Metal AM Summer 2022

Page 115

T GE Anatomy of a part failure

Anatomy of an AM part failure: Lessons for managers, designers and producers from 2021's Olympic bike crash In the men's track cycling team pursuit qualifying at the 2020 Olympics, broadcast live to a global audience, a handlebar part produced by metal Additive Manufacturing failed with catastrophic consequences for the rider, Australia's Alex Porter. Six months later, a forensic analysis of the incident was published as a 170-page report. The good news is that the company that made the AM part, along with the technology itself, were cleared of blame. So: what went wrong, and what lessons can be learned? Robin Weston digs into the details.

It's a dangerous business when things go wrong in the public eye. I'm not talking about the physical danger of an accident in elite track cycling, although that certainly is hazardous; without a doubt, a crash at 70 km/h is severe, especially when surrounded by other bikes travelling at the same speed. No, the danger to which I refer is the danger inherent in the speculation and blame game that inevitably follow a public mishap, and that can lead to unintended consequences if rumour and supposition take hold without a full understanding of the facts. There is something about us humans; it is all too easy to play the blame game and, sometimes, see fortune in the misfortune of others. The Germans even have a word for it: Schadenfreude, ‘pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune,’ a portmanteau based on the German words Schaden (harm) and Freude (joy). I don't mind admitting that when I first heard about the failure of the additively manufactured titanium handlebars experienced by Alex Porter in the Australian Men's Team Pursuit

Vol. 8 No. 2 © 2022 Inovar Communications Ltd

race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (held in 2021), I had two initial thoughts: "That must have hurt," and – you guessed it – "I wonder which metal AM machine they were manufactured on?" The footage is quite shocking and Porter was fortunate not to

have sustained much more serious injuries. He was also angry, and it certainly prevented AusCycling (a new organisation created in November 2020 out of a merger of Cycling Australia with two other cycling bodies) from achieving anything

Fig. 1 Team Australia's Kelland O'Brien, Sam Welsford, Leigh Howard, and Alexander Porter pictured during the qualifying round of the Men's Team Pursuit at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo credit Shutaro Mochizuki/ AFLO/Alamy Live News)

Metal Additive Manufacturing | Summer 2022



| contents | news | events | advertisers | print sub | e-newsletter |

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.