Failure Analysis and Troubleshooting

Ronald J. Parrington, P.E., FASM
Senior Managing Consultant & Director of Industrial Services
(630) 851-4566

Engineering Systems Inc. (ESI) is a leader in failure analysis.  Our multi-disciplined team includes more than 100 engineers, scientists and technologists across the nation.  ESI has the expertise and the laboratory equipment to perform failure analysis of metals, plastics, elastomers, composites and more.  ESI's laboratories are well equipped to perform the visual and microscopic examinations, nondestructive inspection, chemical analysis, mechanical testing, environmental testing, stress analysis, modeling, and simulations required to execute a thorough failure analysis.  Whether the failure is corrosion, wear, distortion, or a fracture, ESI can identify the failure mechanism and determine whether the cause of failure is due to improper design, manufacturing issues, service conditions, or a material problem.  Examples of failures include:

  • Ductile and brittle fractures
  • Fatigue
  • Corrosion
  • Stress corrosion cracking of metals
  • Environmental stress cracking of plastics
  • Hydrogen embrittlement
  • Wear
  • Processing problems
  • Contamination
  • Discoloration

ESI's knowledgeable team of experts is experienced with industrial equipment, aerospace, automotive, railroad, medical device, power generation, oil and gas, refineries, nuclear energy, munitions, and consumer products.  They will go beyond testing and analysis to understand the entire system so that they can provide expert guidance on how to improve products and/or prevent failures.  Examples of failure analysis and process troubleshooting include:

  • The manufacturer of a heavy lifting device used for steel coils experienced multiple failures that rendered the equipment unsafe.  ESI identified fatigue cracking of weldments in the lifting device and recommended mechanical and weld design changes to prevent future failures.
  • Plastic gears in high-speed blenders/juicers failed prematurely in product qualification tests.  ESI's polymer and mechanical engineering experts worked closely with the client's product development team to identify the causative misalignment problem and to provide design solutions to eliminate heat buildup and thereby, successfully utilize plastic gears in the drivetrain.
  • A medical device manufacturer was having difficulty with the seizing of a cervical spine screw. A computed tomography (CT) scan was performed on the device in both a seized and unseized position. It was determined that a bearing was being restrained in a crevice within the screw, causing the problem. With this information, the manufacturer was able to improve their design to obtain a properly functioning device.
  • Two large steam turbines used in the production of ethanol failed.  ESI's metallurgists were able to determine that fatigue fractures initiated in a region of intergranular stress corrosion cracking due to weld-induced sensitization in the heat affected zone of the ferritic stainless steel compressor blades.
  • Railroad cars used to transport coal experienced corrosion and cracking damage.  ESI identified the cause of corrosion and completed a remaining life assessment of the car bodies.

Professionals in This Area








Baron, Richard P., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant & Manager of Dallas Operations  

Texas (Dallas)

Bigelow, Clifford C., P.E., CFEI   Senior Consultant & Manager of Missouri Operations  


Cline, Keith G., P.E.   Senior Consultant & Manager of Washington Operations  


Fitz, Michael M., P.E., CFEI, CFII, CFPS   Senior Managing Consultant  


Iwand, Hans C., P.E.   Principal  


Josten, Paul J.   Senior Technologist  


Mann, Dale C.   Senior Managing Consultant  


Marsh, Laban M.   Staff Consultant  

Texas (Houston)

McDougall, Jeffrey, P.E.   Senior Consultant & Manager of Georgia Operations  


Parrington, Ronald J., P.E., FASM   Senior Managing Consultant & Director of Industrial Services  


Rogers, Joshua C.   Staff Consultant  

North Carolina

Schoenecker, Michael V., CVFI, CFEI   Senior Technologist  


Smith, Casey   Senior Technologist  

Texas (Dallas)

Stegemann, Jacob A.   Associate Consultant  


Wright, Ellen E., Ph.D.   Staff Consultant