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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.

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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Hurricane Harvey Recovery - Methodical Steps to Restart Your Plant

hurricane_Harvey_weather_image
I personally went through Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike during my career living in the Gulf Coast. Restarting our plants after these storms was challenging, home life was miserable without power for three weeks and traveling over 100 miles north to find gasoline, food and water for family and neighbors was time consuming and hazardous. However, this experience pales in comparison to the challenges faced by families and operating companies from Houston to Corpus Christ and beyond recovering from the unprecedented events cause by Hurricane Harvey. In this posting, I identify the challenges faced with our employees and plants as we restarted after these storms. Becht hopes this blog will help you and your companies through these trying times. Many of the personnel at Becht Engineering have been through hurricane recovery , plant restarts and emergency situations. Please contact us if we can help. These important points must be considered...
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Your pump's Mean Time Between Repairs (MTBR) is what?...Or what should it be...

Your pump's Mean Time Between Repairs (MTBR) is what?...Or what should it be...
Many of the tourist spots around the world have panhandlers. Some of the more creative ones stand on street corners advertising that they will tell you where you got your shoes, for a dollar. Of course it turns out that “you got your shoes” at the corner of Bourbon and St. Peters - or wherever you happen to be standing at the moment. It’s a play on words. However, being able to predict your pump Mean Time Between Repairs (MTBR) is not a play on words. Indeed it can be done quite accurately. I am often asked to do a facility rotating equipment reliability audit. After all, the plant’s management has heard that top tier plants have pump MTBR’s in excess of 100 months. They would be happy to have half that number. Hence the need to understand the major MTBR influencing factors. The main broad reliability categories that determine...
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Resolution of Chronic Cooling Tower Fan Vibrations

Resolution of Chronic Cooling Tower Fan Vibrations
Traditional rotating equipment mounted at grade use the mass of a foundation and grout to reduce vibration and provide support and stiffness. However, cooling tower fans must be elevated many feet above a basin of water which sometimes puts them “out of sight and out of mind”. Cost and practicality prohibits concrete and grout, thus most cooling towers are constructed by bolted wood and / or fiberglass elements with a fabricated steel sub base supporting motor, gearbox, and blades. As a result, cooling tower foundations are much less stiff than traditional rotating equipment. This is usually not an issue because the low speed of the fan (usually 60 rpm to 140 rpm) does not usually produce large forces. Motors and gearboxes used are generally made to the same precision levels as other general purpose machinery regarding balance, runout and dimensional tolerances, so the imbalance and forcing functions are usually low. ...
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