Asset management is a key operational issue in many types of pressure equipment, including pressure vessels, piping, pumps, and compressors. Frequently “new construction” design standards do not address degradation mechanisms and failure modes which may be experienced in practice. Aging equipment is also in-service at many facilities which records may be limited or non-existent. Failure modes and degradation mechanisms, such as corrosion, erosion, fatigue, and stress corrosion cracking, are often not evaluated during the initial design and fabrication process for many reasons. Reliability of systems can be greatly impacted by degrading condition of equipment, leading to loss of production, down time, and difficult planning in the replacement of capital assets.
Industry is also challenged with trying to comply with rules such as found in OSHA 1910.119 regarding “Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice (RAGAGEP)” particularly for equipment used to process, store, or handle highly hazardous chemicals and ensure it is designed, constructed, installed, and maintained to minimize the risk of release of such chemicals. A program such as this would include:
- the identification and categorization of equipment and instrumentation
- development of written maintenance procedures
- training for process maintenance activities
- inspection and testing
- identify deficiencies that are outside acceptable limits defined by the process safety information
- development of a quality assurance program
SI specializes in development of asset management programs which leverage multidisciplinary skill sets to ensure the integrity and reliability of key assets. Ideally, this would begin with the conceptual design of the equipment but can be instituted at any point throughout the life. SI uses a programmatic approach to this which includes several components to the program:
- Confirmation of design basis of the equipment and the ability to meet modern design Standards
- Evaluation of the life of the equipment using “state-of-the-art” methods
- Development of “state-of-the-art” Non-Destructive examination techniques to get accurate assessment of equipment condition
- Performance of a complete baseline inspection of all critical areas of the equipment
- Establishment of a long-term inspection and monitoring plan for the equipment including
- Techniques to be used
- Methods of implementation
- Acceptance criteria that form the basis for life analysis
- Criteria for the long term “retirement” of the equipment
SI utilizes many industry standards for life assessment of many components, including methods of API 579-1/ ASME FFS-1 Fitness for Service Standard, BS-7910 Guide to methods for assessing the acceptability of flaws in metallic structures, and many others. It is recognized that many of the construction codes are quite conservative in the evaluation of the life of a component and methods for life beyond the original design code are often necessary. This follows guidance from ASME Post Construction standards to justify the extension of the life and inspection intervals for the equipment.
SI’s advanced NDE solutions can often lead to high resolution of inspection processes which are able to detect smaller flaws and with more detail than traditional NDE methods. The ability to find smaller flaws often time can lead to exponentially longer life for key assets and maximize the amount of time between required in-service inspections. This potentially coupled with on-line monitoring when needed can provide a high level of confidence in your operations.
SI also leverages the concept of risk in the inspection planning process. This can be customized to utilize either qualitative, quantitative or a hybrid semi-quantitative approach to minimize risk in the operation of the equipment. SI has experts in statistically analyzing process data for this purpose as well as the methods of expert elicitation for a quantitative approach.
Proper asset management is paramount in reliable long-term operation of key assets without failure and to minimize operational interruptions. SI can be a key partner to ensure long term, successful reliable operation of your key assets.