Beware of Falling Branches!November 16, 2016
Claims Corner – Beware of Falling Branches (Part 2)November 16, 2016
This claim relates to the breakdown of a CVD (chemical vapour deposition) Diamond Reactor. The machine overheated as a direct result of a malfunction in the flow of process cooling water. The damaged machine is likely to be written off due to the cost and difficulty of repairs. A replacement machine costs over $700,000. The possibility of a recovery against an electrical contractor exists.
On the day of the loss, a PhD student was operating the machine. In order to commence operations, she needed to turn on the process cooling water at a set of valves. A fail-safe mechanism would have prevented the machine from operating if there had been no flow in the process cooling water. However, this did not occur on this occasion. It appears that, shortly after the initial start-up of the reactor, the flow of process cooling water slowed down and became insufficient to adequately cool the machine. This led to a catastrophic failure of the reactor. It has subsequently been established that the building’s chiller unit did not fail, but rather the pumps which circulate the process cooling water were not operating.