Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Archive: Industrial

Chemical Engineers: More than Glorified Plumbers – Really!

As a senior at Virginia Tech, I was told that ChemE’s were little more than glorified plumbers.  Looking back, I’m pretty sure it was to keep our geek-egos in check. It was an effective tool! However, as I grew and traveled as a professional, it became an effective descriptor; applying to a larger scale and using a modifier or two for specific applications.  So, if you have a loss that falls into one of the categories below, a ChemE could be the expert you need. Read More

Corrision-Pipes-2

Graphitic Corrosion – Difficult to determine before a failure!

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Graphitic corrosion is a process that may happen in equipment made of iron, particularly grey cast iron, but also ductile cast iron. Graphitic corrosion can lead to unexpected catastrophic failure of the affected part because the cast iron can lose its strength without a visible warning such as a change in size, shape, or appearance. Read More

NFPA-921

New 2017 Edition of NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations

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Over the course of its 25-year history, NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations has changed the practice of fire investigation for the better.  Without a doubt, NFPA 921 has appropriately driven a more rigorous approach to fire investigation that seeks to avoid cognitive bias and reliance on techniques that, when rigorously examined, are little more than pseudoscience.  One need look no further than the Cameron Todd Willingham matter, wherein a Texas man was executed in part based on a flawed fire investigation, to understand the importance of conducting a proper fire investigation. Read More

Figure 1: A Faro 3D scanner.

Warren Adds Another Dimension of Engineering

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Co-Authored with John Phillips, PE, CFEI

We at Warren are pleased to announce our recent purchase of a Faro Focus X 330 three dimensional scanner with FARO Scene image processing software. The scanner takes up to 976,000 data points per second and can scan objects at distances to 1000 feet.  The scanner forms a point cloud of millions of data points while also capturing 360 degree panoramic photographs.  By combining a series of scans, a three dimensional representation can be created that enables precise measurements, animations, and demonstrations. The scanner can capture imagery indoors, outdoors, and even in darkness. Read More

Charred-Wood-Structural-Members

Structural Evaluation After a Fire – Post-Fire Tips for an Insurance Adjuster, Part I

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This is a 3-Part series to help insurance adjusters during a claim inspection make a post-fire assessment of a building’s structural framing system.  From my numerous case history inspections involving damage to structural framing members after a fire, what appears obvious and straightforward is not always the case.  This article is a quick synopsis to help the adjuster be better prepared for a structural inspection and assessment while understanding what needs to be looked at, and if there are hidden factors to further investigate. Read More

Figure 2. A detail of the CAD model showing the area in which the firefighter was injured.

Firefighter burned due to improper industrial oven design and operation

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Industrial ovens and furnaces are used in many manufacturing processes.  One use of industrial ovens is for drying and curing coatings on fabrics.

I investigated a fire loss involving a very large oven, 10 stories high, used for curing coatings on an industrial fabric. A young firefighter was burned in response to this fire, one of a string of many fires that had occurred involving the oven.

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A view of two workers inside a recirculation paint spray booth, clothed in personal protective equipment as required by OSHA Standards.

The Down and Dirty on Paint Spray Booths Recirculation Systems

Back when I first started in the safety field in the 70’s it was not uncommon to see spray painting operations where there was no exhaust system and in others paint vapors were exhausted straight into the environment. Needless to say this was not good for our environment and also wasted a lot of paint. Read More

[SLIDESHARE] Ovens and Furnaces

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Safety through design is a critical consideration in oven and furnace manufacturing. This slideshow takes a look at industry standards governing their design and identifies common safety oversights.

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