Forensic Engineering

Midé’s broad range of technical expertise, coupled with the real-world industrial experience of our key personnel, and our world-class test facilities, makes us the ideal company to turn to for forensic analysis and incident reconstruction. We apply the same systems engineering approach used in the aerospace industry to forensic engineering efforts, giving us a uniquely wide field-of-view when beginning a new investigation. Midé covers an investigation from problem definition, through analysis and modeling, to testing and simulation of failure conditions. Armed with this information, we closely support our clients in their pre-trial efforts and settlement negotiations. And when a case does go to trial, our senior personnel provide seasoned expert witness testimony in deposition and in the courtroom.

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Drawing upon our practical experience in R&D and product development, Midé understands the importance of the balance between the thoroughness required to make a case watertight and the clarity needed to make it comprehensible while keeping costs under control. To achieve this goal Midé has at its disposal the expertise of a talented team of engineers and the tools, facilities, and program management skills needed to leverage it cost-effectively. This is why Midé has found its forensic engineering services in high demand by law firms and insurance companies seeking objective analyses of systems failures.

"I would like to thank you ... and your team at Midé Technology for the work you did in this case. Your [pre-trial] work and subsequent testimony was a big reason that we won this trial. The fact that this was a 3-week trial and the jury took less than two hours to deliberate is an indication of just how strong and one-sided our victory was. The work [Midé] did in this case was impeccable....

The judge... felt that you came across as the most intelligent expert [the jury] heard. Considering that the jury heard from six different experts regarding [the] issues in this case, you should be very proud of the work you did and the testimony you provided."

The above excerpt from a letter to Midé’s President, Dr. Marthinus Van Schoor, from Attorney Stephen Harants, of Miller Carson Boxburger & Murphy LLP is typical of the responses we get after completing forensic engineering and expert witness projects for clients in the legal and insurance industries.

Midé is a compact, fast-moving technology company with core competencies in structural mechanics, sensing, electronics, controls, and testing. Our main focus is the development of high-value technology solutions to real world industrial problems. We chose to enter the forensic engineering business in 2002 because we enjoy the fast-paced problem solving challenges these investigations present. Midé’s record of success in our core business areas gives us a degree of credibility not found in typical forensics and expert witness consultants. Our close affiliation with a pool of outside expertise from MIT and elsewhere, coupled with the expertise of our dedicated in-house group of skilled professionals (1/3rd of us hold advanced engineering degrees), gives us an extraordinary ability to be responsive while maintaining a depth of technical understanding that is rare in the forensics field.


Forensic Engineering Case Studies


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SilkAir 185 - On December 19, 1997 a Boeing 737-300 aircraft operated by SilkAir airlines crashed while en route to Jakarta from Singapore. The aircraft took off at 15:37 local time and climbed as directed to 35,000 feet, where it maintained cruise flight conditions for approximately twelve minutes without incident. At 16:05, the cockpit voice recorded (CVR) stopped and approximately six minutes later the flight data recorder stopped. Within two minutes, the aircraft began a rapid descent and crashed with the loss of aircraft and all persons onboard. To assist one of the defendants in the case, Midé engineers and scientists developed a state-of-the-art six degree-of-freedom simulation model to examine flight control inputs that would result in the descent flight path during which the aircraft's speed went supersonic. Since only radar data was available, Midé engineers developed probability models to describe the aircraft's flight path. In addition to the flight mechanics and autopilot investigations, Midé also examined the probability that the CVR and FDR would fail within sox minutes after only 2,800 flight hours. Weibull distribution based predictions concluded that such an occurrence is very unlikely. Midé electrical engineers performed an FMEA (Failure Mechanisms, Effects and Criticality Analysis) to examine electrical failure modes that would lead to the near simultaneous failure of the CVR and FDR.

Automotive & Electronics

Adaptive Driving Systems (Drive by Wire) - Midé is providing Forensic Engineering services on a number of cases, fatal and non-fatal, involving an Electronic Driving System fitted to fans for handicapped people. Midé engineers have examined the electronic design from a quality, safety, reliability and redundancy point of view.


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Scheering-Plow – Midé assisted a team of experts in negotiating a favorable settlement involving the explosion of a polymer-nitroglycerine mix. Midé provided laboratory testing of the pneumatic pump that initiated the explosion. Midé engineers were responsible for measuring the fundamental characteristics of the pump using off the shelf and innovative, in-house developed sensors. After identifying the main failure mechanism, Midé supported accident re-construction visualization using in-house developed models.


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R.R. Donnelly - Midé successfully helped NTS in a case involving the collapse of a large steel shelving system at R.R. Donnelly. During a shift change most of the storage facility's racks collapsed but there were fortunately no fatalities. The wreckage covered the most of the storage facility and had to be removed with heavy machinery. Possible failure mechanisms for this large metal frame-structure included poor welds and buckling (local or global). Detailed Finite Element Analyses were conducted and laboratory tests were performed. The studies showed that a poor joint design was to blame for the low buckling strength of the steel structure.

For more information:
Please contact Attila (Products), or call: 781-306-0609 x225