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What to do When a Process or Product Fails

What do you do When a Process or Product Fails?

All processes and products have the potential to fail. What do you do when a process or product fails? When engineering controls are insufficient to prevent failure, evaluating the process, raw materials, and the conditions of use is important when investigating the root cause.

How do you determine who – or what – is responsible for the failure? Engaging with an organization that has experience in successfully performing failure analysis can help inform corrective actions to prevent future failure or assign responsibility. Oftentimes, a contract lab is the right choice to help get the answers you need about what’s causing the failure to occur. If you’ve experienced a product or process failure, you’ll want to:

Find an Experienced Investigative Analysis Lab

Does the lab you’re considering know how to approach a failure investigation project? The ability to perform material identification and chemical investigation by way of investigative analysis is an art as much as it is a science.

Experience will inform the analytical approach, and knowing how to approach the analysis will keep the cost of the investigation down. If a lab is inexperienced in failure analysis and doesn’t have a solid understanding of the correct approach, they’ll likely run a number of additional, unneeded and unnecessary analyses, and the cost of the analysis will be inflated to include the inessential analyses.

Having various analytical tools available and on-hand to evaluate the product failure is crucial to determining root cause, and you’ll want to make sure the lab you’re considering has a wide breadth of analytical instrumentation available.

Want to know more about our capabilities and team of failure investigation experts? Contact us.

Work with a Failure Lab with a Track Record of Successfully Testing Limited Sample Sizes

The quantity of product to be tested is oftentimes limited, and working with limited amounts of sample can be challenging for labs who are inexperienced in working with a small amount of sample. When you’re evaluating contract labs, ask about their experience working with limited amounts of sample. Avomeen has experience successfully determining the mode of failure on microscopic samples – check out our case study.

Rely on Scientists with Diverse Expertise and Experience in Chemical Composition Testing

Relevant expertise is crucial to being able to understand the mode of failure and how to evaluate and identify the root cause. The experience and involvement of:

  • Experienced material scientists
  • Expert polymer scientists
  • Knowledgeable analytical scientists

With experience in manufacturing and real-world applications is often needed to identify the mode of failure. The background, experience, and know-how of these scientists is frequently the key to determining why the product or process has failed.

Will the lab you’re considering working with have formulation and application scientists available to consult and work on your project? Application and formulation scientists will know how to correct the failure state once it’s identified.

Team up with a Failure Testing Lab that Understands Your Needs

Will there be a scientist that can speak to your team, including non-scientists, in terms that are easily understandable? Your lab should be able to bring the understanding of the mode of failure to any audience. Avomeen’s scientists are experienced in relaying highly complex scientific data and methodology in easy-to-understand terms.

Failures often shut down production, result in lost revenue, and can even damage brand reputation. With so much on the line, you’ll need to be sure you’re partnering with the right lab who can get you the answers you need. Do you have a project in mind? Let’s talk.

Additional Resources

Are you looking to regain control of your product or formulation? Our blog, Regain Control of Your Formulation with Deformulation, offers insight into a solution.

If you don’t want to deal with the logistics and maintenance of an in-house lab, consider an FTE partnership. Check out our blog, No In-House Lab? No Problem – Consider an FTE, for more information.

We explore the type of environment that fosters innovative thinking and successful innovation and formulation/product development in our blog, The Key to Successful Product Development & Innovation.

Are you evaluating service providers for product development, improvement, or innovation? Our blog, Choosing the Right Partner to Develop a Product, provides some guidance.



Our expert blogger is Evan Boyst, Avomeen’s Senior Technical Director of Innovation and Product Development. He has facilitated the product launch from R&D to production of several products and has experience in developing personal care, industrial, and food and beverage formulations. 

Learn more about Evan’s expertise and experience.