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How to Handle Machine Component Failure Modes

Table of Contents

If a machine keeps on running for some time, failures will eventually happen to its components. Generally, there are six categories of machine failures: abrasion, fatigue, corrosion, vibration and noise. How should we handle such failures? The discussions in this article will briefly touch on how to manage cases of failure of machine components as well as how to maintain them under normal circumstances.

Some common machine component failure modes

Machine Component Failure Modes


Machine Component ware

1. Run in wear; 2.Abrasive wear; 3.Surface fatigue wear; 4. Thermal vear; 5. Corrosive wear; 6.Phase transformation wear; 7.Fluid dynamic wear

Machine component fatigue

Fatigue cracks are generated and further propagated in areas of high stress or low strength on the surface layer of the part or component.

Machine component corrosion

Damage is caused by chemical or electrochemical reactions between metal material and the surrounding medium, Metal corrosion is a common natural phenomenon.

Machine component vibration

The endless cyclical motion between the processes part and the tool results in vibration over time, It can be classified as free vibration, forced vibration, and self-excited vibration.

Machine component noise

Mechanical vibration occurs in machinery during operation or rotation, causing mechanical components or surrounding objects to vibrate, resulting in noise soundwaves.

How to deal with machine component wear?

(1) Normal wear

  • Friction between components: Keep the parts clean and lubricated.
  • Wear caused by hard particles: Maintain the cleanliness between the parts and cover any exposed areas.
  • Fatigue wear of components under long-term alternating loads: Remove all clearances, choose proper lubricants, reduce any additional vibrations and increase the accuracy of the components.
  • Corrosion of components by chemical substances: Eliminate harmful chemicals and improve the corrosion resistance of parts.
  • Changes in surface metallographic structure or fit properties of components under high-temperature conditions: Look for methods to improve working conditions or use such materials as have resistance to high temperatures and wear and tear in order to make the parts.


(2) Abnormal wear

Repair or manufacturing quality not meeting design requirements: Engage in stringent quality checks.

Violation of operating procedures: Acquaint yourself with mechanical performance as well as operate with caution.

machine component wear
machine component wear

What is machine components fatigue?

Fatigue refers to the initiation and propagation of material cracks due to cyclic loading. Fatigue occurs in three stages which include crack initiation, then comes crack propagation stage and finally, with the failure stage.


Stage 1: Crack Initiation

This is where fatigue failure starts from. It is marked by the production of small cracks or defects within materials resulting from cyclic loading. Such fractures normally begin around places with stress concentration such as sharp corners, notches, or surface imperfections. Cyclic loading induces localized plastic deformation, promoting crack initiation. These cracks are often microscopic and cannot be seen easily.


Stage 2: Crack Propagation

The first stage cracks that were created start growing into propagating through the material. As it advances, interacting with microstructure in its way such as grain boundaries, impurities may influence a change in direction towards branching out or reorientation of a crack path. This particular stage’s characteristic would be slow growth until reaching a critical size.


Stage 3: Failure

In the final stage, when the crack reaches a critical size and the material can no longer withstand the applied cyclic load, the ultimate failure occurs. At this point, the remaining cross-sectional area of material is too little to bear stress applied leading to rapid crack propagation and sudden complete fracture. Eventually, final failures are usually characterized by such features as shear lips, beach marks and striations on fracture surfaces. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that fatigue failure requires some cycles depending upon various factors i.e., properties of materials under concern, stress levels involved, surface finish plus loading conditions among other things.

machine component fatigue
machine component fatigue

How to deal with the fatigue of machine components?

The approach for dealing with fatigue in mechanical components depends on the severity of fatigue damage and component criticality.

Some common ways of handling fatigue include:

Replacement of components: When the mechanical component is severely damaged by fatigue exceeding its safe usage limit it may be best to replace it with a new one.

Repairing and reinforcement: Steps taken for fixing minor fatigues could involve repair or reinforcement methods through fixing cracks or plugging holes among others.

Redesigning: In case there are repetitive issues concerning fatigue in mechanical components then redesigning the component can take place via improving geometric shapes, material selections or even redistributing strains making better its fatigue strength.

Strengthen monitoring to help identify the early signs of fatigue thereby taking suitable repair or replacement measures.

How to handle machine components corrosion?

machine components corrosion
machine components corrosion

There are different ways to manage corrosion of machine components, which include the type of corrosion, the extent of damage and some other specific circumstances such as:


Cleaning and rust removal

The place that has been corroded must first be cleaned to remove dirt or surface impurities. Proper cleaning materials and equipment like brushes, clothes or sprays can be used. Finally, the mechanical method using a scraper, grinder or sandblaster can be used to scrape out the corroded part and restore the smoothness of the component’s surface.


Anti-corrosion coatings

It is advisable to prevent machine components from being corroded by putting anti-corrosion coatings on them. Some common anti-corrosive coating types consist of paints, polymer coatings, rubber lining or plating (e.g., galvanizing, chroming and electroplating) with thermal spray coatings like hot dip zinc/polymer thermal spraying. They provide physical barriers for preventing air/water/chemicals from contacting with metal surfaces hence no corrosion.


Anti-corrosion oils and lubricants

By providing protection as well as lubrication mechanisms suitable anti-corrosion oils & lubricants reduce chances for corrosion to happen. Such kinds of products can fill small defects on a surface whereas making up protective films isolates the metal’s environment.

Corrosion treatment

Corrosion can also be dealt with by chemical methods. For example; acid cleaning can remove oxides and corroded layers on the metal surface while alkaline cleaning neutralizes acidic residues thereby preventing further corrosion. Electrochemical techniques such as anodic protection and cathodic protection protect the material’s surface by either applying current or utilizing electrochemical means.

