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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.

Cooling Water Systems - 4 Good Reasons Why A Cold Eyes Review Could Be Essential

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An independent (3 rd party) assessment of your Cooling Water System by a Becht SME is highly recommended. There are several key Business Objectives that are addressed by this type of review. 1.  Is There a Plan In Place To Insure Equipment Is Not On The Verge Of Catastrophic Failure?  There are many documented instances of Cooling Towers collapsing from biological (fungal) attack on wood members or excessive weight due to ice, scale, or mud. Fiberglas towers have failed due to improper erection techniques. Frequent inspections are necessary to detect and avoid these conditions. Underground piping may corrode and cathodic protection systems may no longer provide adequate protection. Two common modes of failure on heat exchangers are pitting or stress corrosion cracking (SCC). In this last case, (failure by SCC), Becht worked with a client to retrofit the heat exchanger in place to insure that SCC would not re-occur.   2.  Have...
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Evaluation of Degraded and Nonconforming Conditions For ASME III and B31.1 and B31.7 Class 2 and Class 3 Pressure Boundary Nuclear Plant Components

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1.   Definitions 1.1    Degraded Condition A degraded condition as defined in NRC Inspection Manual 0326 Paragraph 03.02: “A degraded condition is one in which the qualification of an SSC or its functional capability is reduced. Examples of degraded conditions are failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, deviations, and defective material and equipment. Examples of conditions that can reduce the capability of a system are aging, erosion, corrosion, improper operation, and maintenance.” 1.2    Nonconforming Condition A nonconforming condition as defined in US NRC Inspection Manual 0326 Paragraph 03.06: “ A nonconforming condition is a condition of an SSC that involves a failure to meet the CLB or a situation in which quality has been reduced because of factors such as improper design, testing, construction, or modification. The following are examples of nonconforming conditions: An SSC fails to conform to one or more applicable codes or standards (e.g., the CFR, operating license, TSs, UFSAR, and/or licensee...
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Is Your Execution Contractor Ready for the Turnaround?

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In our experience as Turnaround Readiness reviewers and participating in lessons learned events, owners who pay close attention to contractor readiness end up with better turnaround performance.  While this seems an obvious observation, the details which emerge from lessons learned from post-turnaround reviews reveal the complexity and criticality of the Owner/Contractor relationship. Preliminary review of basic items such as the Contractor’s understanding of scope, critical path and scheduling are underpinned by a side by side review of specific contractor readiness: Critical path work packages should contain quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) definitions to assure effective work package turnover and the understanding for those owner/ contractor personnel required to sign off on the completed system.   Dimensionally check the spools versus cut points, validate the Bill of Materials versus warehouse package, and talk through the setup, execution and breakdown of the craft at the work point. Field walkout(s) of critical path packages between the...
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Why do Clamped Connections With Metallic Seals Sometimes Leak?

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Clamp connections with metallic seals can offer superior joint integrity over traditional flanged connections but caution must be exercised regarding the service conditions, especially when cyclic thermal loading is present. This blog post highlights aspects of a clamp connection analysis performed by Becht Engineering. The client had observed significant loss of bolt preload at several clamp connections installed in a refinery process unit where the fluid temperature regularly fluctuated by 700 o F. The client attempted to counteract the bolt preload loss by re-torqueing any bolts that showed a torque reduction from the initially applied torque only to find that, after a period during which thermal cycles occurred, the preload was again reduced. A typical clamp arrangement is seen in Figure 1 (with parts labeled). After reviewing the installation and service conditions, it was hypothesized that the cause of the bolt preload loss could be the differential thermal growth of the...
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