Failure Analysis and Troubleshooting

Ronald J. Parrington, P.E., FASM
Senior Managing Consultant & Director of Industrial Services
rjparrington@engsys.com
(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

Name

 

Title

 

Email

 

Location(s)

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

Texas (Dallas)

Bigelow, Clifford C., P.E., CFEI   Senior Consultant & Manager of Missouri Operations   cbigelow@engsys.com  

Missouri

Cline, Keith G., P.E.   Senior Consultant & Manager of Washington Operations   kgcline@engsys.com  

Washington

Fitz, Michael M., P.E., CFEI, CFII, CFPS   Senior Managing Consultant   mmfitz@engsys.com  

Washington

Iwand, Hans C., P.E.   Principal   hciwand@engsys.com  

Nebraska

Josten, Paul J.   Senior Technologist   pjjosten@engsys.com  

Washington

Mann, Dale C.   Senior Managing Consultant   dcmann@engsys.com  

Washington

Marsh, Laban M.   Staff Consultant   lmmarsh@engsys.com  

Texas (Houston)

McDougall, Jeffrey, P.E.   Senior Consultant & Manager of Georgia Operations   jlmcdougall@engsys.com  

Georgia

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

Illinois

Rogers, Joshua C.   Staff Consultant   jcrogers@engsys.com  

North Carolina

Schoenecker, Michael V., CVFI, CFEI   Senior Technologist   mvschoenecker@engsys.com  

Washington

Smith, Casey   Senior Technologist   cmsmith@engsys.com  

Texas (Dallas)

Stegemann, Jacob A.   Associate Consultant   jastegemann@engsys.com  

Michigan

Wright, Ellen E., Ph.D.   Staff Consultant   eewright@engsys.com  

Illinois