Root Cause Analysis & Manufacturing Troubleshooting

Modern, complex assemblies can fail due to a failure or defect in a single component or through an interaction between multiple components in a system.

The cause is often related to a component’s inputs (e.g., raw material, processing conditions, loading conditions, environment, etc.). Starting with the failed assembly or defective product, Exponent specialists combine sound engineering judgment with troubleshooting methods to efficiently determine the root cause of the failure.

Crucial activities for troubleshooting include:

  • Problem Definition:
    • Systematic definition of inputs to reduce total troubleshooting time
    • Identification of inputs via production experience and engineering judgment

  • Identification of Correlations:
    • Searching for values or combination of values that are associated with the failure or defect
    • Applying troubleshooting experience to achieve efficient, cost-effective searching 

  • Validation:
    • Recreation of the failure or defect to confirm causation
    • Augmenting organizational knowledge through sharing success and documenting lessons learned.

Exponent specialists can guide an organization through each of these activities. Troubleshooting methods and tools we can apply include:

  • Root Cause Analysis
  • Structured Brainstorming Methods
  • Ishikawa (aka Fishbone) Diagrams
  • 5 Whys
  • Is/Is Not Analysis
  • 8D Problem Solving.