Failure analysis can be a critical part of manufacturing and production.  Product failure can result in lost clients, or lost sales.  A failed part can result in extensive down time, which boosts manufacturing cost.  Worst of all, product or part failure can injure someone.  All of these results add to the urgency of determining why the product or part failed, and whether future failures are likely, or preventable.  Sometimes the prevention can be implemented by changing instructions for use, by different drawings, or training.  Sometimes the only way to prevent future failures are to make changes in the product or part.  Knowing the cause of the failure can help you make better business decisions moving forward.

NSL Analytical Services offers a series of Tech Talk webinars that cover different materials testing topics such as the “Relevance of Particle Surface Area in Additive Manufacturing”, by Dave van der Wiel, and more recently, “Metallurgical Failure Analysis” Part 1, by Dave Kovarik.  The webinars in this series are engaging and informative, whether you are interested in how a testing service approaches tests analysis, or how a manufacturer can achieve better data. 

In the recent Metallurgical Failure analysis Part 1 webinar, Kovarik takes you through a series of steps and questions that can lead to better information from your materials testing service. 

If you are the person who might get the call when a part or product fails, Dave Kovarik insists, one of the most important things to remember is that you should NOT throw out an answer.  It might be instinctive, but you will be likely to regret that reaction.  Instead, he advises, ask questions that will later help you and your materials testing team to determine the root cause of failure.  In effect, use the call to get as much background information as you can get. 

By watching the Metallurgical Failure Analysis webinar, you can learn in detail, which questions can be most effective at obtaining information regarding the failure.  For instance, some of the things you need to determine, is whether the part or product was used…or abused.  Is the failure a regular occurrence or was this a unique event? 

After the call notifying your firm of the failure, Mr. Kovarik outlines steps to take when a part is failing, or has failed.  The first step will be to quarantine the part or parts, to keep it available for study.  In any ongoing manufacturing operation, there will certainly be pressure to restart as soon as possible.  There will also be a myriad of ideas on how to make a quick fix, some of which could actually cause more damage.  RESIST the hit or miss approach.  To avoid future failures, and more lost money, whether through production costs or lost sales and customer trust, it is important to know not only why the part failed, but whether future failure can be prevented.

And now it is “Decision Time” for your firm.  Any time that a production is halted, losses mount. 

  • The business has to make its own cost/risk analysis whether it is worth it to find the cause of failure, or to replace and restart.
  • Can the problem be solved in-house with on-hand resources?
  • Do you have the time to solve the issue?
  • Do you have the expertise to solve the issue?
  • Do you need an independent testing service such as NSL Analytical Services to get to the root of the failure accurately and objectively?

The webinar goes on to walk you through the failure analysis in detail, but you can view the Metallurgical Failure Analysis firsthand.   Tech Talk webinars are free of charge, offered every other week, and you can register at https://www.nslanalytical.com/webinars.  Past recordings of webinars are still offered so you can catch up on the subjects that interest you.