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Reynolds Wrap Up: Highlights from the API Subcommittee on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (SCIMI) at the Spring 2020 Standards Meeting

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. June 25, 2020
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API Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (IMI) Summit 

Planning continued for the next Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (IMI) Summit. The format will be largely the same as it has been. Some discussions are underway about the length of presentations. In the past, the Summit has varied between 30 and 45 minutes scheduled for each presentation. We are contemplating changing back to 40 minutes with a 5-minute break between sessions. 

The planning committee is also looking to ramp up the “new technology” sessions which allowed companies to talk for 15 minutes about some of the newer IMI technologies that are being developed but are not yet available commercially. Those will again occur over the noon hour break during the Summit.

We are also looking for new blood for the planning committee to help us vet speaker abstracts, slides, and, as always, help to moderate and facilitate the sessions on-site. If you are interested and are able to commit between 50 and 100 hours of volunteer work over the next 12 months, then leave a comment with this article and we will add your name to the list of potential volunteers. The planning committee will be meeting regularly until the next Summit in June 2021.

As a reminder from the last SCIMI highlights from the fall meeting, the big news is that with this last growth spurt in IMI Summit attendance (nearly 25% more again in 2019) we have exceeded the capacity of the Galveston Convention Center, forcing API to seek a new venue and time. We know that the Galveston Convention Center was popular, especially in the winter time frame, but it’s now just too small for the continually growing size and popularity of the IMI Summit. Therefore, the next IMI Summit will be held at the San Antonio Convention Center the first week of June 2021. 

We had to move from January to June simply because of the available convention center space in San Antonio. One good thing about the June timeframe in 2021 is that the Summit will no longer be encumbered by process industries’ labor contract expirations which have limited the attendance opportunity for some owner-users in the January timeframe. The San Antonio venue is much larger, better equipped, with more meeting rooms than we could possibly use and a huge exhibition hall. So mark your calendars now and don’t plan to take family vacations that week unless you bring the family to San Antonio. Monday will again be an optional training day with 12-15 different FEMI courses offered by industry SMEs. Be there! 

Inspectioneering will once again be a primary source for advance information about the 2021 IMI Summit.

API SCIMI Codes and Standards and Related Activities

Here’s a summary of the status of most of the codes and standards currently in progress within the API SCIMI and a few others of interest to FEMI personnel. Please use the latest editions of each document, as the new editions are considerably improved and updated over previous versions. There are anywhere from 40-50 SCIMI SMEs, from as many different companies and consultants, working continuously to improve and update these standards with what are believed to be industry best practices, requirements, and guidelines. If you would like to join these efforts, please feel free to attend our semi-annual API SCIMI meetings held in the spring and fall time frames of each year at the API Refining Standards Meeting. This time it was held online for obvious reasons. It’s not as effective or efficient as face-to-face meetings, but we made it work and made a lot of progress on our SCIMI standards as indicated below. You do not have to be an API member to participate. All contributors who can help maintain and improve the standards are welcome. Our next API Standards meeting is scheduled to be held November 16-19 at the Denver Hyatt Regency. If you cannot attend but have suggestions for changes that you would like to have considered for the next editions of any of the listed standards, please send them to me or any SCIMI member and we will table them at our meeting.

