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Here at REDI Engineering we have expertise in both forensic engineering and reliability engineering. The two disciplines have many things in common and use similar tools and techniques to solve problems. There are however some differences as well. This blog will attempt to explain what both disciplines do, how they are the same and how they differ. The primary difference between the two disciplines is where the end result is used.

What is Forensic Engineering? Forensic engineering uses scientific principles to investigate failures and identify the underlying cause(s) of the failure. A forensic engineer is hired when machinery fails and causes harm to people, property, or the environment. In many cases, these machinery failures have resulted in significant injury, death, or some environmental misfortune. Also, in many circumstances these machinery failures can lead to civil and criminal court hearings. A forensic engineer would be hired to assess the cause and extent of damage and provide the court with professional analysis of the situation. Forensic Engineering generally speaking is reactive, meaning the damage has already been done and the courts or insurance companies are trying to identify the responsible party.

What is Reliability Engineering? Reliability engineering uses the same scientific principles to prevent, predict, or eliminate machinery failures that could result in undesirable conditions. Generally speaking reliability engineers are hired to develop a maintenance and redesign strategy that will minimize failure risks associated with operation of machinery, thus reducing the operational risk to people, property, or the environment. Reliability engineering is proactive. Reliability engineers strive to identify failure risks and provide a strategy to mitigate that risk before it happens.

The two disciplines go hand-in-hand though. A good forensic engineer can make an excellent reliability engineer and vise versa. Forensic Engineers have seen many different failures with many different results. This knowledge can be extremely valuable in developing a proactive strategy prevent failures from reoccurring in the future. Reliability engineers, have developed many strategies for preventing failures and can look at a structure or machine and quickly identify the areas of higher risk and thus find cause of failure very quickly.

We are REDI to help. If your business depends on structures or machinery to survive, we have the expertise to support you. If you have had a failure that has caused a death, injury, environmental mishap, or operational downtime our forensic expertise will help you understand the underlying cause(s). If you want help developing a strategy to mitigate the risks associated with running your machines, we can help with that too. Please give us a call.