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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.

Identifying Gaps in Risk Based Inspection Programs (RBI) That Impact Reliability

heater-tube-bundle
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...
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Reducing Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC's) in a Refinery

cover-LOPCs
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. Background Many refineries have had Mechanical Integrity related audits performed during the last decade.  These audits have found many areas for improvements and programs were initiated...
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Capturing the Reliability Prize – Leadership, Vision, & Commitment

Capturing the Reliability Prize – Leadership, Vision, & Commitment
Reliable operations is a key business objective for nearly every manufacturing plant due to global economic pressures and increasing Process Safety Management (PSM) requirements. Pacesetter sites that have been successful in achieving long-term reliability are characterized by Business Units empowered and accountable to meet their reliability targets. Structured work processes, with specialist support, provide the foundation for Business Unit Reliability Improvement Plans.   We find that sites that lack the organizational readiness and expertise languish in the 3 rd or 4 th quartile for reliability performance. Becht Engineering Company subscribes to a holistic risk management philosophy through a Reliability Management System (RMS) that crosses all major departments at a facility. This approach separates us from our competitors who offer Risk-based Inspection (RBI) tools, which is only one element of the program. Experience indicates that programs such as ours comply with the intent of PSM regulations and drive efficiency in maintenance dollars. In...
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Refrigerated Storage Tanks – Managing Operational Integrity

Refrigerated Storage Tanks – Managing Operational Integrity
Refrigerated Liquefied Storage Tanks have been used for over 60 years in the industry. A significant number of these tanks store liquefied Propane and Butane, Ethylene and LNG and Ammonia. The stored fluids are at atmospheric pressures with temperatures which range from -45 F to -270 Failures of refrigerated tanks have been quite infrequent over the past 50 years. However, in each of these incidents there was catastrophic damage to the tank and its environment. In view of this history, Industry Standards and Operating & Maintenance practices place a rigorous emphasis in managing tank safety and integrity. Background At a major Refrigerated Storage Tank Terminal, the Operators were confronted with a need to remove a large dome roofed LPG tank from service to internally inspect the bottom plates for structural integrity. The concern arose from the discovery of “cold zones” (icing up) at localized areas in the tank foundation - which...
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