  • Work is well underway on a draft on the 11th edition of API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspection Code which is due for next publication in 2021; ballot resolution was conducted on another 30+ technical comments received on the ballot before this meeting which is down from 200+ on the last ballot; so we are making good progress toward getting the 11th edition in shape for publication. There will be another ballot this summer with a resolution at the fall meeting and hopefully be ready to publish the 11th edition in 2021. Two addenda have been issued since the 10th edition was issued in May 2014. Be sure to obtain copies of those addenda which are in effect now.
  • The 4th edition of API 570 Piping Inspection Code was published in February 2016. The edition contains a significant number of changes and improvements in piping inspection technology and methodology. Activity for updating the 5th edition will resume at the fall meeting in Denver. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please pass them along to a SCIMI member. About sixty issues have already been submitted to be worked into the next edition. Plans are to issue a “comment only” ballot this summer to augment the process of collecting potential changes for the next edition.
  • A SCIMI task group (TG) has been very active to improve the inspection section of each damage mechanism article in API RP 571 on Damage Mechanisms. The 3rd edition of API 571 was published in March 2020. So be sure to get a hold of the new edition. It has been substantially updated and improved. 
  • The 4th edition of API RP 572 on Inspection Practices for Pressure Vessels was last published in December 2016 with the intention is that it will be updated in sync with 510, so that material can be moved back and forth between the two sister documents (i.e., putting the more guidance and informational PV inspection issues in 572 and focusing 510 more on requirements and expectations for what “shall and should” be done). Major changes in organization and content are still underway for the next edition of 572. Another ballot will be issued this summer for resolution at the fall meeting in Denver.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 573 on Heater/Boiler Inspection was published in October 2013. At the Spring Standards Meeting, the TG met to do ballot resolution on numerous comments received from the last ballot. Since there were so few unresolved issues left this time, a short recirculation ballot will be issued this summer with publication expected by EOY/2020. Considerable interaction and input from the API SC on Heat Transfer Equipment has occurred on the next edition.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 574 on Piping Inspection Practices was published in November 2016. As is the case with API 572 & 510, from now on API 574 will be updated in synch with 570, so that the more informational piping inspection issues and guidance will remain in 574 while 570 continues to focus more on requirements and expectations for piping inspection and mechanical integrity. The 570/574 TG has been inactive recently but expected to be reactivated in the fall of 2020 after a comment only ballot is issued this summer to collect ideas on what changes members are interested in making.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 575 on Tank Inspection Practices was published in 2014. This is the sister standard to API 653. The 4th edition has been approved by SCIMI with publication anticipated by EOY/2020.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 576 on Inspection of Pressure Relieving Devices was published in April 2017. The TG on 576 has been inactive since then because the next edition is not scheduled until 2022 but is expected to crank back up at the fall meeting in 2020. A comment only ballot is anticipated this summer to begin the process of collecting ideas for changes for the 5th edition. If you have thoughts on any improvements to our PRV standard, please pass them along to a SCIMI member.
  • The 2nd edition of API RP 577 on Welding Inspection and Metallurgy was published in December, 2013. The 3rd edition has been finalized and approved by SCIMI and is now going through the publication review process. The 3rd edition is anticipated to be out by EOY 2020.
  • API RP 578 Guidelines for a Material Verification Program for New and Existing Assets 3rd edition was published in February of 2018. The document has been expanded beyond just alloy piping to all types of fixed equipment, including some non-alloy equipment (e.g., carbon steel for residual elements and silicon content). A new section is included on substitution in stainless steel and other high alloy systems, as well as more emphasis on point-of-installation PMI. Hence, this TG has been inactive since the last edition but will reconvene next fall to prepare for the 4th edition in 2023.
  • The 3rd edition of API/ASME 579 on Fitness for Service (FFS) was published in June 2016, which included a new section 14 on evaluation of fatigue damage, recommendations for establishing an allowable RSF, a rewrite of section 9 on residual stress solutions, updated procedures for the assessment of creep damage, and a new annex on metallurgical investigation and evaluation of mechanical properties in a fire damage assessment. The next edition of API/ASME 579 is scheduled to be released this year if all goes well. Numerous editorial corrections, updates, and clarifications will be included throughout the standard along with many technical changes and enhancements, including the following:
    • Part 2: Fitness-For-Service Engineering Assessment Procedure
      • Added provision that permits MAWP to be determined using the stress analysis procedures in Annex 2D.
    • Part 3: Assessment of Existing Equipment for Brittle Fracture
      • Corrected errors related to the Minimum Allowable Temperature (MAT) for bolting and nut material specifications.
      • Added clarity with the definition of shock chilling and the requirement that a Level 3 evaluation is required to evaluate conditions where the shock chilling screening is not satisfied.
