Failure Analysis With Example Case Studies

This page contains a list of real-world examples of machine failures that we have successfully investigated and resolved in the past. Please also check out our other failure analysis pages using the links below:

Rail Traction Gearbox Failure


Failure of an EMU (electric multiple unit) gearbox input shaft bearing, resulting in subsequent gear damage.  Potential safety hazard in the event of a gearbox seizure.  Neale Consulting Engineers established mechanisms of failure and assessed the risk of seizure as low.

Connecting Rod Failure


Connecting Rod damage from a V12, 750kW IC engine running on natural gas. Engine exploded due to piston skirt seizure which was exacerbated by rapid start-up procedure. We reviewed the engine design and operating regime and recommended changes to the starting and warm-up procedures. The engine was part of a CHP system which provided the daytime and emergency power for a hospital.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Aerator Failure

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Aerator lower bearing failure due to inadequate lubrication leading to gear and shaft failures. Substantial number of similar failures occurring, with the potential to cause the whole treatment plant to shut down. Neale Consulting Engineers identified critical locations for immediate rectification activity and defined future performance specification for replacement gearboxes and drives.

Industrial Blower Failure


Gears from the drive of a large industrial blower which failed through lack of lubrication. It was alleged that the failure was due to incorrectly hardened gears, but Neale Consulting Engineers established that the prime cause of failure was inadequate lubrication, and that the gears were softened as a result of high operating temperatures.

Steelworks Gearbox Damage


Pitting and misalignment damage of bull gears from a steel blast furnace skip winch hoist. We identified that the gearbox deflected under load and could be realigned to compensate, enabling the winches to continue operation.

Motor Driven Gearbox Failure


Motor pinion shaft gear failure due to collapse of motor bearing. We identified that the bearings were under designed for the required duty, enabling design modifications and systematic replacement of the plant’s other motors before consequential further damage occurred.

Escalator Spherical Bearing Failure


Cracked inner ring and fretting of a double row spherical roller bearing on an escalator main drive shaft assembly. Neale Consulting Engineers established that the cause was excessive tightening of the taper sleeve fixture which resulted in fracture of the ring, subsequent fatigue of the races and fretting. Establishing the mechanism assured the client that there was not a systematic failure mode for the metro escalator system.

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