HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
REGISTER   |   LOGIN   |   HELP
Comments
View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Page 1/3  >  >>
Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Great practical advice
Beth Stackpole   4/26/2012 7:10:52 AM
NO RATINGS
I always enjoy your posts, Dave. They really take on a problem and put into real world context without any of the hype or confusion that can cloud the issues. This is a perfect example. Maybe not any "rocket science" takeaway here, but some real sound advice for engineers on the common traps most fall into when trying to come to the root cause of a part failure or better yet, avoiding failure to start with.

 

GlennA
User Rank
Gold
troubleshooting
GlennA   4/26/2012 9:07:35 AM
NO RATINGS
Although I haven't been involved in formal failure analysis, I have often been called to troubleshoot problems.  Often the most senior person involved 'declared' what the root cause was.  After I finished my troubleshooting, I had often proven that the 'expert' was wrong.  Seniority doesn't automatically mean that you know all of the intricacies.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Kitchen Sink
TJ McDermott   4/26/2012 10:26:12 AM
NO RATINGS
When the downtime costs thousands of dollars per minute, throwing the kitchen sink at a failure is sometimes the only way.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Great practical advice
Ann R. Thryft   4/26/2012 1:53:53 PM
NO RATINGS

I agree with Beth. Dave, thanks for such a clear overview. The principles you discuss here seem simple and obvious in hindsight, yet somehow can be easily forgotten even by well educated and well trained pros. They parallel\ some of the basic electrical system troubleshooting principles I learned from one of my engineer buddies years ago, which I apply mostly to my multi-component stereo system.


Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Great practical advice
Dave Palmer   4/26/2012 3:29:22 PM
NO RATINGS
@Beth: Thanks for your kind comments.  You're right that none of this is rocket science; it's just rational thinking.  However, when parts break, people understandably get upset.  Emotions can run high, and there may be a tremendous amount of pressure.  As Ann points out, under these conditions, even intelligent and highly educated individuals may start to behave irrationally.  The most important thing is to stay calm and focused -- especially when others aren't.

@GlennA: Experts, in particular, are susceptible to the temptation to jump to conclusions.  The more experience you have, the more likely it is that a given problem resembles one you have encountered before.  But that doesn't necessarily mean it's the same problem! Sometimes experience can be just as blinding as ignorance.

@TJ McDermott: You're right that sometimes time constraints can force you into a "kitchen sink" response.  However, in these cases, it may be a good idea to continue investigating even after the "kitchen sink" solution has been implemented in order to determine the real root cause.  Who knows? Maybe you can make yourself look like a hero for a second time by coming up with a cost savings when you realize that 2/3 of the kitchen sink solution was unnecessary.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Also applies to Failure Analysis in Electronics
Nancy Golden   4/26/2012 7:12:31 PM
NO RATINGS
These principles also hold true for failure analysis in electronics. I worked for a semiconductor company for years as a product and test engineer and recognize most of these scenarios as having happened at one time or another. One of the most interesting places in a semiconductor plant is the F.A. lab which is usually where customer returns are evaluated. And of course when parts started failing on the production line, the first place everyone tries to blame is the test set - it never occurs to them that their process might have shifted...

AaronMoore
User Rank
Iron
Re: Also applies to Failure Analysis in Electronics
AaronMoore   4/27/2012 2:12:04 AM
NO RATINGS
I am so glad after read this article. I am an Engineer and faced this problem many time and this article really helps me to solve my mistakes. Everyone should read this blog.

free turbotax

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Great practical advice
Beth Stackpole   4/27/2012 7:08:06 AM
NO RATINGS
Dave: No doubt this could be a case of finger pointing at its finest. I think the points you made are critical for engineering teams to sit back, take a deep breath and dive into the problem rather than attack it without a plan.

ervin0072002
User Rank
Gold
I love this
ervin0072002   4/27/2012 9:27:19 AM
NO RATINGS

And yes I have been in all of the above situations. My favorite is getting a part in a box and being asked "why it broke?" Only the part is fully functional....

While all these were sound advice I personally still keep an open mind for problems that would be fixed quickly by one of these sinful actions. Countless times I have attached 100 probes and just measured data... and wala ten minutes later I know the solution.

It did bite me once when the issue was not design or a problematic part but rather EMI. See probes can make the EMI issue go away...



jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Great practical advice
jmiller   4/27/2012 10:12:09 AM
NO RATINGS
I liked the article as well.  Currently I am find myself trying to get to the bottom line of a lot of failures.  I find your article intersting because some of the things you suggest not to do are exactly what we are doing.  Our focus tends to start by understanding how big is the problem.  Not because we don't want to fix everything but more from the point that we don;'t have unlimited resources and we want to get the most bang for the buck.  We tend to try and get data and group the failures into different root causes.  And then do focus on if the part is to print.  Quite often the failures are caused because the part is not to print.  Once the part is to print and the variability is taken out the system then the root cause failure of the design can be attacked and improved.  However, if the parts are not capable and can't be to print, it doesn't matter how good the design gets because you will still have problems.

Page 1/3  >  >>


Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationís recent backup camera mandate could open the door to more vehicle innovations, including better graphical displays, 360-degree camera views, and the increased use of Ethernet.
With support from National Instruments, a group of dedicated students from Connally High School in Austin, where more than 50% of the students are at risk of not graduating, have created a successful robotics team that is competing in the FIRST World Championships.
Solar Impulse 2 -- a 100% solar-powered airplane -- has been completed. It features several advanced materials, some developed specifically for next year's attempted around-the-world flight.
Sherlock Ohms highlights stories told by engineers who have used their deductive reasoning and technical prowess to troubleshoot and solve the most perplexing engineering mysteries.
Lumus and eyeSight have partnered to create consumer-grade devices that offer all the prime functions of smart glasses without the bulk.
More:Blogs|News
Design News Webinar Series
3/27/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
2/27/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
12/18/2013 Available On Demand
11/20/2013 Available On Demand
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Apr 21 - 25, Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: April 29 - Day 1
Sponsored by maxon precision motors
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service