Stress Engineering Services

Stress Engineering Services

Company Profile

At Stress Engineering Services (SES) we specialize in taking on your toughest technical problems, because we understand that you don't just want answers; you want the right answers.

Problem solving is what we do. Solutions are what we deliver. It is our commitment to provide the most comprehensive design, analysis, and testing services with an unsurpassed level of engineering integrity and skill. This devotion to quality stems from the two basic principles on which the company was founded - technical excellence and a passion to serve.

From Upstream Oil & Gas to Downstream Chemical & Refinery, Plastics to Packaging, Materials to Testing, Medical to Pharmaceutical, Pipelines to Power, and Measurements to Forensics, we have the experience, knowledge and tools to take on your toughest technical challenges and deliver the right answers.

Company Website

Corporate Headquarters
13800 Westfair East
Houston, Texas 77041-1101 United States
(281) 955-2900

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Auto-Refrigeration / Brittle Fracture

At SES, we use a comprehensive approach to identifying susceptible equipment, executing the brittle fracture analysis, and performing the process hazards analyses to evaluate and develop mitigation for at-risk vessels and piping.

HTHA Assessments

HTHA continues to be a process-safety issue within the refinery and chemicals industries. There is a growing industry need for HTHA damage assessments to assist with asset prioritization and capital planning. In response, we developed two new HTHA damage life assessment methods.

Vulnerability Assessments

Corrosion reviews of process units are routinely performed as part of a mechanical integrity program for pressure vessels and piping systems. We have the engineers experienced in process corrosion, inspection and mechanical integrity who can provide top-level corrosion vulnerability assessments.

Fire Damage Assessments

Recovering from a fire can be challenging and complex, but an experienced team can reduce the impact and restore operations quickly and safely. This begins with an incident safety evaluation of the site and confirmation of what equipment can be run, what must be repaired, and what must be replaced.

Turnaround Support

Turnarounds are high stakes activities where all the known issues are addressed via inspection, analysis and planning and the unknowns are discovered and dealt with, all in real time. We excel at providing comprehensive engineering support services in preparation for and during turnarounds.

Plant Engineering Services

SES provides timely and cost-effective engineering solutions to improve plant and refinery on-stream efficiency, safety, and reliability. Engineering Assessments - Field Services & Monitoring - Materials Engineering - Testing Services - and more

Stress Engineering Services's Inspectioneering Content

Fitness-for-Service Forum: Primary & Secondary Stresses – What’s the Difference & Why Do We Care?
January/February 2019 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Garic at Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

The distinction between primary and secondary loads is certainly important in analysis of pressure systems. But this distinction is also important for plant operations and reliability engineers to keep in mind when dealing with day-to-day problems.

Fitness-for-Service Forum: The Problem with Inspection of Older Vessels
November/December 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Garic at Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

In this edition of the FFS Forum, Greg Garic addresses some issues associated with inspection of vessels that have been in service for a number of decades. He also provides some tips and guidelines for reliability and inspection to follow when inspecting these older vessels.

Fitness-for-Service Forum: Corrosion Assessment without the Grid
September/October 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Garic at Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

In this column, I touch on what I see as an underused FFS technique for corrosion assessment: point assessment of corrosion – a technique that does NOT require a thickness grid. The reason I find this technique useful is largely because it’s so easy and cheap to implement.

6 Things You Need to Know About API 579
July/August 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Garic at Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

API 579-1 is a complex document covering several different types of equipment that may contain flaws or damage. Due to its complexity, this article condenses it into six things you need to know.

Developing a Fitness for Service Approach for Reduced Toughness Carbon Steel Piping, Flanges & Fittings
May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
By Dr. Kannan Subramanian, Ph. D., P.E. at Stress Engineering Services Inc., John Norris, P.E. at Stress Engineering Services, Ralph E. King P.E. at Stress Engineering Services Inc., and Daniel Ayewah, P.E. at Stress Engineering Services Inc.

There is concern in the industry over recent findings of reduced toughness fittings and flanges at risk of brittle fracture. This article provides an overview; possible contributors; measures taken to address; and a proposed FFS approach to address the issue.

12 Things to Do After Discovering a Mechanical Failure
January/February 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
By Neil Burns at Stress Engineering Services

The actions you take immediately after a failure are critical in understanding the cause and appropriate steps to remedy the problem. However, the wrong moves might prevent you from getting the answers you need.

Establishing a Mechanical Integrity Program for Fired Heater Tubes
September/October 2017 Inspectioneering Journal
By Arun Sreeranganathan at Stress Engineering Services Inc., and John Norris, P.E. at Stress Engineering Services

Fired heaters are among the most critical equipment in refineries and chemical plants, and failure of heater tubes presents significant safety and financial concerns. This article provides an overview of what a fired heater tube mechanical integrity program should include.

Piping Vibration Assessments
July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Jacob Manuel, P.E. at Stress Engineering Services, Inc., and Ralph E. King P.E. at Stress Engineering Services Inc.

An overview of process piping vibration and evaluating piping systems in vibration service to reduce harmful vibrations.

