Forensic engineering company Soto Consulting has expanded its resources
to provide private and public companies with a specialised service that can
determine the cause of equipment failure in industrial environments.
Soto Consulting serves as a forensic specialist for WorkCover
authorities and police investigators to identify precise causes of equipment
failure, system malfunctions or explosion and fire events.
Comparing the process to investigative policing, but from an engineering
perspective, Managing Director Mr Frank Soto explains that Soto Consulting’s
forensic engineering skills help insurance companies, investigative agencies
and regulatory authorities determine the exact cause of failure that resulted
in serious injury or death, or even reveal potential problems ahead of
operation to ensure dangers and risk are identified and avoided.
Defined as post- or pre-failure analysis often for litigation support, forensic
engineering aims to accurately identify the sequence of events leading to
ultimate failure or injury to personnel or the public.
Soto Consulting offers in-house expertise and uses virtual analysis
tools to conduct probability balances, dimensional checks or detailed
computerised analysis to determine if the equipment in question was being used
in a way not intended by the original designer. The company’s engineers are brought
in as technical experts to review and model potential causes of failure in the
plant, equipment and systems.
Apart from carrying out comprehensive checks to analyse if equipment was
being used and maintained as indicated, Soto Consulting’s experts also determine
if design changes made to machinery or equipment corresponded to proprietary
design control methods, and then document whether the modified equipment performed
in a safe manner protecting the public and operator from risk.
Regardless of the principal investigating body, Soto Consulting’s
primary task to identify the root cause of an incident can often be extremely
challenging because they have to deal with a molten mass, collapsed structure
or a serious injury or incident, requiring the SOTO forensic team to find the
one event in a series that resulted in the critical failure or injury.
Soto Consulting engineers can also be called in as an expert witness for
insurance companies or litigants, and an arbitrary or judicial outcome may
strongly evolve around findings from forensic engineering.
According to Mr Soto, a successful outcome depends on the ability to
thoroughly and methodically examine the evidence and conduct an engineering
analysis using proven analytical methods founded on engineering principles and
advanced analysis simulations. A major objective of the exercise is to determine
if owners and operators deviated in any way from OEM operating procedures and
Mr Soto adds that forensic engineering is a skill requiring a lot of
disciplined training and many years of experience in working with various investigative
authorities and technical specialists. Soto has on its rolls, several Principal
and Senior Consultants who are highly experienced in all facets of complex
Detailed analytical reports are provided in support of matters in
litigation, with a typical report comprising of a fully referenced technical
analysis, simulation, diagrams, images and other supporting materials.