ATRONA ARTICLE SERIES
The ATRONA Article Series looks at innovative approaches and solutions to material testing and failure analysis.
THE 5-WHYS METHOD
ROOT CAUSE INVESTIGATION? WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!
When a product, machine or component fails; it's important to ask the right questions beyond what the immediate evidence of that failure or problem may indicate. One of the best approaches to this process was developed by Taiichi Ohno (pictured), the engineer and former Executive Vice President who pioneered Toyota Motor Company's production line in the 1950s. Ohno called his method The "5-Whys" and used the example of a welding robot stopping in the middle of its operation to demonstrate the usefulness of his "persistent enquiry" method to finally arrive at the root cause of the problem.
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SEM AND FAILURE ANALYSIS
WHAT CAN "SEM" REVEAL ABOUT METAL FAILURE?
Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) has emerged as an essential tool in metallurgical failure analysis. Using a beam of highly energetic electrons, SEM allows us to acquire live, high-resolution, micro scale, three-dimensional images of the surface of a failed metal part or component. Using these digital images with a magnification of up to 500,000x, we are able to study the fracture topography and morphological characteristics of the failed metal part or component to determine the failure mode and root cause.
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