      • Added thickness limits for Level 1 exemption curves to be consistent with ASME VIII-1.
      • Added guidance to clarify that no PWHT credit is permitted in the brittle fracture evaluation for repairs completed using alternative weld methods (such as high preheat or temper bead).
      • Added supplemental inspection guidance for scenarios when metal loss beyond the original design tolerances is identified.
      • Added guidance on impact test exemptions for ASME B16.5 flanges to address the approved changes that are scheduled to be included in the up-coming 2019 publication of ASME VIII-1.
      • Ferritic flanges manufactured from 1989 to present will be exempt to an MAT of 0°F (vs. current exemption to -20°F) unless the forging was normalized.
      • SA-105 forging materials have been moved to Curve A designation (vs. current Curve B).
    • Part 4: Assessment of General Metal Loss
      • Revisit Coefficient of Variation (COV) requirements with Point Thickness Reading (PTR) approach for Level 1 and Level 2 evaluations to eliminate the ability to “wash-out” damage with increased thickness readings outside regions of more severe metal loss.
    • Annex 2C: Thickness, MAWP, and Stress Equations for a FFS Assessment
      • Removed the option to use ASME Section VIII Division 2 (ASME VIII-2) allowable stress values for equipment designed and constructed to ASME Section VIII Division 1 (ASME VIII-1). This was originally a carryover from API 510 back before the allowable stress criteria in ASME VIII-2 changed from a factor of safety of 3 to a factor or safety of 2.4. 
      • Removed nozzle reinforcement check requirement for small nozzles to be consistent with ASME VIII-1.
      • Removed legacy limit load nozzle reinforcement procedure which was previously eliminated in ASME VIII-1.
      • Added the Svensson method for burst pressure calculation.
    • Annex 2D: Stress Analysis Overview for a FFS Assessment
      • Load cases for use in a Level 3 elastic stress analysis now reference VIII-2 for simplicity.
      • Removed option to use ASME VIII-2 allowable stress values for ASME VIII-1 equipment in a Level 3 elastic stress analysis.
      • Added guidance on the appropriate material yield stress limit to be used in a Level 3 elastic-perfectly plastic limit load evaluation.
      • The allowable Remaining Strength Factor, RSFa, in a Level 3 buckling has been explicitly limited to a value no lower than 0.9.
      • Modified coefficients for use in an elastic-plastic evaluation to cover the appropriate design margins with various construction codes (including the appropriate design margins for pipelines).
    • Annex 2E: Material Properties for Stress Analysis
      • Updated the Ramberg-Osgood stress-strain model for use in a Level 3 evaluation.
      • Added guidance for material properties for Level 3 evaluations involving pipeline materials.
      • Updated correlations between hardness readings and material ultimate tensile strength (UTS). 
    • Part 9: Assessment of Crack-Like Flaws
      • Redefined crack-like flaw interaction and recategorization rules. 
      • Expanded K-solutions for thick-wall cylinders.
      • Establish a procedure to incorporate constraint effects on material fracture toughness into the fracture mechanics assessment procedures. WRC 577 Constraint Effects on Fracture Toughness in Ductile-Brittle Transition is currently under review.
    • Annex 9F: Material Properties for Crack-Like Flaws
      • Incorporate guidance from WRC 562 Recommendations for Establishing the Minimum Pressurization Temperature (MPT) for Equipment and the API white paper The Effects of Hydrogen for Establishing a Minimum Pressurization Temperature (MPT) for Heavy Wall Steel Reactor Vessels to address material toughness modifications due to hydrogen and temper embrittlement effects.
    • Part 10: Assessment of Components Operating in the Creep Range
      • Update Level 1 screening curves to gain consistency with results obtained from a Level 2 evaluation including recent technology updates (material coefficients, etc.).
    • Annex 10B: Material Data for Creep Analysis
      • Added new Omega material coefficients and WRC 541 revision 3 Larson-Miller material coefficients. Fixed fatigue curve coefficients.
    • Part 11: Assessment of Fire Damage
      • Extended hardness testing to cover carbon steel, low chrome, and stainless-steel materials.
    • Part 14: Assessment of Fatigue Damage
      • Removed bi-axial correction to the Structural Stress Method.
    • Annex 14B: Material Properties for Fatigue Analysis
      • Added smooth bar fatigue curves based on fatigue testing in air.
      • Added bounds for use of smooth bar fatigue curve equations.
      • Added closed-form equation for smooth bar fatigue curves and fatigue data for new materials.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 580 on Risk Based Inspection (RBI) was published in February 2016. Major changes included about 45+ “shoulds” have now become “shalls.” For those sites using RBI, there are now a number of issues in the RBI work processes that are mandatory. This TG met online at the Spring API Standards Meeting to resolve nearly 300 comments received on the spring ballot for the 4th edition. Additionally, the document is undergoing significant reorganization. Further ballot resolution is anticipated over the next few months to prepare for another ballot this summer for resolution at the November 2020 meeting. The TG is aiming for publication of the 4th edition by EOY/21.
  • API RP 581 on RBI Methodology - 3rd edition was published in April 2016. The 581 TG is very active and work is now underway on resolving numerous comments on five ballots for the 4th edition as well as interim addendums. The first addendum was published in early 2019 and work is now underway for a 2nd addendum. As with most API Standards, a lot of reorganizational work is underway to comply with the API Standards Style Guide. A ballot is anticipated this summer for resolution at the November meeting.
