5 Tips to Look for When Qualifying a Failure Analysis Lab - Powerlabs

5 Tips to Look for When Qualifying a Failure Analysis Lab

June 17, 2022


Failure analysis is vital process for ensuring the safety of company personnel while also attributing to the success of daily operations. When it comes to any quality driven industry such as pharmaceuticals, aerospace, nuclear, and manufacturing, it is crucial to identify and correct electrical or mechanical failures as early as possible. Identifying the root cause of the failure is necessary so that your team can make the right corrective action to help reduce the risk of failure from occurring again.

Investing in a top-rated failure analysis lab can help set your team up for success by identifying the true root cause of the failure and provide valuable corrective action recommendations.

Here are top 5 tips to look for when you are qualifying a failure analysis lab to perform your failure analysis investigation.

1. The Laboratory’s Experience in Failure Analysis

Failure analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing the causes of electrical and mechanical failures. Laboratories with experience in this field can often provide insight that not only identify the reason behind the failure, but also provide the right corrective action recommendations to prevent future failures from occurring. These actions can consist of improving preventative maintenance practices, possible design changes that need to be made with the manufacturer, revise proper training techniques and more.

Failure analysis typically involves gathering information about the failure, learning how the failure was first identified and then analyzing the component to come up with a true root cause.

When you work with a qualified failure analysis lab, they will first inspect the equipment for signs of wear and tear. For further analysis, laboratories may often rely on a variety of methods to identify the cause of a failure, including material analysis, dimensional analysis, and destructive testing. In order to ensure accuracy, laboratories often perform various types of testing and analysis in order to identify the true root cause of the failure.

Failure Analysis lab Tools

2. The Laboratory’s Failure Analysis Equipment and Tools

Failure analysis labs often invest in high quality equipment and advanced tools to help more accurately pinpoint the cause of the failure. Before utilizing the equipment, failure analysis engineers will typically perform a visual inspection to capture all the necessary findings and document it. Once the initial inspection is complete, they will go on to use an array of equipment that is necessary to perform the failure analysis investigation.

Equipment that is often used for failure analysis can include:
• SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy)
• EDS or EDX (Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy)
• OES (Optical Emission Spectroscopy)
• FTIR (Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy)
• Wilson Rockwell Hardness Testing

3. Make Sure the Lab Provides a Detailed Failure Analysis Report

Not only is it important to find a competent failure analysis lab that is capable of performing your project, but it is critical to find a reputable company that can provide a thorough and detailed failure analysis report.

To get a better idea on the type of typical report a failure analysis lab would send to their clients, it might be a good idea to ask for a sample report. This can give you a better idea on the level of detail they can provide you.

4. Ensure the Lab has the Necessary Personnel to Perform a Proper Failure Analysis

Failure analysis is a critical step to enhancing company preventative maintenance practices, increasing safety, and improving equipment reliability. It allows for the identification and correction of component failures before they can cause further system failures or adversely affect onsite personnel.
Proper failure analysis requires a team with the necessary expertise to identify the true root cause of the failure and provide the right corrective recommendations. A failure analysis lab should have engineers with the technical background, years of experience, expertise, and deep understanding of component failures to bring valuable insight.

5. The Laboratory’s Understanding of Advanced Failure Modes

Failure analysis laboratories have a deep understanding of advanced failure modes, which allows them to identify failures and provide valuable corrective action recommendations that can help prevent future catastrophic failures.

If you work with an experienced failure analysis lab, they often have the failure rate data to help them better identify why a component failed before even looking at the part due to the nature of some of these instruments.

Work with an Experienced Failure Analysis Lab Today!

After reviewing our top 5 tips to look for when qualifying a lab to work on your next failure analysis project, we hope that you consider Constellation PowerLabs. We are a full-service laboratory that provides a wide scope of calibrations, testing and analysis.

While we have been established since 1911, we have been performing failure analysis for over 50+ years and have expanded into different industries catering to nuclear, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, automotive, software and more.

Throughout our experience, we’ve made it our mission to capture the failure rate data we’ve performed here in our labs and store that data into our online database called OneLab. With this data, we can more accurately trend this data on specific manufacturers and model numbers.

Explore the Failure Rate Data Available in OneLab

At Constellation PowerLabs, we provide our customers the opportunity to use that failure rate data in a more meaningful way. By subscribing PQI (Parts Quality Initiative), you can view all of the thousands of failure rate and trending data in our online database in OneLab. With this data, you can test parts that are highly susceptible to failure and send them in to be PQI tested which acts as a preventative maintenance program.

At Constellation PowerLabs, our PQI Program is all about identifying failures before it happens. As a national lab, we’ve seen thousands of equipment reliability issues that can adversely a site’s operations. That’s why we developed a program to help reduce those failures by testing high failure rate parts before inventory or installation.
Contact us today at Constellation PowerLabs to learn how we can help you with your failure analysis project and also provide insightful trending data so you can be more prepared in reducing failures and equipment reliability issues.

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