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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.

Storage Tanks Floating Roofs - Challenges In Aging Tanks When Exposed To Extreme Weather Conditions

Becht-floating_roof_storage_tank
Over one hundred thousand floating roofs have been used in hydrocarbon (oil) storage tanks since the 1950s. A majority of these tanks continue to be in service and are critical to meet strategic storage needs. An earlier article in this blog category describes Industry Best Practices for inspection and maintenance of such tanks. View Maintenance & Reliability of Floating Roofs . The article below responds to multiple inquiries - from domestic and international refiners - who are confronted with challenges to safely operate and maintain large diameter (200-350 feet diameter) floating roofs in service for 30-35 years.  In addition to age, these tanks may be exposed to extreme weather conditions such as hurricane winds above 100 mph and/or excessive rainfall.  As seen this year, Hurricane Harvey dumped in excess of 50 inches of rain in the Houston, TX area with sustained winds of 130 mph. Under these extreme conditions, catastrophic...
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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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