Product Liability

Design Failure or Operator Error?

Shown in trial and won. Turn up the volume for narration.

Ethylene Pump

Accident reconstruction animation about ethylene pump failure case created by our team of professionals.

Starting the pump before all the nitrogen bled out led to serious problems. The animation shows nitrogen bubbles forming and going through the pump causing damage to the bushing and shaft. This damage was caused because there was improper lubrication in the system due to improper operation.

In this animation we show how the pump was supposed to be operated and show it working correctly. Both valves (the discharge and the suction valves) are open. When the suction valve is open the ethylene (showed in yellow) begins to fill the nitrogen pad. The ethylene acts as a lubricant so it prevents the damage of the shaft and bushing. We can see that the ethylene properly fills up the void, bleeding out the nitrogen, and we have proper rotation in the pump. The pump is operating correctly causing NO damage to the bushings.

This is an illustration of the sequence that the pump operator should have followed, but they did not.

The pump was operated improperly causing the damage to the bushings. This resulted in 2 weeks delay with no pumping from this 9 stage centrifugal pump. For every hour, $100,000 was lost.

Product Liability

Whether it’s a design flaw or user error, in a product liability case, there will be complications. Maybe the bearings on a machine weren’t lubricated properly, but the manufacturer also produced below standard bearings. In any case, an animation can provide clarity where there was confusion. In modern society, people gain most of their information via a digital medium, and pictures have become more crucial to our information processing than ever. 

How many times have you heard somebody say “I’m a visual learner, I need to be able to see it to understand it”? Humans are growing increasingly dependent on visual media for their information, and from an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense. People are able to process information faster when it’s presented visually. 

Simon Thorpe says in his abstract for an article for Nature: “How long does it take for the human visual system to process a complex natural image? Subjectively, recognition of familiar objects and scenes appears to be virtually instantaneous, but measuring this processing time experimentally has proved difficult. Behavioural measures such as reaction times can be used1, but these include not only visual processing but also the time required for response execution. However, event-related potentials (ERPs) can sometimes reveal signs of neural processing well before the motor output2. Here we use a go/no-go categorization task in which subjects have to decide whether a previously unseen photograph, flashed on for just 20 ms, contains an animal. ERP analysis revealed a frontal negativity specific to no-go trials that develops roughly 150 ms after stimulus onset. We conclude that the visual processing needed to perform this highly demanding task can be achieved in under 150 ms.”

Thorpe, S., Fize, D. & Marlot, C. (1996). Speed of processing in the human visual system, Nature, Vol 381.

Legal Animation for Product Liability by Fox AE

When attempting to understand the ins and outs of a product liability case, people should be given every advantage to succeed, and that is possible with an animation. At Fox-AE, we understand the importance of timing in a visual, and we intentionally pause our animations at key moments so that the viewer can soak in the information that’s being provided. 

Jordan Peterson said in an interview “Human beings are visual animals. Half of our brain is taken up by visual processes, and we’re much more visual than virtually any other animal.” What this entails is that people need to be able to see something to fully comprehend it. Peterson, Jordan (Host) 08/01/2022 “Beyond Order: Rule 3 – Do Not Hide Unwanted Things in the Fog” Ep. 275 [Audio Podcast Episode] The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast

To summarize, humans can see things for even a very short period of time, and gather a relatively large amount of information from that quick visual. If 20 thousandths of a second is enough time to distinguish whether or not an animal is present in a picture, imagine what humans could do with a comfortable amount of time watching a video. Product liability cases have historically been very challenging to describe to a jury, but animations can drastically simplify the process.

Fox Animation Engineering - Industry Leader for Legal Graphics

Ultimately, Fox-AE is able to provide illustrations for all kinds of cases. Whether it’s product liability or accident reconstruction, we’re able to gather an enormous amount of complex information, and condense it into a relatively short video that anybody could understand.

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