Failures in industry exist, whether they are human or purely mechanical. An example would be the breakage of a material, which can result in the stoppage of the production line in a factory, leading to high economic losses. Another example: one of the worst scenarios that we can find if the incorrect operation of the machinery injures a worker. The origin of situations of this type lies in the possible neglect of the infrastructure, or in the inability to find the problem. And it is in these situations when Infinitia comes into action to remedy and solve the problem, through forensic engineering.
Investigating the causes and consequences of a problem is the main function of this branch of engineering. With an even more attractive objective: to prevent that failure from happening again. Forensic engineers act, almost as you are probably thinking, like that well-known actor in a crime series or movie in which, through investigation, interrogation, analysis and identification of suspects, they manage to solve and find the person responsible for a murder. There is only one fundamental difference: the investigation does not focus on a human body, but on examining materials, components, composite structures or manufacturing systems that have malfunctioned. “We are the CSI of Las Vegas… but of materials,” compares Javier Sanz, CEO of Infinitia. The years of work and specialization in this field since 2014 allow them to provide solutions quickly and efficiently, “just by looking at the scene we practically know what has happened,” he explains, “of course there is an important analysis work, however the experience does the rest,” he qualifies.
But how exactly does a forensic engineer work? The methodology to be applied is mainly based on the technical knowledge and extensive background of the team, as half of the staff of this engineering department is directly involved in this department. An essential factor for the resolution of the “crime” are adequate facilities. The technological equipment of a laboratory of these characteristics requires not only space, but also a high level of specialization.
With everything ready, the first phase of the work begins: the preliminary diagnosis. For this, communication with the client is a key element, and as in almost every investigation in which clues are gathered through interrogation-type statements, someone usually lies. Or in other words, they “forget” some detail, that is why an essential requirement is to carry out a field observation, to go to the place where everything happened, to observe. “Digging that surface, pulling the thread and tying up ends,” explains Javier Sanz.
The second step would be the development of hypotheses and their experimental validation. At this stage, the assessment of the factors involved and their relationship are aspects to be examined in detail, added to one’s own previous experience, in order to effectively close the case. The last step would focus on risk analysis and the selection and implementation of the most appropriate solutions for the customer’s needs.
The quality departments of relevant companies with high annual turnover are very powerful. However, when “strange” situations arise, unusual cases in their day-to-day work, they turn to an external agent, such as Infinitia, since “we provide very specific knowledge, save time and make highly prepared facilities available,” emphasizes its CEO.
The applications of forensic engineering are very extensive, although they predominate in the industrial and manufacturing sector, where new cases to solve appear every day.
The Forensic Engineering team at Infinitia
Vanesa Rodriguez: “When our support is required at the customer’s premises, we become part of their quality team and we get deeply involved in the case, trying to see the whole product cycle to find out where the problem may have arisen. We approach projects globally, because that’s the way to provide a complete service.
Eva Pacheco: “In forensic engineering no two cases are the same. Each job is a new challenge in which analysis and tests guide us to find the cause and solution to each problem”.
Javier Graus: “The resolution of complex problems requires a deep knowledge of different engineering fields. Infinita offers its clients a multidisciplinary and highly specialized team to solve these cases in an agile and efficient way”.