Failure analysis

Failure analysis is the term used when components fail during use by the customer.


In our experience, the main area of application of FEM analyses is shifting with increasing acceptance from the area of failure analysis to the area of design or construction. However, there are always cases of damage when the component has been in customer use for a certain time.

Failures are still a classic application of FEM and an area in which Merkle & Partner has decades of experience. 

If components fail within the promised lifetime, high costs are incurred due to the replacement of the component itself, consequential damages, as well as loss of production or recall actions. A large number of these damages would have been detectable by early use of numerical simulations in the design or construction phase. For this reason, the prevention of the damage is to be preferred according to the saying "prevention is better than cure". 

Use our damage analysis! 

Damage analysis of components and machines

Despite all the care taken in the development process of structures and components, the occurrence of damage in later operation or customer use cannot always be ruled out. Often, the cause is effects that were not even considered during the design phase. 

The analysis of the damage is often a long process, which on the one hand requires knowledge of the basic physical processes, but also a lot of experience in the field of damage analysis and a targeted approach. 

Merkle und Partner, with its more than 30 years of experience in damage analysis of various assemblies and components, will be pleased to support you in the very demanding subject of damage analysis. 

With trend-setting methods of optimization combined with modern CAE tools of FEM and CFD, we are able not only to determine the cause of damage by means of appropriate simulations, but also to offer proposals for optimization with subsequent verification from a single source. 

Your advantage - we accompany the entire process! 

  • Detailed damage analysis and determination of the cause of damage by means of exclusion procedures 
  • Simulation of the damage development with modern CAE software 
  • Investigation and evaluation of repair measures 
  • Optimization of the structure for the new design 
  • Strength verification of the optimized structure 

Avoid further and unnecessary costs in case of damage by a professional approach with MERKLE & PARTNER GbR, a very experienced and efficient partner, and win back the confidence of your customers! 

Use cases of the damage analysis


The weld seams on the bottom of a dryer cracked at regular intervals and had to be extensively rewelded. The cause was high thermomechanical stresses when the plant was started up. Computational verification showed that the permissible stresses were exceeded by a factor of 3. Repair concepts using gusset plates were evaluated. The drum base was completely redesigned and optimized by Merkle & Partner so that the permissible stresses in the weld seam could be complied with.


Cracks occurred at the axle connection of a dryer. A mathematical explanation, which corresponded to the crack pattern, could only lie in the rotating bending. However, the stresses here were within the permissible range. After corresponding inquiries with the operator, we were able to determine that the dryer had been completely filled with water for cleaning purposes and had been running for several days. This load case was never considered and showed impermissibly high stresses. By avoiding the critical operating condition, the repaired condition could continue to be operated until a new dryer was manufactured.

Ground contact

Fractures occurred in the grounding contacts of rail vehicles. The cause was natural resonances of the fastening. Constructive measures could be taken, so that the natural frequencies are in an uncritical range.