Water Discoloration Conundrums by Lloyd C. Meissner, P.E.

Water Discoloration Conundrums by Lloyd C. Meissner, P.E.

Within months of completion, personnel at a large institutional facility in the Midwest began to observe water quality concerns.  Reports to the building owner included sinks that had brown-colored water, green-colored water and even one location where the water ran clear initially, then ran rusty and discolored, and then ran clear again. Mysteriously, this only happened on Monday mornings and only on the hot water side.  The owner was mystified and called Crane Engineering to help unravel the mystery of the unclear water.

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Employee Spotlight: Andy Thielen, P.E.

Employee Spotlight:  Andy Thielen, P.E.

Mechanical Engineer, Andy Thielen, P.E. incorporates over 30 years of experience in designing HVAC, plumbing and other mechanical systems.  He provides expert consultation in the areas of root cause failure analysis, HVAC and plumbing system design, and building recommissioning for contractors and building owners.  Additionally, he was the primary editor of the State of Minnesota Commercial Energy, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Building Codes used in Minnesota from 2008 to 2014.

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Live Burn By Scott E. Dillon, P.E.

Live Burn By Scott E. Dillon, P.E.

Crane Engineering recently sponsored a unique live burn program as part of the 2018 DRI Fire Science and Litigation seminar held in Washington, DC on September 12, 2018. For this year’s event, DRI decided to do something a little different from years past - four vendors working in the area of fire investigation sponsored, developed and led a live fire training program on the day prior to the biennial DRI seminar. Crane Engineering was one of the four vendors that sponsored and participated in the program.

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Metallurgical Evaluation from a Referee Standpoint by Lloyd C. Meissner, P.E.

Metallurgical Evaluation from a Referee Standpoint by Lloyd C. Meissner, P.E.

Gun manufacturers take great pride in not just the functionality of a gun, but also, the aesthetics of it.  Some firearms are designed to have a mirror finish on their zinc die cast hardware.  This hardware is polished to a high luster and then copper/nickel plated for corrosion protection and beauty. 

Recently, I was called by a firearms manufacturer who found a number of very small visual defects – nicknamed “stardust” – on random lots of material.  These defects were typically less than 0.003” diameter (smaller than the diameter of a human hair) but still detracted from the shininess of the firearm. 

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Maintenance, the Art of Prevention by Matthew W. Wilber, CGE, CFEI

Maintenance, the Art of Prevention by Matthew W. Wilber, CGE, CFEI

The gas grill, it’s a very simple and popular appliance. A 2017 survey conducted by the Hearth Patio and Barbeque Association[1] indicates that 64% of the respondents owned a gas grill. Typically, a gas grill burns natural gas or propane, but butane grills are also available.

Turn it on and gas is delivered to the burner, you light the burner and the inside of the grill heats up. When your food is cooked you turn it off until next time. Many gas grill owners will follow that process until something doesn’t work.

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Employee Spotlight: Andrew Rynda, E.I.T.

Employee Spotlight:  Andrew Rynda, E.I.T.

Mechanical Engineering Specialist, Andrew Rynda, is Crane Engineering’s newest staff member. He is experienced in building mechanical systems including HVAC, plumbing, building automation, fire protection, and fuel gas systems. He has investigated fire, explosion, and carbon monoxide incidents related to mechanical systems and equipment.  Andrew is an E.I.T. with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.  His work so far at Crane Engineering has been highly beneficial, especially at a rate of $175.00, he’s able to assist with the workload of some of our senior staff.

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Crane Calendar

August 2-3:  Catch up with Jim Panko at our booth at the Wisconsin Defense Counsel Summer Conference in Wisconsin Dells.  Check out conference sessions and register here

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Message from Tom Crane

Message from Tom Crane

For more than 40 years we’ve strived to be the best. It’s required eagerness, pure effort and constant evaluation. We care deeply about what we do and we take our roles very seriously. At the center of it all, always, is our employees. I learn from our employees and I am inspired by them, and Safety Engineering Associates has immeasurably added to that since our companies merged four and a half years ago.

That in mind, we recently made the decision to consolidate our Madison operations into our headquarters in the Twin Cities. I realize this means change and unknowns, and it will create some stress in transition. But I also ultimately believe this is what is best for Crane Engineering, and all of our team.

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Defense Verdict in Case Involving Unstable Motorcycle by Curtis Beloy, P.E.

Defense Verdict in Case Involving Unstable Motorcycle by Curtis Beloy, P.E.

A motorcycle customization business faced a lawsuit after a motorcycle it had worked on crashed on an open section of freeway in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The motorcyclist was on the first day of a riding trip and was accelerating to catch up to her riding group when she lost control of her motorcycle and crashed.  The plaintiff claimed her crash and injuries were a result of improper fitment of a rear tire that was installed on her motorcycle just prior to her trip.  It was argued the defendant installed a tire on her rear rim that did not provide sufficient clearance to the surrounding motorcycle parts.  The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert identified tire rub marks on the inside edges of the rear fender and the inner edge of the drive belt. 

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Crane Staff Members Contribute to 2018 NFPA 54 Handbook Revisions

Crane Staff Members Contribute to 2018 NFPA 54 Handbook Revisions

The National Fuel Gas Code Handbook (NFPA 54/ANSI Z223.1) explains in plain language technical aspects of NFPA 54 requirements.  Included in the handbook are explanations of fuel gas safety concepts that engineers, technicians, contractors and consultants use to ensure fuel gas piping, appliances and venting are installed safely. NFPA 54 is a vital investigation tool used by our engineers while investigating accidents involving fuel gas.

