Reynolds Wrap Up: Highlights from the API Subcommittee on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (SCIMI) Meeting at the Fall API Standards Meeting

By John Reynolds at Intertek. December 29, 2016

Inspection Summit Planning Meeting

  • The next API Inspection Summit will once again be held the week of January 30 – February 2, 2017 at the Galveston Convention Center; a full program is now up on the Summit website with nearly 200 presentations, 12 panel discussions, and 14 optional training courses planned.
  • The Summit has grown in attendance nearly 30% each time it is held and we expect that to be the case again in 2017. The quality and quantity of information presented on asset integrity management, inspection/NDE, corrosion/materials issues, and engineering analysis continues to be very highly rated by attendees and that critique is spreading by word of mouth. Plus the exhibit hall is nearly sold out with a wide array of technology and service providers presenting the latest in available tools and methodologies.
  • Inspectioneering Journal will once again be your primary source for advance information on the Inspection Summit.

API SCIMI Activities

The name of the Subcommittee on Inspection has been changed to Subcommittee on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity to better describe the full scope of our activities. The SCIMI covers a full range of fixed equipment mechanical integrity subjects, including inspection topics.

Here’s a summary of the status and progress of all the codes and standards currently being worked in the API SCIMI. Please be sure you are using the latest editions of each document. Typically 30-40 SCIMI SME’s are working continuously to improve and update these standards with what we believe are industry best practices. If you would like to join us in our efforts, please feel free to attend our semi-annual API SCIMI meetings held in May and November of each year at the API Refining Standards Meeting. You do not have to be an API member to participate. We welcome all contributors who can help us maintain and improve our standards. Our next meeting is May 8-10, 2017 at Caesar’s Palace Convention Center in Las Vegas.

  • Work has begun on the 11th edition of API 510, which is not due for next publication until 2019; but several ballot items were discussed and passed at this meeting. We anticipate going back to publishing interim addenda with new and revised items before the next full edition is available. We used to do that regularly, but that practice has subsided in the last few years.
  • The 4th edition of API 570 was published in February, 2016. There are a very large number of changes and improvements in technology and methodology in this new edition. At the Fall Meeting, we reviewed several more ballot items for a proposed first addendum to the 4th edition. The wording of the inspection deferral section 7.13 had intense discussion again and will be the subject of another ballot over the winter months.
  • A new task group (TG) has been formed within the SCIMI to update and improve the inspection section of each damage mechanism section in API RP 571 on Refinery Damage Mechanisms. The format will remain the same, but the inspection guidance will be significantly updated relative to many new NDE techniques and methodologies in use today for each specific DM. At this meeting we reviewed the numerous write-ups volunteers had drafted for various sections. A master editor will be contracted in 2017 to pull them all together into a consistent format. The next edition of 571 is due for publication in 2018.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 572 on Inspection of Pressure Vessels has just been published (December, 2016). From now on it will be updated in sync with 510, so that we can easily move material back and forth between these two sister documents (i.e. putting the more informational PV inspection issues in 572 and focus 510 more on requirements and expectations for what shall and should be done).
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 573 was published in October, 2013. At this meeting, a TG met to continue planning updates for the 2018 edition. Nine potential improvements were discussed and assigned to volunteers. Considerable interaction and input from the API SC on Heaters is being sought for the next edition. If you have someone in your company who is a heater MI specialist, please let them know that we want and need more participation from anyone interested in improving API 573 on Heater/Boiler Inspection.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 574 on Inspection of Piping is now in the final publication phase, and may be published even before you read this. As with API 572 & 510, from now on API 574 will be updated in synch with 570, so that we can put the more informational piping inspection issues in 574 and continue to focus 570 more on requirements and expectations.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 576 on Inspection of Pressure Relieving Devices has been approved and is now in its final proof-reading stages. We expect that it should publish early in 1Q/17.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 577 on Welding Inspection and Metallurgy was published December, 2013. A newly formed TG for the 4th edition met at the November API SCIMI meeting to begin work on updating it for its due date in 2018.
  • The TG on API RP 578 completed the first ballot resolution for the 3rd edition at our Fall Meeting. A second ballot is expected 1Q/17 with a target for publication by 4Q/17. The document will be expanded beyond just alloy piping to all types of fixed equipment, including some non-alloy piping e.g. carbon steel for residual elements. New title has been balloted and accepted: Guidelines for a Material Verification Program for New and Existing Assets. A few emerging PMI technologies will be added as well as a section on radiation safety for XRF analyzers.
  • The 3rd edition of API/ASME 579 on FFS was published in June, 2016. Work on the 4th edition is now underway.
  • The 3rd edition of API PR 580 on RBI was published in February, 2016. The major change in this document is that some 45+ “shoulds” have been changed to “shalls”, such that for those sites using RBI, there is now a number of issues in the RBI work process that are mandatory.
  • API RP 581 3rd edition was published in April, 2016. This document also has a large number of changes included after going through 9 ballots. Work is now underway on 200+ more suggested revisions for the 4th edition.
  • API RP 582 3rd edition on Welding Guidelines was published in May, 2016, but work is already underway on new additions for the 4th edition. Two of those additions will be Controlled Deposition Welding (CDW), which will be removed from 510 & 570 and placed in 582; and a new section on seal welding threaded connections. An effort will be made going forward to coordinate the contents of 577 and 582, which are handled by two different API Subcommittees.
  • A new standard API RP 586 on NDE Techniques is being created. It will provide the inspector with information on which NDE techniques are best suited to find the different kinds of damage the inspector expects in different types of equipment and different locations. The TG anticipates that it will eventually be a fairly large document that other API standards will refer to for information on NDE techniques for inspection planning. It will cover what each NDE technique can and cannot do, and the various advantages and limitations of each technique. We anticipate that each section will be somewhat of a Reader’s Digest summary of each NDE technique – perhaps 5-8 pages
  • long. One of the first priorities is going to be the section on heat exchanger (HX) tubular inspection techniques to help inspectors understand the various pros and cons of the multitude of techniques available for inspection for corrosion and cracking in exchanger tubes. At the Fall Meeting, we reviewed a draft covering the advantages and limitations of the nine most commonly used HX tubular inspection methods. The first ballot of that section is expected 1Q/17.
  • A new API Publication 587 – Guidance for the development of UT Examiner Qualification Program is in the works. The purpose of this publication is to outline the performance testing program that would be necessary for owner-users to create their own program for angle beam examiners if they choose not to use API qualified industry examiners (i.e., QUTE/QUSE). Ballot resolution was completed at the Fall Meeting. Expecting to be able to publish this new document in 3Q/17.
  • Another new document is underway in the Subcommittee on Corrosion/Materials - API RP 970 on Corrosion Control Documents (CCDs). It will describe the work process to create a comprehensive CCD if and where a site wants to create them. CCDs will not be mandatory—just a recommended practice. Many sites have already created them or are in process of doing so. Ballot resolution discussions occurred at the Spring API Meeting and Fall NACE CTW meeting on the first ballot, but have not yet been completed. A second ballot is anticipated 1Q/17 for review at our next API meeting in May. If a third ballot is not needed, then publication of the first edition could occur by EOY/17.
  • Section 3 of API RP 751 on Safe Operation of HF Alky Process Units which covers inspection, materials, corrosion and fabrication of HF handling equipment (among other things) will undergo a significant rewrite in preparation for publication of the 5th edition in 2018. Progress is slow at this stage. 

