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Becht Engineering Blog

In this section of the site contributing authors submit interesting articles relating to the various services, industries and research & development efforts of Becht Engineering.

Rick Hoffman joined Becht Engineering in June, 2009 as a Senior Engineering Advisor. He has more than 39 years experience in engineering, reliability management and maintenance in the refining, petrochemical and synthetic fuels industries.

Prior to joining Becht Engineering he was the Director, Specialty Engineering for LyondellBasell Industries. In this role he had worldwide responsibility for corporate technical support, mechanical engineering and maintenance for more than 40 chemical plants and two refineries. He was also responsible for capital project support, setting the strategic direction for Lyondell maintenance

Making Bad Actor Elimination Programs Work

bad_actor_removal-Becht
This is the first in a series of Blogs on improving plant reliability programs through improvements in culture, programs and equipment performance.  This Blog focuses on Bad Actor Elimination .  Most plants have many pieces of equipment that are chronic problems.  In some operations machinery can be the leading cause of outage while in others solids handling equipment, aggressive corrosion, erosion of parts or power failures are the issue.  Problems can also be traced back to lack of procedures, poor employee morale or lack of training.  These problems impact profitability due to frequency of outage, cost of repairs and cost of lost production.    ...studies have shown the cost of unplanned and emergency work is about four times the cost of planned work... Many studies have shown the cost of unplanned and emergency work is about four times the cost of planned work.  This is due to pulling people off...
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Due Diligence - Front End Loading for Plant Acquisitions

due_diligence_becht
In many cases operating companies and financial institutions utilize Due Diligence studies for critical input on “Go/No Go” decisions for plant acquisitions.  Once the decision is made to purchase the plant, the Due Diligence study is often put on the shelf.  The company purchasing the new asset then faces significant challenges integrating the asset into the enterprise culture, implementing enterprise procedures and standards, capturing and implementing best practices and evaluating the quality of the team at the new plant.  A well executed Due Diligence study can play an important role in the rapid integration of a new acquisition into the existing enterprise from an expectations and culture standpoint.  This process using the Due Diligence study as a road map can be viewed as a type of “Front End Loading” for plant acquisitions.  An experienced Due Diligence team can quickly identify a number of issues that the new owner will have...
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Importance of Codes and Standards for Process Safety

Importance of Codes and Standards for Process Safety
Compliance with the Process Safety Management rule, OSHA 1910.119, is a requirement for plants processing certain highly hazardous materials exceeding threshold quantities. The rule requires the owner to demonstrate all equipment has been purchased and installed in accordance with recognized industry standards. Maintenance practices must also be according to Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice (RAGAGEP) . The owner must document this information as part of the Process Safety Information and Mechanical Integrity program for the plant. Use of Codes The use of codes and standards can help assure compliance with the rule. For example ASME Section VIII is the recognized code for construction of pressure vessels operating in the United States at pressures over 15 psi. It would be difficult to debate vessels could be designed and built to other requirements and still be acceptable under the PSM rule. Codes such as the ASME code have been developed...
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PSM Implementation is a Challenge -- Maintaining Compliance is Even Harder

PSM Implementation is a Challenge -- 
Maintaining Compliance is Even Harder
The Process Safety Management rule (PSM), OSHA 1910.119, was implemented in the early 90’s, more than 20 years ago. Implementation was driven by a number of tragic accidents in the process industry. However, despite the long history of the rule and multiple preventable, catastrophic incidents, many companies still have not fully implemented PSM. Companies that have implemented the PSM rule often find it very challenging to maintain compliance.  Becht Engineering has conducted numerous PSM, due diligence and mechanical integrity audits and discovered deficiencies in PSM compliance. We have even discovered major gaps in some facilities that have done well during OSHA audits. These plants were generally located where there are limited numbers of hydrocarbon and chemical processing facilities. OSHA simply lacked the local resources and skills to perform adequate audits. These plants can be highly vulnerable to both incidents and fines since they may assume everything is in compliance. In...
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