As the restrictions surrounding Covid-19 lead to challenges in progressing plant integrity management strategies, operators are naturally likely to search for means of minimising intervention whilst maintaining existing levels of integrity assurance. This introduces challenges when operating ageing assets – time-based, and operationally-induced, degradation will continue to come to the fore, irrespective of the issues we are collectively facing at present.
Repair and eventual replacement of degraded assets may be an established practice on any given site, however it should be remembered that Repair / Replacement constitute only two of the four ‘R’s assigned to potential outcomes from a fitness for purpose assessment. By engaging the right integrity management partner, and asking the right questions of both them and other stakeholders on your site, the following could be achieved:
- Run. You may be surprised at the level of redundancy in the design of your aged equipment. Just how damage-tolerant is your asset? By employing advanced fitness for purpose tools such as Finite Element Analysis, you can simulate the true response of your component under complex loading, removing much of the inherent conservatism seen in a codal assessment. This may provide justification and confidence in leaving ‘as-is’ – at least until an opportune intervention window.
- Re-rate. Quite often the most straightforward means of achieving fitness for purpose is to consider re-rating a piece of equipment based upon the actual required demands on an asset. This could mean reducing a liquid level in a storage tank, or undertaking an assessment of a pressure vessel using current (or revised) Safe Operating Limits rather than nameplate values. This approach would also seek to exploit redundancy in a component’s design, and with many assets designed for a far-more onerous duty than needed, a small change to the conditions seen may make a big difference.
At Axiom, our Mechanical team will be delighted to work with you and guide you through the options available to arrive at the most cost-effective means of demonstrating ongoing component integrity. Working with our team, you can be assured of a pragmatic solution to your most pressing integrity management concerns, allowing you to focus your maintenance budget, and personnel deployment, where they are truly needed at this time.