Replacement of damaged components

Sometimes corrosion on machine components may be so severe that they cannot be repaired therefore replacement becomes necessary in such a situation. But new parts should be made from resistant materials against corrosion or appropriate measures taken against corrosion

How to deal with machine component vibration?

machine component vibration
machine component vibration

When dealing with vibrations of parts of machines, the source has to be considered as well as the surrounding conditions. Below are some common approaches for mitigating vibrations in machine components:



Unbalance is among the reasons behind machine component vibration. Vibration can be reduced by performing dynamic balancing or static balancing. Dynamic balancing is when components are balanced while running. On the other hand, static balancing occurs when the machine is not in motion.


Damping and isolation

Damping and isolation techniques can help minimize vibration transfer and interference. These may entail using dampers, isolation pads, isolation mounts, etcetera. This absorbs or dissipates energy from vibrations reducing it on a different machine component.


Inspection and repair of loose parts

Vibrations result from loose parts too. Periodically examine the machine elements especially joints and fasteners for tightness. Should there be any case of loose fastening, they should be repaired without delay.


Adjusting operating conditions

Modifying operating parameters such as reducing speed, changing loads or adjusting operating parameters could reduce vibration levels in machinery. The optimum operational settings based on its specific situation and needs must be identified.


Lubrication and maintenance

To minimize vibrations proper lubrication and maintenance practices need to be maintained. Ensure that machine components are properly lubricated following regular maintenance procedures outlined by the manufacturer including cleaning, lubricating or replacing worn-out parts among others.


Strengthening and reinforcing structures

In order to enhance stiffness as well as vibration resistance for components prone to frequent shaking; it might require reinforcement of their structure which means they have to do strengthening work on them by way of adding supports and stiffening connection parts using stiff materials among others.


Vibration control techniques

Specialized vibration control methods may have to be used in situations involving heavy vibrations through active vibration control, passive vibration control, vibration absorption or vibration isolation techniques like those mentioned above.

How to deal with machine component noise?

machine component noise
machine component noise

In order to solve the problem of machine component noise, the causes and specific situations must be considered. Here are some common methods for dealing with machine component noise:

Acoustic isolation: Soundproof materials, soundproof rooms or walls are used to isolate the source of noise. These types of material and facilities take in or bounce out the sound hence minimizing its spread into the neighboring environment.


Vibration reduction and isolation: If vibration is reduced in machine components, there will be less noise. One can use vibration absorbers, isolating pads or mounts in this case. They help dampen or scatter vibrations thus leading to low radiations.


Acoustic optimization design: As one is designing machine components, it is important to consider controlling for noise. This entails having a structure that maximizes on optimized flow rate and minimizes resonance as well as airflow roar. By making use of correct designs, both production and transmitting sounds get minimized.


Maintenance and upkeep: Noise levels can be reduced by properly maintaining and servicing machine parts regularly. It is however necessary to make sure that all parts are well lubricated, tightened down as may be necessary at times replaced when worn out so that there may not be any noises caused due to frictional forces or even factors like looseness.


Noise control equipment and technology: Noise propagation can be minimized using these equipment which includes mufflers made of sound absorbing stuffs among others used as such devices through which sounds tend not go via easily whereas some efficient ways depend on sound features required by the source origin itself alongside prevailing conditions.


Operation and work environment control: Minimize generation, transmission of noisy machines by taking necessary steps before they actually occur For instance reducing rotating frequency of engine , adjusting load magnitude (in production) apart from using barriers between people working together e.g office partitioning systems.


Training and awareness raising: Proper functioning personnel require knowledge about possible threats associated with high intensity sounds emitted by technical apparatus which will eventually lead to decrease in noise production upon their use.

Machine Component
Machine Component

How do you choose the right machine parts for your project?

The success of your project depends on selecting the right machine components. Here are some simple steps to take when picking machine parts:

  • Recognize Project Requirements

You must first specify what is expected of your project. Characteristics such as machine functionality, performance needs, operating environment and much more should be considered. These can aid in choosing the right machine parts.


  • Find Out What Is On Offer

Do a market survey so that you get to know the available options for these machine parts. To find out which suitable parts are there for your project look for any suppliers, manufacturers or online resources.


  • Quality and Dependability

When it comes to buying machine parts quality and dependability are important factors to consider. So always ensure that the selected parts have a proven track record of quality and reliability thereby ensuring long-term performance and dependability of the machines.


  • Compatibility and Integration

Ensure that all selected part would be integrated into other sub-systems without hitches within the system under construction. The Part’s dimensions, interfaces, connection methods therefore become critical considerations if they are going to be correctly installed as well as operated.


  • Performance/Technical Specifications

To check if the required standards have been achieved after them being purchased one has to evaluate their performance as well as technical specifications. Among such factors include power, speed, accuracy load capacity etc.


  • Affordability

Also think about its affordability – consider either price over performance or vice versa while balancing on both sides just to meet budgetary constraints against project requirements.


  • Available Stock & Support Services

Consider whether spare parts can easily be obtained from suppliers who provide technical support in terms of after-sales services besides offering replacements for worn-out items after the purchase has been made



The above are the usual kinds of failures that machine components tend to go through after operating for some time. Nevertheless, actual breakdowns may differ depending on a particular part’s kind, working conditions and environment of application. Regular maintenance plus inspection can help identify likely failures early enough and do necessary repairs or replacements of parts thereby enhancing the dependability as well as efficiency of machines.

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