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The Case of the Fatally Failed Hinge Pin

Figure 1.  Exemplar Oven with DoorThe Problem:

The subject oven door hinge failed.  The incident chronology indicated a single-event explosion inside the high-temperature and internally pressurized oven while in operation.  The blast occurred on a tray of a mid-level shelf.  At the time of the explosion, the technician had prepared to open the oven door when the hinge pin failed and the door rapidly opened with great force.  The door disengaged from the hinges and knocked the technician across the room, resulting in his death.

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The Case of the Precast Panel Collapse

Figure 1.  Aerial Site View – Precast Building OpeningThe Problem:

The final, tilt-up, precast panel, weighed 40,000 lbs and collapsed unexpectedly during field erection.  The incident caused the death of 3 landscape workers at ground level, working outside the building.

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The Case of the Fracking Pump Miscommunication

Fracking Pumps and Tanks Set-up at WellsiteThe Problem:

In the litigation, the Buyer alleged that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) welding was to have been in accordance with AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code – Steel.   The code stated that complete information regarding base metal, type, size, and NDT of all welds shall be clearly shown on the plans and specifications provided to the OEM.  The contract documents and shop drawings did not indicate which joints required a specific assembly order, welding sequence or Nondestructive Testing (NDT).  The Buyer’s drawings depicted incorrect welding symbols. The Buyer referenced internal corporate specifications that were unavailable to the OEM.  The OEM was ordered by the Buyer to commence welding in the absence of all necessary information from the Buyer. 

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The Case of the Hardband Tungsten Particles

Drilling Deep and Deviated WellsThe Problem:

In the old days, when onshore oilfield wells were about 5000 feet and nearly straight down, well casing wall  wear was not a major concern.  A common practice for extending drill pipe life was hardbanding welds on the box joint of each drill pipe. During the hardbanding, tungsten carbide particles were included in the soft, steel weld-wire overlayed on the box joint.  The tungsten carbide particles created a raised hardened-surface on the box joint that could greatly increase the life of the drill pipe before the drill pipe became worn too thin for the drill-string requirements.  

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Welding Failures I Have Known, Interesting cautionary tales from Metals & Welding  expert, Dr Jesse A Grantham, PE