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Maintenance and the Standard of Care By Steve Hamilton, P.E.

Maintenance and the Standard of Care By Steve Hamilton, P.E.

Maintenance should be a key consideration when investigating the failure of a piece of equipment. Most equipment requires some level of maintenance.  Combustion engines require oil changes; furnaces require filter changes.  Insurance policies have property exclusions that can vary widely, including “wear and tear” situations that can be avoided with proper maintenance. There are several established philosophies to maintenance that cover a spectrum of care.  The standard of care for maintenance will vary depending on many variables. 

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Rogue Particles: Sometimes It’s the Little Things By Mark Weiss

Rogue Particles: Sometimes It’s the Little Things  By Mark Weiss

The presence of particulate matter in devices is a common concern. Often the particles are of obvious origin, but sometimes the origin is unclear. When the origin is unclear, analysis of the particles along with a bill of materials for the device/project may combine to identify the source. In other cases, multiple components may come together to form a new compound or precipitate that is different from the materials used in the system and a more complex analysis is required.  

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Reverse Engineering By Lloyd Meissner, P.E.

Reverse Engineering By Lloyd Meissner, P.E.

Reverse engineering can be defined as the process of obtaining design information from a product or assembly.  This may be one of your company’s legacy products, a product from a company you may have recently acquired or a competitor’s product for benchmarking purposes.  This process begins with data and information gathering using a variety of techniques. This data is then compiled into a detailed component or assembly drawing that was previously unavailable.

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Virtual Testing: Use of Computer Simulation for Better Products By Christopher J. Brand, P.E.

Virtual Testing: Use of Computer Simulation for Better Products By Christopher J. Brand, P.E.

Physical testing can be costly and time consuming in the product development process. Physical prototypes need to be created, then the test hardware needs to be procured, data logging needs to be setup, etc. Furthermore, the tests may not yield expected or desirable results thus necessitating the proverbial “back to the drawing board.” This holds true whether one is testing a product like an entire automobile or just a component of that vehicle’s suspension. Therefore, reducing the number of testing iterations is obviously desirable.

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From Uptown to Downtown: Issues Regarding Mixed-Use Multi-Level Construction James Panko, P.E.; Scott A. Nesvold, P.E.; Andrew J. Thielen, P.E.

From Uptown to Downtown: Issues Regarding Mixed-Use Multi-Level Construction James Panko, P.E.; Scott A. Nesvold, P.E.; Andrew J. Thielen, P.E.

Multi-story wood construction has been a popular trend in recent years. The building codes are changing to allow larger and taller buildings to be constructed using wood.  Wood construction can be less expensive and faster to construct than other alternatives.  This presentation will discuss various issues that can arise from this type of construction including story shrinkage, façade systems, mechanical systems and fire protection issues. 

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Motor Vehicle Technology Trends—Forensic Engineering in the Approaching Age of Autonomous Vehicles Luis C. Flores, P.E. and Hernán Mercado-Corujo, P.E.

Motor Vehicle Technology Trends—Forensic Engineering in the Approaching Age of Autonomous Vehicles Luis C. Flores, P.E. and Hernán Mercado-Corujo, P.E.

From the time of its conception, dating back to Karl Benz’s Patent-Motorwagen in the late 1800s to the present, the automobile as we know it has been gradually evolving. Currently, there are various vehicle control systems in place, primarily designed to help the driver arrive at his or her destination in a safe manner. These can be found in a modern vehicle in the form of Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Lane Departure Warning; all which aim to keep a vehicle on track in the event of an emergency and ultimately lessen the potential consequences of human error.

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Carbon Monoxide Incident Investigations By Matthew W. Wilber, CGE, CFEI and Scott A. Sollars, P.E.

Carbon Monoxide Incident Investigations By Matthew W. Wilber, CGE, CFEI and Scott A. Sollars, P.E.

Any incident investigation can be challenging. Carbon monoxide (CO) incidents can be particularly complex. A CO incident is invariably a result of interactive conditions and/or actions within an enclosure or structure.

In this session we will discuss scene preservation requirements, early documentation needs, party identification, complex and interactive diagnostics, codes and standards involvement as well as how these issues might impact the litigation process.

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Crane Engineering Presents

Many of Crane Engineering's professional staff speak at events across the country.  Following are a couple events we have coming up next month:

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Note from Tom Crane, P.E.

Note from Tom Crane, P.E.

Nearly four years ago, Crane Engineering acquired Safety Engineering Associates to further bolster and broaden the expertise of both companies. I am proud of how the Crane and SEA personnel have come together and thrived since and during this transition.

It is now time to fully embrace one company identity and one brand. Safety Engineering Associates remains a vital part of Crane Engineering; the SEA brand, however, will be phased out over the next several months. 

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What Is That Goo? by Hernán Mercado-Corujo, P.E., CFEI, CVFI

What Is That Goo? by Hernán Mercado-Corujo, P.E., CFEI, CVFI

Clunking sounds, reduced engine power, wrecked hydraulic pumps. These are some of the symptoms of foreign substances making its way into an engine or transmission. Fuel and lubricants can become contaminated in several ways, including vandalism/fraud, inadvertent fluid mix-ups, and weather exposure, among others. If this happens on a piece of agricultural, industrial, or commercial equipment, the replacement and/or repair costs can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. For this reason, an inspection of the equipment along with the collection of substance samples may be worth the effort when analyzing, examining and assessing an engine or transmission failure claim.

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