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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.

Eight Pillars Of Excellent FEMI Programs

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INTRODUCTIONA refinery or chemical plant Fixed Equipment Mechanical Integrity (FEMI) program consists of eight basic categories or “Pillars” that are fundamental to achieve FEMI excellence. While every refinery or chemical plant has some form of these Pillars in place, they are often inadequately implemented or have significant gaps in the key elements that make up a complete Pillar. This paper describes these Pillars in detail and suggests what distinguishes good Pillars from those that are less than adequate.This article has been published previously in Inspectioneering Magazine - 2019 November/December Issue. If you would like to view the PDF of the article, CLICK HERE. The Eight Pillars of FEMI are:General and OrganizationResourcesCorrosion ManagementInspection Planning and SchedulingInspection NDERecordsRecommendationsInformation TechnologyTypically, when a FEMI audit is performed for a refinery or chemical plant, each one of these Pillars is reviewed and scored. The following sections provide an overview of the elements each Pillar should contain, as...
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Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs), a Key Piece to Your Integrity Program, But Where Else Should They Be Integrated?

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Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs) are a key component of a world class mechanical integrity program.  IOWs are not a new concept, as they have been around in different forms for many years.  However, with the publication of the first edition of API RP 584, Integrity Operating Windows, in 2014 and the more recent first edition of API 970, Corrosion Control Documents, in 2018, more focus has been placed on these limits within the refining industry.IOWs can be defined as established limits for process parameters that affect the integrity of equipment and piping when operations deviate from these limits.  API 584 defines IOWs in three categories:Critical – Parameters where rapid deterioration occurs when the limit is exceeded (typically hours to days)Standard – Parameter where exceedances over a specified period of time will cause increased degradation (typically weeks to months or within a turnaround interval)Informational – Parameters monitored for long-term damage mechanismsWhile setting...
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Identifying Gaps in Risk Based Inspection Programs (RBI) That Impact Reliability

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Risk based inspection (RBI) is a powerful tool to identify and manage mechanical integrity risks in fixed equipment and piping but is only one part of a robust reliability program.  RBI informs inspection decision making on where, when and how to inspect most of equipment but is frequently misinterpreted as a “Silver Bullet” that covers all necessary inspection activities in a refinery.  Most RBI programs have significant gaps that can result in costly reliability issues or unjustified maintenance costs. RBI gaps can exist where risk assessments require input from outside of an inspection department or mechanical integrity group.  Examples of these gaps are when failures have process consequences but not mechanical integrity concerns, such as tube leaks in shell and tube heat exchangers and cyclones in an FCC Unit.  Another example is when mechanical integrity is dependent upon other systems functioning per design, such as fired heater tubes.  Quantitative RBI Programs are...
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Reducing Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC's) in a Refinery

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Reducing Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC's) or commonly referred to as “leaks” in a refinery is a key factor to improve reliability.  Historically, most refiners reduced the high consequence leaks to avoid major incidents; however, lower consequence related leaks were not given high priority.  Today high reliability is required, and reduction of all leaks is desired due to greater legal and regulatory oversight of the industry.  Approximately 90% of the leaks occur in piping systems.  These leaks typically fall into 3 categories; internal corrosion, flange leaks and external corrosion.  Many refiners have programs in place for internal corrosion and programs for flanged joints; however, many lack comprehensive programs for external corrosion. To fully reduce LOPCs a comprehensive internal and external corrosion management system is necessary.BackgroundMany refineries have had Mechanical Integrity related audits performed during the last decade.  These audits have found many areas for improvements and programs were initiated to address...
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