ATRONA ARTICLE SERIES
The ATRONA Article Series looks at innovative approaches, capabilities 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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POLYMERS IN MANUFACTURING
POLYMERIC MATERIALS AND 21ST CENTURY MANUFACTURING
Advances in polymeric materials, high performance thermoplastics, additives and resins are fueling growth in the use of plastics in manufacturing. In fact, according to a 2015 study by Grand Research, Inc., the global plastics market is expected to reach $654.38 billion by 2020. Much of this growth will be driven by major end-use industries, such as packaging, construction, automotive and other engineered parts.
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THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHARPY V-NOTCH TEST
The impact-pendulum test method and associated equipment in nearly its current form was first developed more than a century ago. And while the basic concept behind this testing method is generally credited to two different engineers, S. B. Russell (1898) and G. Charpy in (1901); the test is now known by only the latter's name. The reason for this is due in large part to Georges Augustin Albert Charpy's technical contributions in the first half of the 20th century. These efforts included writing testing procedures in the use of a pendulum to apply an impact force to a specimen and measure the amount of energy absorbed during its fracture.
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THE EARLIEST FORM OF MATERIAL TESTING?
Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) may be the earliest form of material testing. In fact, as early as Roman times, oil and flour were used to detect fine cracks in marble slabs. Over a thousand years later, a similar practice, called the "Oil and Whiting Method," was employed to identify defects in train wheels. Both of these methods are considered forerunners of today's Liquid Penetrant Inspection (LPI).
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