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What is Failure Analysis and Investigation?


Failure analysis is when an investigation takes place to determine the cause of failure, usually with the aim of taking corrective action to fix the problem and mitigate against further failures. Failure analysis is undertaken across all branches of manufacturing industry to prevent future asset and product fails as well as protecting against potentially dangerous risks to people and the environment. Failure analysis covers arange of industrial assets, such as pressure vessels for example, and investigates different failure modes, such as fracture surfaces or manufacturing-based issues.  

Reasons to Perform Failure Analysis Testing

The failure analysis process provides a number of benefits including financial, legal and safety related outcomes:

Understand Root Cause of Failure

Understanding the root cause is often the fundamental part of the failure analysis process. This root cause analysis involves data collection to ascertain whether failure occurred due to manufacturing or material defect or misuse.

Prevent Asset or Product Failures

Once the cause of failure has been determined corrective actions can be taken to prevent a recurrence of the problem.

Improve Future Products and Processes

Manufacturing processes and product designs can be improved due to an understanding of the failure mode, not only to prevent the problem from happening again but also to prevent costly legal action or replacements as well as protecting a company's reputation.

Prevent Financial Losses and Penalties from Failed Components

Failure can be costly, whether due to expensive outages, a stopping of production, or even legal action as a result. Undertaking failure analysis can prevent these problems from growing or potential failures from happening in the future. 

Meet Standards for Products and Assets

Failure mode and effects analysis can help to meet standards for manufacturing processes, failed components, products, or assets going forward.

Determine Liability for Failure

A failure analysis will not only determine the root cause leading to failure, but may also assign liability for the failure. This can be used in legal proceedings to not only apportion blame but also protect yourself from litigation.

Failure Analysis Methods and Services

TWI offers a variety of failure analysis services including techniques such as visual inspection, chemical analysisfailure mode effects analysis (FMEA)wear of surfaces and functional componentscoating characterisationmicroscopyon-site metallographynon-destructive (NDT / NDE) and destructive testing. These services allow for failure investigation to determine the cause of the fault, repair procedure development to fix the problem and prevent any recurrence, and independent and impartial dispute and litigation support.


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