An Introduction to Failure Analysis:

"Why Metal Components Fail And
How To Organize a Failure Investigation"




Quite often, a component failure seems so complex and difficult to understand that no effort is made to determine the cause.  In this introductory level, two-day course designed for non metallurgists, participants will learn fundamentals of failure investigation and analysis principles, methods and terms, that will give them an understanding and appreciation of the importance of failure investigation, as well as the benefits and value of finding the root cause when a component failure does occur.





Examples of failure analysis are everywhere.   Failure analysis examples can be seen almost everywhere -- whether it is a minor maintenance failure or a disaster of national significance. Can you imagine pro football teams not using videotapes to improve their performance? Baseball players or golfers not analyzing their swing? Or a manufacturer not trying to improve its product? Of course not.



Need to maximize return on investment.  In today's increasingly competitive global environment, the need to maximize return on investment has never been greater. Minimizing downtime, optimizing and extending working life, ensuring rigorous compliance with ever more stringent regulations, and retaining market share through increased customer satisfaction are critical weapons in the fight for greater profitability. A failure analysis program that includes both predictive failure analysis and strategies to control failure rates can be a vital tool in achieving those goals.



A trail of clues.   Every failure leaves clues as to why it happened. Maintenance statistics indicate that in more than ninety percent of cases, a trained person can use basic failure analysis techniques to diagnose the mechanical and chemical causes behind a failure, without having to enlist outside sources or expensive analytical tools such as electron microscopes.



The Critical First Step.   For those who have little or no prior knowledge of the principles of metallurgical failures, the field of failure analysis is so vast that it encompasses all of metal and metalworking technology, making the many complex technical concepts seem overwhelming. However, failure analysis is the critical first step in identifying a problem that has occurred in a metal component of a mechanism or structure.



Reduce maintenance costs and increase production.   Knowing how a failure happened, the investigator can pursue the root source that caused the failure and take appropriate steps to prevent future reoccurrences. Combining effective failure analysis with a good predictive maintenance program can result in huge benefits. Depending on the facility, it can reduce maintenance costs by 20% to 30%, and increase production by similar percentages.



The Cost/Value Equation.   The failure of an item to meet defined user functions or performance requirements can bring about disastrous and costly results. A major challenge in preventing such failures, however, can be that of winning approval to perform the analysis, which has to do with what people perceive as important to them. If a maintenance manager doesn't understand the value of taking samples to analyze them, the samples aren't going to be prepared. If an operations superintendent doesn't appreciate how a failure impacts production, or management isn't convinced the results will yield more and better product in a safe manner and for less expense, funding isn't going to be approved.




Failure Prevention Through Education.   An understanding and appreciation of the fundamentals of failure analysis, its value and major benefits by designers, technical, operating, support staff and management can be a key ingredient in a successful failure investigation and analysis.

Designed for those who may not have prior knowledge of metallurgical principles and failures, the course presents many complex technical concepts of this fascinating subject in relatively simple terms.

Basic principles are explained, using examples of common metals, primarily ferrous. Participants will join in discussions guided by course instructors, Dr. Jacob Stiglich and Dr. T. S. Sudarshan, who will encourage questions and comments at all times. There will also be opportunities to exchange ideas with the instructors and other participants during breaks, lunch, and after class adjourns.

With an interactive format and dynamic instructors with many years industrial experience, participants will find "Introduction to Failure Analysis: Understanding How Metal Components Fail" a practical, highly beneficial, and thoroughly enjoyable interactive learning experience.



Course Documentation and Key Topics.   The loose-leaf bound, indexed Course Workbook fully documents the course, and contains all of the illustrations, pictures, charts and diagrams used, making the need for note taking minimal, and also serving as a valuable future reference source. Topical highlights of this important Course are listed below:

  • What is a Failure and the Reasons They Happen
  • Overview of Failure Mechanisms
  • Importance of Finding the Root Cause
  • Benefits of a Failure Investigation
  • Organizing a Failure Investigation
  • Objectives of a Failure Analysis
  • Steps in Failure Investigation
  • Stages of a Failure Analysis
  • Practical Issues in Failure Analysis
  • Real World Failures: Typical Case Histories
  • Course Summary/Group Discussion

Other AMA Courses.   Designed for non metallurgists, the AMA Professional Course Series takes the mystery out of metallurgy and advanced materials. Guaranteed to sharpen skills and techniques, they are designed to help your employees achieve a higher level of performance, faster. Introductory level courses provide employees with focused application of skills on particular typical functional assignments. The more advanced, intensive course versions complement the core curriculum, with the focus on studying particular skill sets in greater depth. Other courses currently available include:



Custom tailored in-house training.   Manufacturers are being confronted with a plethora of challenges and opportunities that did not exist in times past. That is why those who are serious about success understand the cost savings, value and return on investment of a strong on site professional development/continuing education program. Whether your goal is to establish and build a training program or strengthen your company's existing professional development training, more profitably, Advanced Materials Associates can tailor a course program to your firm's specific needs and objectives.  Additional information about our corporate training program is available here.




To explore the ways in which our professional development courses can take your key employees beyond the scope of their own experience, and help them identify ways to improve and enhance productivity, please contact AMA CEO, Dr. Jacob Stiglich.

Return To Top Of Page