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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

Hurricane Harvey Recovery - Methodical Steps to Restart Your Plant

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I personally went through Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike during my career living in the Gulf Coast. Restarting our plants after these storms was challenging, home life was miserable without power for three weeks and traveling over 100 miles north to find gasoline, food and water for family and neighbors was time consuming and hazardous. However, this experience pales in comparison to the challenges faced by families and operating companies from Houston to Corpus Christ and beyond recovering from the unprecedented events cause by Hurricane Harvey. In this posting, I identify the challenges faced with our employees and plants as we restarted after these storms. Becht hopes this blog will help you and your companies through these trying times. Many of the personnel at Becht Engineering have been through hurricane recovery , plant restarts and emergency situations. Please contact us if we can help. These important points must be considered as...
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Making Bad Actor Elimination Programs Work

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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 . The second part in this series is titled Reliability Beliefs - Driving Organizational Accountability (click) 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...
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Due Diligence - Front End Loading for Plant Acquisitions

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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 to...
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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 and...
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