Aerospace, Automotive, Energy, Industry 4.0, Oil and Gas

Expert interview: “More than a simple diagnosis, Failure analysis is a driver of progress”


Besides the product or system breakage aspect, the methodologies of failure analysis can be used as part of a risk management approach and a real driver of progress. This is what Bruno Vandenberghe, in charge of failure analysis activities at Cetim, underlines in an interview published in the last edition of Cetim info Magazine.

Failure analysis is often associated with lack of success however “It is also a driver of progress. It stems from an industrial test in real conditions which can be used to gather useful information and improve the quality of products and processes”, points out Bruno Vandenberghe, Head of Failure Analysis activities at Cetim. Moreover, the concept of failure is much more than the breakage of part or a system.

The implementation of these investigation methods is warranted by issues such as a malfunction, poor performance, abnormal wear, a change in appearance or characteristics, an operating anomaly or even noncompliance detected by the quality department. “These methods may also be used in relation to a part that is in the process of being developed and which does not meet the industrial manufacturer’s requirements. When a test is not conclusive in such a case, this is referred to as test failure. Action can be taken by applying similar methodologies”, further explains Bruno Vandenberghe.

Tackling key industrial challenges

In the industrial world, failure analysis is more than just a simple diagnosis tool, “Failure analysis allows us to address a major challenge, i.e. risk management, protecting the safety of people and assets and guaranteeing the availability of their processes and systems, by taking into account the costs.” To this end, it is combined with other key methods in the industrial world, such as residual life assessment or Asset Integrity Management (AIM) and Through-Life Support (TLS). “As a result, we understand the importance of continuing training for industrial manufacturers, both in relation to technologies and methodologies, given that the subject is so broad.” All industrial sectors are affected, especially transport, energy, health and defence.

Key assets

Cetim boasts major assets in all these areas. First of all, it can leverage on a multi-disciplinary team and offers a wide range of services. “In addition to the analysis of materials, products and processes, we work with industrial manufacturers from the recommendation of long-lasting solutions through to risk management”, asserts Bruno Vandenberghe. Cetim has recognised expertise in this area and is regularly commissioned to work with administrative authorities (courts, court-appointed experts, Gendarmerie, etc.) as well as with expert investigation and insurance firms on failure analysis issues. Cetim’s expertise extends well beyond France’s borders, particularly through its subsidiaries Cetim Matcor in Asia – with more than half of its business activity relating to failure analysis – and Cetim Maroc Développement, and its partners such as Technique Inspection et Contrôle (TIC) in Tunisia.

When it comes to training, over 35 modules in the Cetim Academy catalogue,
in French and in English, cover topics related with failure analysis on a broader scale. For that matter “our training courses are provided by professionals in the field who are familiar with and understand the problems faced by manufacturers”, discloses Bruno Vandenberghe. Lastly, Cetim has devoted some of its R&D resources to this area through its many laboratories as well as the development of partnerships. Accordingly, the experts develop innovative applications such as the use of drones for failure analysis and artificial intelligence on image analysis.

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