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Corrosion Management and Control and its Role in Pressure Equipment Integrity

By John Reynolds at Intertek. June 24, 2013

I have written several articles for Inspectioneering Journal to help create successful programs to achieve excellence in pressure equipment integrity and reliability (PEI&R).  To reference my series of articles on PEI&R for background reference, click here. This information may be useful as I will refer to aspects of PEI&R throughout my posts.

We start with the question: what is excellence in PEI&R? It’s not “gold plating” nor overdoing nor spending too much on the PEI&R program. It’s simply doing everything that needs to be done, doing it right, doing it when it needs to be done, in order to create, implement and sustain the PEI&R program to avoid breaches of containment. Keep that definition in mind. Having effective management systems in place for all the PEI&R issues that need to be handled is the foundation for a successful program.

In the next five blog posts, I will provide an overview of how corrosion control has a central role in PEI, the Top 10 Management Systems (MS) for corrosion control, and how the MS for corrosion control must be integrated with other important MS. These posts will not articulate every aspect of a PEI program, or include all options for your Management Systems, they are meant to be an overview to guide those interested in improving their PEI program.

Think of a Management System as simply a compendium of all the necessary information that describes what must be done, why it needs to done, how it is to be done, and how often or when. Some operating sites then combine their PEI&R MS with PEI&R work process maps and descriptions to show who is involved and how the work flows, i.e. what comes first, next, last and in between plus what can be done in parallel and what must be done in series. Management systems are the input to the WP maps and descriptions.

The way I see it, there are 10 essential MS needed for an effective program that can achieve excellence. For each one of these PEI&R MS, you need to describe what needs to be accomplished, and how to accomplish it, in order to achieve success. Here is the list:

  1. Corrosion Management and Control (CM&C)
  2. Integrity Operating Windows (IOW)
  3. Management of Change (MOC)
  4. Management Leadership and Support for PEI&R
  5. Risk Assessment and Inspection Planning
  6. Life Cycle Management
  7. PEI&R Codes and Standards
  8. Site Procedures and Work Processes for PEI&R
  9. PEI&R Record keeping and Data Management
  10. Continuous Improvement for PEI&R

Again, see my previous articles for more information on these 10 PEI&R Management Systems.

As you can see, there is much more to a robust PEI&R program than just corrosion control. It takes an effective multi-disciplined approach with management, operations, engineering, maintenance and inspection to accomplish what needs to be done to achieve excellence in PEI&R. All of these Management Systems need to be highly integrated with each other in order to achieve success in PEI&R. Those operating sites, which still have each of their functions mostly “working in silos” and not effectively integrated with the other disciplines, will not be able to achieve the level of PEI&R success that is vital in today’s competitive environment that demands the utmost in cost containment and reliability.

An experienced, knowledgeable corrosion/materials (C/M) engineer/specialist is central to the effectiveness of this MS because most (but not all) of the technical work that this person does falls within this MS. For purposes of this article, when I refer to the PEI&R group, that includes the C/M engineer/specialist, even though in some organizations that person(s) may be in a separate group/department. The structure of the organization and reporting relationships are not as important as the fundamental need for the C/M engineer/specialist to work very closely with the inspection group to handle short- and-long-term corrosion and materials degradation issues.

I recognize that not all owner-user organizations will have a full time or part time C/M engineer/specialist on staff. In those cases, the C/M engineer/ specialist can be a third party contractor, consultant, or a service supplied by the corporate headquarters that serves multiple company sites. But for sure, in my 40 years of experience, nearly every operating site needs the services, to some extent, of a competent, experienced C/M engineer/specialist in order to achieve excellence in PEI&R, without which there are many corrosion and materials degradation traps to fall into. And those traps can lead not only to avoidable cost issues, but unanticipated breaches of containment with the ensuing consequences. The most well rounded C/M engineer/specialist should be knowledgeable, not just in metallurgy and materials selection, but also in process chemistry, corrosion and degradation mechanisms, corrosion barriers, corrosion and materials degradation prevention and mitigation practices.

Next week, I will outline the first four Management Systems associated with Corrosion Management and Control.


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