One response to “Weekend Journal — CSI: Component Stupidity Investigator”

  1. Moiety

    In my experience the two biggest problems by far that I have come across is design and maintenance.

    Typically the design is not done by the person who will have to ultimately operate the system. This can lead to two problems but in relation to the post, fit for purpose problems will arise. One of the issues that I have seem omitted again and again from design is weight (<25 kg so someone can lift it by law). From a design point of view, thinking about final weight for a experimental setup (designer focused on meeting experimental requirements) can be abstract. Because they are so focused on the experiment, the people around can be forgotten. Questions like 'What if they have to lift it?' can be easily overlooked.

    Maintenance is a big issue for research institutions especially in chemicals. Often the user or boss in charge is a scientist and not an engineer. This can lead to comments like "but it worked before so why not again" even though before was 5 years ago. Often no thought is given to the re-commissioning cost or even to the cost for making up the maintenance lost. If an equipment has not been used (assuming it has been decommissioned correctly), seals and other small parts will need to be changed periodically every 1-3 years. Larger components like pumps may need an overhaul before startup; regardless of maintenance cycles during shutdown.