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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.

Capacity Reduction of a Compression Member with an Initial Deformation

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A recent review of equipment installed in a power plant found a piping strut that was visibly bent. Would the bend in the strut reduce its load bearing capacity as a compression member? The answer is YES!  The load bearing capacity of a bent strut against buckling is reduced. The reduction in buckling capacity is a function of the strut’s section properties and its initial deformation. We will see here how this can be quantified analytically (closed-form solution) and numerically (FEA solution). The equation for the maximum axial load capacity of a column, before it buckles, was first formulated by Leonhard Euler in 1757. F cr  = (π 2  E I)/(K L) 2 Where E = Young’s modulus of column material; I = cross-sectional moment of inertia of the column; L = unbraced length of column; and K is a factor that depends on the degree of fixity in the...
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Process Safety Management and YOU

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Walking the Walk…Management Commitment My assumption is if you are reading this, you have some involvement in, or responsibility for, Process Safety Management (PSM) in your facility.  OSHA’s Standard for Hazardous Materials, 29 CFR 1910.119, is a mere 21 pages long including 12 pages of “non-mandatory” appendices -- but should it be your responsibility, what a daunting task to implement!  I remember Otter from the movie Animal House being quoted when everything looked so bleak - “Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that would take years and cost millions of lives.  No, I think we have to go all out.  I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture to be done on somebody’s part!” What to do? You could immediately start looking elsewhere for employment, focus on the daily emergencies that will always be there and hope your boss values crisis management more...
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Making Bad Actor Elimination Programs Work

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This is the first in a series of Blogs on improving plant reliability programs through improvements in culture, programs and equipment performance.  This Blog focuses on Bad Actor Elimination .  Most plants have many pieces of equipment that are chronic problems.  In some operations machinery can be the leading cause of outage while in others solids handling equipment, aggressive corrosion, erosion of parts or power failures are the issue.  Problems can also be traced back to lack of procedures, poor employee morale or lack of training.  These problems impact profitability due to frequency of outage, cost of repairs and cost of lost production.    ...studies have shown the cost of unplanned and emergency work is about four times the cost of planned work... Many studies have shown the cost of unplanned and emergency work is about four times the cost of planned work.  This is due to pulling people off...
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Due Diligence - Front End Loading for Plant Acquisitions

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In many cases operating companies and financial institutions utilize Due Diligence studies for critical input on “Go/No Go” decisions for plant acquisitions.  Once the decision is made to purchase the plant, the Due Diligence study is often put on the shelf.  The company purchasing the new asset then faces significant challenges integrating the asset into the enterprise culture, implementing enterprise procedures and standards, capturing and implementing best practices and evaluating the quality of the team at the new plant.  A well executed Due Diligence study can play an important role in the rapid integration of a new acquisition into the existing enterprise from an expectations and culture standpoint.  This process using the Due Diligence study as a road map can be viewed as a type of “Front End Loading” for plant acquisitions.  An experienced Due Diligence team can quickly identify a number of issues that the new owner will have...
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