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Failure Analysis

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Sturbridge Metallurgical Services has over two decades of experience with failure analysis investigations in the Aerospace, Automotive, Medical, and Firearms industries. Our root cause analyses provide detailed conclusions and expert recommendations for corrective action. In addition we offer our own facility for failure & litigation conferences.

We take a methodical and detailed approach when it comes to our failure analysis investigation and work to the ASTM and/or customer specifications where applicable.

  1. Review & Discussion
    The project starts with gathering information from the client (verbally, documentation and parts/components) to allow SMS the opportunity to gain as complete of an understanding as possible of the failure and any potential contributing factors that we may need to take into consideration.

    Things we need or typically ask for include: 
        
    -Photos/Images of the failed parts vs acceptable parts
    -Part prints/drawings
    -Any service history information
    -What were the operating conditions? 
    -How long was the failed part in service?
    -How many failures of this part have you seen?
    -How many units produced/manufactured?
    -Is this an internal investigation, or are other parties involved? Corporate, insurance, lawyers or otherwise?

  2. Cataloging / Documenting
    Upon receipt of sufficient background information, we will devise a plan of action for the analysis. Once materials are received for analysis, we identify, photograph and catalog all components that are submitted for analysis. The project receives a job number and each component to be analyzed receives a sample identifier.

  3. Sample Preparation
    Samples are taken and prepared as necessary for testing, which may include cleaning, cross sectioning, hot or cold mounting, polishing, etching, etc.

  4. Analyses
    After samples are mounted and prepared accordingly they are analyzed using any number of test procedures that may be applicable to any given failure. We will run any and all tests that will give us further insight into the potential cause of failure. The data obtained is logged and compiled to get a better understanding of the big picture. 

  5. Reporting
    After all of the data is collected a detailed report is created noting the reasons the client came to SMS, the methodology used to gather all results, any data and images that support the findings and our conclusions and/or recommendations.