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.
Becht Engineering has significant consulting expertise with improving reliability for chemical plants and refineries as well as upstream projects for oil and gas production. This multi-disciplinary task involves the clients’ representatives (operations, maintenance, inspection and engineering) together with Becht Engineering corrosion, mechan...ical integrity and reliability experts. More

Basics of Design By Analysis in ASME Section VIII, Division 2

fea-pressure-vessel-nozzl_20181115-174743_1
How hard can it be?  I’ve heard from several (unnamed) analysts that because they have access to an FEA program and have successfully applied FEA in other fields, that FEA for pressure vessels should be a snap.  What is it about FEA for pressure vessels that makes it unique? I was recently discussing with another blogger regarding some distinctive aspects of performing Design By Analysis for pressure vessels.  We generated several questions, and so I decided to post this in a Question & Answer format. When do I have to use FEA in my pressure vessel design? The short answer here is that for most situations, you probably should not be using FEA to design your pressure vessel.  The rules for designing pressure vessels in ASME Section VIII, Division 1 and ASME Section VIII, Division 2 have a long history of successful application.  So, wherever possible, I would recommend that...
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How To Quantify And Evaluate Oil Storage Tank Annular Plate Corrosion

annular_plates_cover-imag_20181008-172036_1 Failure of Oil Storage Tank Annular Plate
In the past ten years, there have been a few oil storage tank annular plate failures due to soil side corrosion and fatigue loading (filling and emptying) which has led to large spills. The corrosion tends to be localized in a groove fashion and the size of the flaw could vary from 3 feet to 12 feet in the circumferential direction. The location of the corrosion is also where the highest bending stress will occur during filling and emptying of tanks. See Figures 1 and 2 for the location of the failure on the annular plate.   Since the location of failure is under the tank, the corrosion flaws cannot be detected easily from the outside of the tank. It can only be detected if an internal inspection is done which would require the tank to be emptied and cleaned and this is very expensive. However, with UT shear wave...
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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...
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Risk-Based Work Selection (RBWS) – Choosing a Software Tool

software-tool-cover Choosing the right software tool for RBWS
Using the right software tool can save time and improve results of Risk Based Work Selection (RBWS) which is a standalone work process aimed at optimizing turnaround (TA) work scopes.  RBWS uses risk assessments to determine if individual worklist items are justified by Health, Safety, & Environmental Risks or Financial Risks.  Significant reductions in turnaround work scopes typically result from this structured work process. Becht Engineering has conducted RBWS sessions using a variety of tools ranging from Excel spreadsheets to our custom-built STRAITS Software.  Some tools have distinct advantages over others, so we wanted to highlight why a specialized tool should be used for RBWS and what are the key features to look for when selecting a tool.  Why is a Specialized Tool Needed? The information necessary to conduct an RBWS should already exist.  The challenge is digging the information out of desk drawers, databases, and excel spreadsheets, and organizing...
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