I have spent most of my career in the mechanical engineering technical area because that is what I do best. I was a manager of advanced engineering for many years, but then realized that it was not my calling.
When you are involved with a major failure and find yourself staring at pieces of debris scattered all over the area, it can be easy to become overwhelmed.
When I started working in industry 50 years ago, it was management’s job to have a senior engineer watch over my work. Much of the quality of my analytical work and technical discipline were formed early in my career with help from these engineers.
Gathering accurate data is essential for failure analysis and other types of research.
With proper safety, planning and implementation, pneumatic testing of piping and vessels has been performed successfully for many years.
As engineers and managers, we are often approached by parents or friends interested in a technical career for their children or others.
Most machines and pressure vessels are designed with safety in mind, but they can release large amounts of energy if not constructed, maintained or operated correctly.
Pressure vessels, piping and fabricated structures adhering to recognized welding codes rarely fail in static loading, unless they are damaged or severely overloaded.
Equipment of all types are designed for normal operating conditions, usually with some margin for unknowns.
While engineering consultants are available for a wide range of client requirements, such as developing or reviewing specifications for new equipment, this article is only concerned with analyzing equipment failures.