This post is about one of the most useful design tools for rotordynamics of turbomachinery: The Undamped Critical Speed Map. A critical speed map can provide a great deal of insight on the potential...
A blog on what's new, notable, and next in turbomachinery
By Jim Miller
Dec 21, 2017
A challenge in the engineering profession is that we, too often, look at complex problems as requiring complex solutions. As an example, a customer recently asked Concepts NREC to perform a very complex full-scale test. After a few rounds of clarifying questions, it became apparent the purpose of the test was to validate an analytical model. With this additional insight, we recommended a partial scale test that would achieve the same outcome, for a fraction of the price and time. The customer was delighted with this simpler (and cheaper) solution to their problem.
Getting to the underlying, or root cause, of an issue is not always easy. Usually, people focus on the symptoms and try to fix those, which can lead to an ineffective solution. One tool, attributed to Sakichi Toyoda, part of the well-known Toyota Production System, is called “The 5 Why’s”. It is widely used to get to the root cause of complex issues. It is an integral part of Kaizen, lean manufacturing, and Six Sigma programs. The 5 Why’s is a simple and powerful tool to help a team, challenged with a complex problem, get to the root cause. A successful application of “The 5 Why’s” should reveal a process that is broken or doesn’t exist. Changing the process, or adding the new process, will fix the issue.
This tool is applicable across all situations, both professional and personal. Sometimes, it takes fewer than five “Why’s?” to get to the root cause. To use a humorous example, here is a story my wife often tells in her communications class. A daughter was watching her mother prepare a holiday ham. As the mother chopped off the end of the ham, before putting it in a roasting pan, the daughter asked her mother why she did that. The mother explained that it was part of the recipe handed down from her mother. Then, the daughter went to her grandmother to ask why she cut the end off her ham. The grandmother explained that during the Great Depression, she didn’t have a big roasting pan, so she had to cut the end off the ham to make it fit in her small pan!
At Concepts NREC, we use this process to help customers looking for solutions to their challenging turbomachinery issues. So, the next time you are faced with a problem, ask the “Why” question five times, to try to uncover the real, root cause of the issue. Have you ever used this process? Did it work?
By Mark R. Anderson, CTO of Concepts NREC
Feb 25, 2022
With so many papers out there, I like to pass the word along when a particularly good one comes my way. My favorite paper for 2021 was titled “SELECTING A COMPRESSOR MERIDIONAL TOPOLOGY: AXIAL,...
By Dr. Dave Japikse, CEO/Chairman & Founder, Concepts NREC
Feb 11, 2022
Dave Japikse, the CEO/Chairman & Founder of Concepts NREC, speaks to e-pumps as a potential propulsion game changer, as well as ongoing rocket turbopump development and design considerations.