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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.

Reliability Program Implementation and High Altitude Climbing - What They Have in Common

mt-everest
This is the third in a series of Blogs on improving plant reliability performance through changes in culture, programs, equipment design, maintenance and operation.   [Click link to review   Making Bad Actor Elimination Programs Work ; or the second blog, Reliability Beliefs - Driving Organizational Accountability ]    This blog compares experiences in successful high-altitude expedition climbing and the effort to implement a true world-class reliability program in your plant.  The similarities of implementing a strong reliability program and climbing a big mountain became apparent a number of years ago during the planning stages for a climb on Kilimanjaro.   This peak is the highest point in Africa and one of the “Seven Summits” or highest points on the seven continents.   From an altitude standpoint, Kilimanjaro at 19,340 feet is in the middle of the pack with 3 summits higher and 3 that are lower than “Kili.” Although Kilimanjaro is a walk up, it...
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Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) – A Key Element to Improved Reliability

Becht_Engineering-RCFA
Many companies and organizations have been on the reliability journey for a number of years, while others are just beginning.  There are many elements of a solid reliability program – establishing a reliability centered culture, tracking key metrics, bad actor elimination programs and establishing equipment reliability plans – to name a few.  But, one key element to a solid reliability program, and one that is very important to improving unit reliability metrics, is root cause failure analysis (RCFA). Historically, various methods have been used over time to assist in RCFA – Why Tree Analysis, 5-Whys, and Fishbone Diagrams.  However, one common tool to facilitate and document the RCFA is a Cause Map, or Cause and Effect Diagram.  Cause Mapping is a very flexible platform, which allows utilization for any type of failure investigation, regardless of equipment type, industry, or complexity.  Cause Mapping starts with a primary effect – where the...
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Are Your Heaters Affecting Your Reliability?

Becht_blog_heaters_reliability
From a process standpoint, your Fired Equipment items are not only some of the most critical but some of the most risky items in day-to-day operations. Add in the presence of open flames and failures can be dramatic.  In today’s refining climate, fired equipment is required to run 4, 5, 6 or even 7 years between outages.  To achieve a reliable operation for runs of this length, a solid shutdown, maintenance, inspection, repair, and start-up strategy is critical. Recently a Midwest refinery contracted Becht Engineering to complete a detailed review of their fired equipment for an upcoming turnaround.  Becht used a team of experienced refining experts to provide an in-depth review of more than a dozen fired equipment items.  To provide a holistic approach, Becht utilized experts with backgrounds in process engineering, heat transfer, mechanical integrity, inspection, and operations.  The goal of the review was to ensure the fired equipment...
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CalOSHA Update – Damage Mechanism Reviews (DMR)

cal-osha
On May 18, 2017, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Occupational Safety and Health Standards (CalOSHA) board approved a new regulation that changes how Process Safety Management (PSM) is handled for oil refineries within the state of California.  This regulation was approved in response to high-profile industry incidents in the state of California in the last 5 to 10 years.  The new regulation introduces a “refinery safety order” that will be enforced by the PSM unit within CalOSHA ( CLICK HERE for the regulation ).  Some key elements introduced in this regulation are: Damage Mechanism Reviews (DMR's) – Reviews that consider where corrosion, mechanical damage, environmental cracking, etc. are identified for process equipment; Hierarchy of Hazard Controls Analysis – A review to identify appropriate the most appropriate means for managing hazards; Human Factors Program – Analysis of personnel related factors such as employee fatigue, staffing levels, shift turnover, and training;...
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