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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.

Becht staff include over ten senior materials experts with expertise in applications including power, refinining, petrochemical and chemical facilities, and materials including metals, coatings and linings, and nonmetals such as refractories, thermoplastics (e.g., high density polyethylene) and reinforced thermosetting resins (e.g., fiberglass).  Our services include material selection, establishing operating envelopes for equipment, failure analysis, remaining life assessment, and establishing deterioration mechanisms and their associated probabilities for risk based inspection and development of equipment reliability plans.  We are experts in modifications to existing chemical processes to alleviate and control corrosion that allows continued operation of existing equipment.  We are experts in the equipment requirements for processing corrosive crudes (e.g. high TAN crudes such as Doba crude) as well as material applications for high temperature services such as steam cracking furnaces and furnaces to produce synthesis gas.

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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Reduced Toughness Properties of Some Modern Carbon Steels Create Brittle Fracture Risk

Reduced Toughness Properties of Some Modern Carbon Steels Create Brittle Fracture Risk
Changes in steelmaking practice are reported to be causing some carbon steel piping components that are assumed by ASME Codes to behave in a ductile manner at ambient temperatures, to behave instead in a brittle manner.  Barry Messer from Fluor made a presentation on this subject at the Spring 2016 meeting of the ASME B31.3, Process Piping Code Committee to alert committee members to this issue.   Having steel components that behave in a ductile fashion is an important aspect in the safety of pressure equipment.   ASME B31.3 requires impact testing to confirm ductile behavior unless the material is exempted from such testing by various code rules.  These exemption rules have been based on the historic properties of the materials.   A105 carbon steel flanges are generally exempted down to -20°F (-29°C) as is A106 Gr B carbon steel pipe with a wall thickness ½ inch (13 mm) and less.  The issue...
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Changing Your Crude Slate – Short and Long Term Consequences

Changing Your Crude Slate – Short and Long Term Consequences
There are many reasons why a refinery may want to change their crude slates. However, all of them boil down to economics. Whether a cheaper crude is available or there is a desire to manufacture specific products to increase profitability - money is the driver. However, in deciding to change your crude slate, the long term effects of those changes can go overlooked, costing significantly more money in the long run. Whatever the reasons for the crude slate change may be, it is important to keep in mind the processabilty of the crude. For example, perhaps a refinery wants to process more of the shale crudes (Bakken, Marcellus, or Eagle Ford) due to pricing advantages. Or the refinery wants to bring in large shipments of foreign crudes, again because of price advantages. A common, significant aspect of both of these crudes is that they can be very high in hydrogen...
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