FAILURE ANALYSIS AT A MORE PERSONAL LEVEL
When most people hear of an engineering failure investigation and analysis, they tend to think BIG in terms of a bridge failure or some large industrial machine that has stopped working. However, failures and their analysis often happen at a small scale and personal level.
The largest manufacturer of bicycle components in the world, Shimano, has recently issued a Recall of over one million (1,000,000) bicycle cranks after more than 1,000 of the components (which connect the pedal to the bottom bracket of the bike) failed in use. These failures resulted in more than 20 injuries including some of a very serious nature.
Possibility of Severe Injury
Investigation and analysis of the failures found that they were occurring due to poor design and manufacturing of the cranks that led to cracking of the part and its ultimate failure. A failure of a bike crank could result in injuries from the leg being hit by the broken part or, more dangerous, in loss of control of the bike with the resultant possibility of injuries or a more severe accident.
The faulty cranks were installed on over 200 models of bicycles since 1994. These affected bikes were sold under at least 49 brand names ranging from low-end department store brands up to top international manufacturers. It is also possible that the cranks were fitted to other bikes as part of stores upgrading the components on previously supplied bikes.
The faulty cranks can be identified by the markings FC-CT90, FC-M290, or FC-MC12 located on the inner side of the right hand crank arm.
Any owner with a bike equipped with Shimano components should check to see if their cranks are affected by the recall. If the cranks are affected, you should stop riding the bike immediately and call Shimano at 1-800-353-4719 to arrange for prompt replacement and repair.
This recall brings the potential of a dangerous failure right into our own garages and homes. It is important to stay aware of recalls, product advisories or service bulletins for both personal safety and for the proper investigation and analysis of any failure in the field. Walters Forensic Engineering has the knowledge and expertise on any failure incident, no matter how big or small and personal.
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