Why Following Correct Torque Procedures is Critical

Torque tools play a key role in ensuring safety and quality in a variety of industries. But these torque tools can only provide this quality when the correct torque procedures are followed. Click on the case studies below to read about what can go wrong when torque procedures aren’t followed correctly in a variety of industries.

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Red Dawn Engine Failure

Industry: Marine
  • $957,000 in damages

Offshore supply vessel Red Dawn suffered an engine failure while in the North Pacific Ocean due to what was likely improper torque procedures during an overhaul. The total damage was estimated to be $957,000.

The overhaul had been completed on all four engines less than a month prior to the incident by two Caterpillar technicians.

On the afternoon of the incident, 13th December 2017, Engine Numbers 1 and 4 were being used, however an alarm for Engine Number 4 started due to a high exhaust temperature. As a result, Engine Number 4 was shut down, and Engine Number 2 started up as its replacement.

However, when shutting down Engine Number 4 another alarm started, this time for the newly started Engine Number 2 which was warning the crew of low lube oil pressure. This alarm was then followed by another alarm for Engine Number 2, this time shutting the engine down. At the same time, the engineers heard the automatic startup of Engine Number 3, which was being cautiously used after an exhaust manifold leak during a past journey. Whilst Engine Number 3 was starting up, crew members heard an explosion and received a smoke alarm coming from the room where Engine Numbers 1 and 2 were located.

Upon investigating this room, the crew found a dense cloud of white smoke but no fire. Once the smoke had disappeared, they noted lube oil containing fragments of an engine was present on the deck next to Engine Number 2.

An investigation by the US National Transport Safety Board found that whilst the engine was running, the joint between one of the internal cylinder’s connecting rods and the rod cap became loose, resulting in the rod cap detaching from the crankshaft rod journal. This then caused a series of high energy collisions within the engine resulting in a large amount of damage. It was concluded that the connecting rod and the rod cap coming loose was likely to be a consequence of the fixing bolts having been under-torqued during the overhaul a few weeks before the incident.