  • API RP 582 3rd edition on Specialty Welding Guidelines was published in May 2016. Work is underway on more than 30 additional items for the 4th edition anticipated for publication in 2021. Just a few of those additions include: Controlled Deposition Welding (CDW), which will be removed from 510 & 570 and placed in 582; PWHT requirements for HTHA resistance; a new section on seal welding threaded connections; adding guidance on welding lean and hyper duplex SS; updating the guidance on welding short-arc GMAW; guidance on weld overlays and aged high temperature alloy tubes for steam-methane reformers and ethylene heaters; guidance on residual element control in weld rods used for welding carbon steel for HF acid service, some clarification of when single layer WOL may be acceptable (e.g. SAW & ESW), a condensed guideline on in-service welding issues consolidating information from several other publications and some guidance on welding nickel alloy dissimilar metals. An effort is being made going forward to coordinate the contents of 577 and 582, which are handled by two different API Subcommittees. Currently, Section 11 of 577 contains topics that may better fit in 582.
  • API RP 583 1st edition on Corrosion under Insulation (CUI) was issued in May 2014. The TG has approved the final edition of the 2nd edition which is anticipated to publish by EOY 2020. It includes new sections on computed and digital RT for CUI inspection, a new section on moisture detection imaging, more encouragement to maintain insulation systems to avoid water ingress, updated sections on silica aerogel, a new section on water resistant stonewool, an extensively rewritten section on GWUT for CUI and an updated section on QA/QC for insulation system installation planning.
  • API RP 584 3rd edition on Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs) will have a major annex added in the 4th edition. The annex will provide a generic IOW template for numerous major types of process units that will suggest operating parameters that the TG believes owner-users may want to consider for establishing IOWs depending upon their own circumstances. An annex on pitfalls to be avoided during IOW implementation has been added. An annex suggesting an equipment specific IOW template is also drafted. All of the nearly 70 comments were resolved at the spring meeting. A recirculation ballot is anticipated this summer for ballot resolution at the fall meeting if necessary with publication of the 4th edition anticipated in mid-year 2021.
  • The TG working on API RP 585 2nd edition on Investigation of Fixed Equipment Failures and Near Misses met at the spring meeting to resolve about 60 comments for the 2nd edition. Currently, this new standard is not widely referenced in operating site process safety investigation procedures. Each site/company is encouraged to review and reference the document in their site incident investigation procedure, as it has useful information that will be helpful in causal analysis during investigations of fixed equipment failures and near-misses. One more recirculation ballot is expected this summer for ballot resolution at the fall meeting. Publication of the 2nd edition is anticipated in mid-year 2021.
  • A new standard API RP 586 on NDE Techniques is being created. It will provide the inspector with information on the NDE techniques that are best suited to find the different kinds of damage that the inspector expects in different types of equipment and in different locations. The TG anticipates that it will eventually be a fairly large document that other API standards will refer to for more detailed information and guidance 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. Each section will be somewhat of a Reader’s Digest summary of each NDE technique useful to the inspection community. The first section is on heat exchanger tubular inspection techniques that will help inspectors understand the various pros and cons of the multitude of techniques available for inspection of corrosion and cracking in exchanger tubes. One more recirculation ballot will take place this summer showing all the revisions made during the ballot resolution. The master editor for 586 also tabled a detailed outline for the next section of inspection for contact point corrosion (CPC) at pipe supports which got a lot of support from the TG members present as the next section to be included in 586. The third section is expected to be on the new techniques under development for HTHA inspection and currently being coordinated with API 941. After the HTHA section 3 is approved, it will be removed from API RP 941 and referenced in 586. As each new section on NDE is developed and published, much of the NDE information in other API standards will be withdrawn and a reference made to this new standard in order to focus most of our NDE inspection technology and methodology into this one document.
  • A new API Publication 587 – Guidance for the Development of UT Examiner Qualification Program has been approved and submitted to API staff for editing with possible publication anticipated in late 2020. 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).
  • A new API RP 588 – Source Inspection for Fixed Equipment has been published in July 2019, along with an erratum for a minor clarification. This RP has become the basis for the API ICP on Source Inspection replacing the existing study guide. If you haven’t had time to review this new PR, it has a lot of useful information on the entire work process for planning and conducting QA/QC during shop inspections on fixed equipment from the initial planning phase through to final delivery to the purchaser.
  • A new database API Pub. 589 on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Lessons Learned is being created. The scope of the database will be a compilation of hundreds of LOPC incidents and near-misses (anonymously recorded) in refining and petrochemical process units as a result of deterioration from the DMs outlined in API 571. The lessons learned will be organized by different unit operations associated with the 20+ types of process units commonly in service. The database is expected to serve as a resource for all API/AFPM members to provide guidance on where to inspect and possibly mitigate DMs before they lead to a potential repeat incident in our industry. The TG notionally agreed with AFPM to include this new FEMI LOPC lessons learned database within their existing PSM incident database structure. Operating sites have now begun to use the new MI template for reporting incidents where the causal analysis indicates that FEMI issues were involved in the leak/failure.