API Individual Certification Program (ICP) Task Group

  • From its original startup in 1989, the API ICP has enjoyed a steady growth of over 14% annual average, at first mostly in the USA, but now most the growth is in the world outside of the USA. Twenty years ago there were only about 3000 certifications worldwide.
  • Today, nearly 25,000 certified inspectors exist in 118 different countries. Those 25,000 individuals hold over 44,000 certificates. There are now more than half of those certified from countries outside of the USA. 80% of those certified are non-API members at this stage. Over 75% of those certified are non- owner users (i.e., contract inspectors). Last year, over 11,500 candidates took examinations at over 300 different exam sites worldwide. The most candidates are tested in the USA, followed by Canada, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Korea, and India respectively. 
  • Over the last two years the numbers of individuals passing the exams are in the range of: 55-62% for API 510; 49-57% for API 570; 47-60% for API 653; 42% for API 571; API 42-55% for API 577; and 47-55% for API 580. As you can see, these exams are not easy to pass and considerable study is needed before sitting for the exams.
  • A newly approved Code of Ethics for certified inspectors has been approved by the API SCIMI and is now posted on the API ICP website. Please log-in and read it.
  • The idea of having a senior inspector certification program (something with more detail and more difficulty than the current entry level exams) was tabled at a previous meeting. Instead, the ICP TG has decided to focus its attention on creating new professional certifications like we have already for API 571, 577 and 580. These programs have proven to be very popular with engineers, as well as inspectors, who want to show they have gained considerable expertise in each of the subject matters. The 580 RBI certification is now held by over 2000 individuals. Consideration is now being given to creating the next program for API 573 on Inspection of Heaters and Boilers. Like the three in existence so far, all programs will continue to be entirely optional.
  • Over 1000 source (i.e., shop) surveillance inspectors have now been certified to the new Fixed Equipment Source Inspector Certification Program. Two new modules have been added for rotating equipment and electrical gear source inspection.
  • About 1000 API certified inspectors have not yet switched their old paper-based certification account to the new website portal, which is being constantly improved. Over 44,000 have registered so far. If you have not yet switched, you must do so very soon or you will not be able to recertify when your certifications expire—it will only take 10 minutes to register. Your account has already been loaded on the new portal—just log in and confirm it. The old paper system will be shut down shortly and when that happens, those that have not acknowledged their new accounts will lose their certifications when it comes time for renewal. API has tried numerous times to contact all those who have not switched to the new portal.

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