In large industries, especially the manufacturing firms, preparing a failure analysis report is but part of a day's work. Their industry relies heavily on the products they manufacture. Thus, when products fail, the business fails, too. But these industries do not let failures get in the way and they can only do this with the help of the failure analysis report.
In essence, the failure analysis report aims to achieve the following things:
- Know the cause of the failure and, when needed, create new processes eliminate it.
- Reduce the incidence of failure in the future.
- Increase the margin of safety.
- Identify who is at fault and teach ways to avoid failure again.
A good failure analysis report is one that lets the reader follow the thoughts of the investigator or the writer of the report. It should be understandable and the tasks that were done during the course of the investigation should be clearly explained. The target readers should always be in mind while writing the failure analysis report.
Here are the steps that you should know when preparing a failure analysis report:
- Acquire background information. Gather all the data that is related to the failure. Data does not have to be only numbers, but everything that can be available; including photos, graphs, and samples. In some manufacturing plants, once a product is returned, failure analysts perform a macroscopic investigation. This task includes taking a photograph as evidence. Other specifications like product code, serial number, and batch and lot numbers are taken note of. If the product is a mechanical or electronic gadget, the failure analyst needs to know its service history.
- Perform needed analyses and tests. While there may be analyses and tests specified by the company, there are still important rules that a failure analyst should follow in doing his investigation. For one, a failure analyst should keep an open mind and not let his emotion influence his judgment. All details, however minor they may be, should be noted. The failure analyst should remember that he should identify the cause of the failure and that he will use what he discovers to create solutions to avoid failures in the future.
- Evaluate the material thoroughly. The product itself should be tested thoroughly according to the prescribed failure analysis tests. Chemical, environmental, metallographical, and mechanical testings should be done to produce a more coherent investigation.
- Analyze the data and prepare the report. Organize the information that is gathered from the initial stages of the failure analysis. Interpret each factor and relate it to the failure that has been observed. The results may be surprisingly not what is expected. The presentation of the data should be organized in a clear manner. It should start from the general down to the specific just like in writing any professional report. The report should also include recommendations to avoid future failures.
The task of preparing a failure analysis report may look like any research writing task, but only with some added processes. As with other research reports, a good failure analysis report is one that follows the proper test sequence, data collection, and result evaluation.