  • A TG on API 590 - SCIMI Terms and Definitions is underway to develop a management system to ensure terms, acronyms, and definitions from all SCIMI standards are consistent and contained in one resource. The first ballot closed in December 2020 with virtual ballot resolution scheduled in 2Q/2020. This proposed management system includes assigning each SCIMI task group as the “originator” or “owner” for each term and a work process for creation of new and/or modifications to existing definitions. The purpose of this effort is to make sure all standards that use common terms and acronyms are using the same definitions. That is not entirely the case now and it’s a confusing and time-consuming job to update all standards when one definition changes. An electronic database and print publication with periodic addenda are anticipated when the work on the first edition is complete. Progress is slow on this effort because it is not very interesting work, but SCIMI realizes that it is very important to improve the efficiency of our standardization work process.
  • API RP 970 on Corrosion Control Documents (CCDs) describes the work process and recommended contents for a comprehensive CCD. The first edition was published in December 2017 so the TG is inactive at this time. CCDs serve as a reference document for all the credible DMs that are likely to afflict each different type of process unit for use in corrosion management and inspection planning. CCDs are especially useful for storing all the information necessary for inspection planning, including RBI, as well as creating IOWs. Many of our SCIMI Codes and RPs are being updated to recognize this new RP.
  • API RP 751 Section 3 (to be replaced by section 6) on Safe Operation of HF Alky Process Units which covers inspection, materials, corrosion, and fabrication of HF handling equipment (among other things) is undergoing a significant rewrite in preparation for publication of the 5th edition. A SCIMI TG has been working on this revision for the last two years. In addition, the informational Annex D (which will become Annex G) on corrosion/materials for HFA units is also being extensively rewritten by the NACE TG on HFA corrosion in conjunction with the SCIMI TG. Hundreds of changes and additions have been suggested and discussed in committee so far. Some of the major changes wrt the corrosion/materials/inspection section were highlighted in the Reynolds Wrap Up in the March/April edition (recently published) of the Inspectioneering Journal. A major ballot for the next edition of section 6 and Annex G is expected this summer with ballot resolution in the fall meeting. Because of the extensive changes included, ballot resolution in 2020 is expected to be an extensive effort before publication of the 5th edition which is now overdue. In the meantime, the 4th edition of RP 751 has been reaffirmed until the two API subcommittees working on the document can finalize the changes and hopefully get a 5th edition published in 2021.
  • Annex E of API RP 941 on High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA) is undergoing significant revisions to recognize new technology and methodologies for inspection for HTHA. A recirculation ballot has been resolved and the new Annex is now in the final page proof stage with publication expected this fall. The details for the new techniques for HTHA inspection will be contained in a new section of API RP 586, with simply a high level summary of them remaining in API 941 with reference to API 586 for more details.
  • A TG for API Pub 592 – Elements of FEMI was formed at the Spring SCIMI 2019 Meeting to draft an outline for a new SCIMI document that would pull together all of the applicable API standards that apply to fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) and show how they all relate to each other and how a fully integrated FEMI program can be formed at each operating site – sort of an “umbrella” document for the 40+ API FEMI related standards. The TG met again at the Fall meeting 2019 to begin drafting ideas and an outline for the new document. A workgroup was formed to draft a strawman outline but that group was unable to meet online at the spring 2020 API meeting. The chair of the TG indicated that he would create an outline for the new document to discuss at the fall 2020 meeting.
  • API TR 934H, a new technical publication on Inspection, Assessment, and Repair of Heavy Wall Reactor Vessels in High Temperature, High Pressure Hydrogen Service was balloted this spring by Subcommittee on Corrosion/Materials (SCCM) with ballot resolution scheduled in 3Q/2020 for possible publication in 2021. Section 7 of this document is all about inspection practices for heavy wall reactors.
  • API TR 934J, a new technical publication on Inspection, Assessment and Repair of Coke Drums and Peripheral Components in Delayed Coking Units was balloted this spring. This document will complement API TR 934G which covers the design, materials selection, fabrication, and operating practices of code drums. Ballot resolution will occur within the SCCM in 3Q/2020.
  • API RP 939C (2nd edition) on Guidelines for Avoiding Sulfidation Corrosion Failures in Oil Refineries was published in January 2019. It contains significant new information on the expected locations of sulfidation corrosion, what parameters influence it, and how to find it. Increased emphasis is placed on inspecting for accelerated corrosion of low silicon carbon steel components which has led to multiple failures in the industry. Any site that still has carbon steel operating in the temperature range above 500 degrees F should look closely at the guidance in this RP.

