December 2003

Engineering Case Histories

Case 18: Problem-solving technique

An orderly procedure allows data to be organized and analyzed

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

Throughout this series, only analytical methods have been shown. When we attempt to solve problems, calculations are generally used to help verify our assumptions. Our assumptions logically result from analyzing the deluge of data assembled from various sources. The following procedure helps make sense of the many pieces of information. The problem is that of “Case 1: The Fatigued Motor Shaft.” 1Here a “V”-belt provided the connection between an electric motor and an agitator. The motor shaft failed at a snap-ring groove, and a small fire was caused by the failure incident. Data were gathered and assembled into the following problem-solving chart. 2

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