Water Damage to Knitting Machines?

25 April 2016
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Davis French and Associates (DF&A) were instructed to assess three industrial knitting machines that had been exposed to water from above and were now not working. The policyholder had involved the machines’ manufacturer whose report stated that it was not possible to test the machines as they could not be powered up and, due to their ages, it was unlikely that replacement parts would still be available. It was reported that at the time of the manufacturer’s visit there were signs of water to the top and rear of the machines and also around the feet. DF&A had been advised that the policyholder removed the majority of water and oiled mechanical components to mitigate the damage.

DF&A attended site to inspect the machines and found evidence of water splash marks and rusting to loose metal items that were lying on the top covers. This type of damage is consistent with water penetration from above however the staining can be removed quite easily and would not affect the performance of the machines. The internal workings of one machine were then inspected with no evidence of any rust corrosion and there were no signs of water marking to the considerable layer of dust inside.

Unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion a follow up visit was organised, this time with an independent knitting machine engineer with experience of repairing these types of machines. It quickly became apparent why one machine was not working; the power supply/regulator unit was missing from inside the control cabinet.

The second machine was inspected internally and again there was no evidence of damage caused by water. The mechanical components were well lubricated and moved freely. Inside the electrical control cabinet there were no signs of water penetration, however there was corrosion near to an internal battery used for the machine’s memory back-up. The likely cause of the corrosion was due to the battery being over-charged and venting off corrosive fumes. This was confirmed when the engineer powered up the machine to perform some function tests. The display terminal defaulted to a Japanese text, consistent on a machine of this type with a failed memory due to no working back-up battery. The engineer then identified a loose cable to a socket at the rear of the control panel. When reconnected the machine powered up correctly and was found to be in operational condition.

The engineer powered up machine three, which revealed error messages relating to an internal power supply regulator located within the electrical control cabinet. Two fuses were also found to be blown and one of the fuse holders had oily residues within, consistent with an over-heating problem and nothing to do with a possible exposure to water.

In the case of all three knitting machines malfunctioning, DF&A were able to conclusively report that the escape of water incident was not the cause of the problems.

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