API Individual Certification Program (ICP) Task Group

From its inception in 1989, the API ICP has enjoyed a steady growth of over 14% annual average, at first mostly in the USA, but now has seen steady growth in international markets as we begin to approach certification saturation in the USA. Up until about 2017, most of the growth was in the three basic certification programs (510, 570, and 653), but over the last few years, the growth in more specialized programs has dominated. Those “other” certification programs now total of 14 different ICPs in addition to the three basic ICPs. They include certifications in refractory inspection, damage mechanisms, welding, RBI, pipeline inspection, shop inspection, ultrasonic flaw detection and sizing, and more. Last year for the first time, more than half of the certificates were issued for these “other” specialized certifications as opposed to the basic 510/570/653 ICPs.

Twenty years ago there were only about 3,000 certifications. Now there are 64,000+ certifications in 122 different countries on the 17 ICPs. Now more than half (>53%) of those certified from countries outside of the USA. Nearly 70% of those certified are non-owner users (i.e., contract inspectors, insurance companies, construction companies, etc.); and 61% of active certified inspectors work full time as employees of inspection companies with about 24% being employed by owner-users. Last year, nearly 13,000 candidates took examinations at over 400 different exam sites worldwide. By far, most candidates tested in the USA, followed by Canada, Saudi Arabia, India, and South Korea. Of interest to me was that the seemingly huge market for ICP in China has not yet been tapped, with countries like Columbia, Qatar, South Africa all exceeding the number of certificates so far issued in China. Up until last year, the number of exams administered each year in total seems to be growing at a rate of about 1000 per year with a drop off of about 1000 exams administered in 2019. Over 95% of the ICP exams are now administered by CBT worldwide as opposed to paper-based.

In the last five years, API ICP administered over 60,000 exams for certification in 80 different countries using over 400 different exam sites available. Out of those 80 countries, the top 20 countries accounted for nearly 93% of the exams administered.

Three of the newer ICPs are for Source Inspection for fixed equipment, rotating equipment, and electrical equipment (SIFE/SIRE/SIEE). The SIFE was first out of the blocks and now has about 10,000 certificates in effect. SIRE followed and is now approaching 200 certificates, while SIEE is just getting started with only 16 certificates in effect.

Over the last two years the percentage of individuals passing the exams are in the range of roughly: 60-70% for API 510 with this YTD scores being around 60%; 50-59% for API 570, with this YTD scores closer to 50%; 45-59 % for API 653 with this YTD scores being closer to the 59% mark; 35-48% for API 571 with this YTD scores tending toward the lower %; 46-63% for API 577 with this YTD scores tending toward the higher %; 55-68% for API 580 with this YTD scores being right in that range; 58-90% for the newer API 588 SIFE with this YTD scores being in the 62% range; 65-75% for API 936 Refractory Inspectors with this YTD scores tending toward the top of that range and 60-80% for 1169 Pipeline Inspector. As you can see, these exams are not easy to pass and considerable study of the designated body of knowledge is needed before sitting for the exams.

For the three Specialized SCIMI Certifications (580, 571, and 577), the 580 RBI certifications is the most popular with nearly 3,500 certificates in existence, with 571 on Damage Mechanisms having nearly 1,700 certificates and 577 on Welding Inspection having over 700 certificates in good standing.

There are now five NDE Performance Demo certification exams (QUTE/QUSE/QUPA/QUSE-PA, plus the newest one QUTE-TM for thickness measurements just launched last year) being offered and passing rates on each of them have increased over the past couple years. A beta trial of a traveling exam offering at one service contractor that provided refresher training just before 46 of their candidates took the exams showed the highest pass rates on each of the exams experienced so far, (i.e., 100% on QUTE, 100% on QUPA, 70% on QUSE and 94% on QUSE-PA) indicating that timely training may be key to passing these exams. There are about 800 certified UT examiners on the five exams, with QUTE having the most at about 400 certified so far.


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