Considerations in Selection of RBI Tools

Considerations in Selection of RBI Tools

becht engineering BlackBoxRBI tool blogImageThe world of reliability is shifting from a calendar based approach to a smarter, risk-based approach in the hydrocarbon production and refining world.  The leadership teams are now expecting a risk-based program in place for minimizing the HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) and economic consequences as much as possible.  Some states have mandated the use of risk-based inspection (RBI) programs.  For example, California has mandated all refineries submit a full schedule of planned turnarounds, by mid-September  for the following calendar year (per sections 7872 and 7873 of the labor code added September 20th, 2014).  One of the requirements in section 7872 is to allow the division/state to review the risk-based inspection reports and corrosion reports generated since the last turnaround.  The California Refinery PSM board also proposed an element named “Damage Mechanism Review” to be added to existing PSM standards in September 2014.

Based on Becht Engineering’s experience, we have highlighted some of the challenges that confront a Reliability Manager when evaluating the acceptability of an RBI Tool or RBI Work Process.  We have summarized many of these items in the graphic below.  When integrating into existing Reliability planning processes, it should be recognized that most of these tools offer a “Black Box” approach — addressing loss of containment of the primary pressure boundary (Safety, Health & Environment).  However, these tools do not permit an assessment of scenarios which cause unplanned equipment outages due to a loss of its process function (e.g. heat exchanger fouling, damage to internal baffles, screen plugging etc).  Such scenarios can have a significant impact on the mechanical availability of equipment and hence on overall reliability of the Unit. 

Some of the challenges in using a Black Box type RBI tool are indicated in the image below.  They are grouped into three areas.  The first group outlines the problems associated with having no internal risk assessment and how that affects the ability of decision making for a future RBI program.  The second group captures the issues with the integration of a Black Box RBI tool into existing work processes/tools at a facility.  The business impacts and management level decision making problems after implementing a Black Box are summarized in the third group.  While most of the Black Box tools would make the plant compliant with regulatory requirement, these often do not touch on reliability improvement and streamlining the work process with optimum resources. 

becht engineering BlackBoxRBI tool

When developing plans/strategies to improve and sustain equipment reliability, it is important to evaluate failure scenarios; one of which includes the impact from loss of integrity and/or equipment functionality.  This holistic approach to reliability improvement necessitates a work process (to drive the tool) and participation from Operations, Maintenance, and Technical personnel on the Unit.  Using an RBI tool (BLACK BOX) without a reliability driven work process, limits the potential to improve plant reliability.  The RBI tool should enable the risk assessment process instead of driving it.

Becht Engineering’s Reliability Group has developed more than 50,000 risk-based asset strategies in refining and producing facilities worldwide.  These strategies were developed for Clients with commercially available software (Maximo, Meridium, STIER (Becht software, see below), EAM, and SAP etc.).  Our deliverables are supported by a Knowledge Base and the strategy tasks are integrated with existing Reliability and CMMS plans. 

For more information on what the Becht Engineering Reliability Group can do for you, please CLICK HERE or feel free to contact us by clicking the link below.

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Additionally, you may be interested in Becht’s STIER Program – a software tool for automating your RBI strategy.



About The Author

Dheeraj has a strong foundation in developing Risk Based Reliability Plans for hydrocarbon facilities. He holds a MS (Mechanical Engineering) from Michigan Technological University and is pursuing his Certifications for API 571 (Advanced Corrosion and Materials Program) and API 580 (Advanced Risk Based Inspection Program). He has played leadership roles in large scale hydrocarbon construction/commissioning projects prior to exploring the world of Reliability and Maintenance at Becht Engineering.

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