:
- Interpretation of the failure location and service data, including on-site review
- Examination of the parts to determine the failure mechanism(s)
- Engineering root cause, including design, fabrication, transportation, installation and service
- Simulation of the service conditions to establish critical parameters at which failure will occur
- Definition of safe conditions for remaining intact components
- Establishment of a non-destructive evaluation strategy for remaining components
- Remedial advice for the avoidance of further failures, including design and fabrication reviews for replacement components and mitigation strategies for existing components.
As and when required, this process is supported by the application of related testing and analysis systems:
- Bespoke or standard mechanical testing
- Corrosion or aggressive environment testing
- Chemical analysis, including hydrogen measurement
- Non-destructive testing
- Advanced scanning electron microscopy
Benefits of Failure Investigation
Improved products and services
Whether building a new component or enhancing it, the failure analysis can help improving the end result of the new versions. Optimizing the budget and meeting the project deadlines is another factor that can be achieved as the consequence of properly implemented failure analysis.
Failure analysis identifies the components or conditions that are causing problems or vulnerabilities in the structure which could go unnoticed. This information is helpful in preventing failure in future projects.
Planning Future Projects
Failure analysis is the prefect method to predict required actions, plan the procedures and necessary resources for getting the desired outcome. Proper planning before committing time and other resources to the engineering projects is crucial for efficiency and success.
Failure investigation services by TWI
Throughout the past 6 decades, TWI has conducted thousands of failure investigations for some of the world’s largest industrial companies. Our expert engineers in Southeast Asia have undertaken numerous fabrication problem solving projects and on-site failure investigations across different industry sectors including pipelines and process equipment, with particular expertise in fracture, fatigue, corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement of welds, joints and coatings.
Our engineering failure analysis consultants can help with the design, development, qualification and implementation of effective safety cases and repairs, including on-site support to ensure that you can return your products or assets to safe, efficient operation as quickly as possible. Combining the expertise of our specialist engineering experts with the access to the cutting edge technology and our state of the art facilities, TWI is able to provide the right information to its customer at the right time.
If you are interested in our Failure Investigation services, get in touch with us for an appointment to discuss about your options.