The Use of Miniature Test Specimens in  Fitness-for-Service Evaluation
May/June 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Douglas Marriott at Stress Engineering Services Inc., Shannon Read at Stress Engineering Services Inc., and Arun Sreeranganathan at Stress Engineering Services Inc.

Aging equipment, along with more aggressive service, makes it more important than ever to carry out fitness-for-service (FFS) assessments in support of run/repair/replace decisions. Testing material in the service-degraded condition enables quantification of the material condition and provides increased accuracy in FFS evaluations of these components.

High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA): Life Assessment Methods for Carbon Steel and Carbon 0.50% Mo Materials
November/December 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Ralph E. King P.E. at Stress Engineering Services Inc., and Brian Olson at Stress Engineering Services Inc.

To ensure the mechanical integrity and fitness-for-service (FFS) of equipment, facility managers, reliability engineers, and inspection technicians must understand the HTHA damage mechanism.

In-Place Pipe Support Load Testing & Hanger Surveys – Part of a Best in Class Fitness-for-Service Program
July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Lange Kimball at Stress Engineering Services, Joe Frey, PE at Stress Engineering, Inc., and Britt Bettell at Stress Engineering Services

This article introduces portions of a “Best-In-Class” Fitness-for-Service (FFS) program that includes the performance of regular visual inspections of pipe supports and hangers, coupled with in-situ load testing of suspect supports. This program can give the plant engineer the knowledge he needs to make sound operational and maintenance decisions.

Combining High Resolution In-Line Geometry Tools and Finite Element Analysis to Improve Dent Assessments
May/June 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Rhett Dotson, P.E. at Stress Engineering Services

Historically, regulations regarding dent severity have been governed by one of two metrics: dent depth or strain. In the case of the former, plain dents with a depth up to 6% of the nominal diameter are permitted in both gas and liquid pipelines. However, many operators typically set stricter limits on dent depth targeting those above a depth of 2% for evaluation.

November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Alphonse W. Hegger Jr., P.E. at Stress Engineering Services

Today, more than ever, refinery operators are focused on maintaining safe operations for their employees and extending the life cycle of valuable operating equipment to optimize efficiencies and avoid expensive unforeseen shutdowns. When process unit corrosion assessments, RBI methodologies, and IOWs are properly integrated into refining operations, the result is improved safety and longer run times.

Corrosion Under Insulation And Best-fit Solutions
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Brian J. Fitzgerald at Stress Engineering Services

As any refining or petrochemical plant manager knows, corrosion can occur on insulated piping at any facility, and is particularly difficult to prevent, track, and mitigate. Corrosion under insulation (CUI) has been a major challenge for the petrochemical and refining industries since the first pipelines were insulated with wrappings.

March/April 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Bobby Wright, P.E. at Becht Engineering, and Ralph E. King P.E. at Stress Engineering Services Inc.

Recently, Inspectioneering Journal sat down with Stress Engineering’s Bobby Wright and Ralph King to discuss how companies can better transfer and preserve industry knowledge.

Auto-Refrigeration / Brittle Fracture Prevention And Process Safety Mitigation
November/December 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
By Ralph E. King P.E. at Stress Engineering Services Inc.

Auto-refrigeration is a process where an unintentional and/or uncontrolled phase change of a hydrocarbon from a liquid state to a vapor occurs, resulting in a very rapid chilling (refrigeration) of the liquid containing local equipment and/or piping. This phenomenon can result in a catastrophic ‘break-before-leak’ scenario commonly referred to as brittle fracture.

High Temperature Life Assessment
May/June 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Garic at Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

Predicting the remaining life of components operating in the creep regime is one of the trickiest problems encountered in the fitness-for-service (FFS) world.

Fitness-for-Service Assessment: Severe Local Corrosion
March/April 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Garic at Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

If an operator finds cracking in a furnace waste heat boiler, excessive thinning in an absorption tower, or severe bulging in a converter, FFS assessments—not standard code analyses—are needed to evaluate the unit’s mechanical integrity. FFS assessments, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), are “quantitative engineering evaluations that are performed to demonstrate the structural integrity of an in-service component containing a flaw or damage.”

Evaluating Fitness for Service of Damaged Equipment
September/October 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
By Peter Carter, PhD, PE at Stress Engineering, Inc., Joe Frey, PE at Stress Engineering, Inc., and Mike Guillot, PhD, PE at Stress Engineering, Inc.

An all too familiar scenario in power plants is one in which an inspection finding occurs late in an outage and consequently, the return to service date may need to be postponed to allow time for corrective action. Historically, cracks or thinned spots were typically repaired without question.

Equipment Vibration Problems
March/April 2011 Inspectioneering Journal
By Lyle Breaux P.E. at Stress Engineering Services, Inc., Eric Luther P.E. at Stress Engineering Services, Inc., and Scott McNeill Ph.D., P.E. at Stress Engineering Services

The most common equipment vibration problems are often solved in industry without the use of specialty engineering resources. Routine vibration problems-from machinery imbalance and misalignment to simple cases of noise and resonance-are often addressed at the plant level without help from consultants.

January/February 2011 Inspectioneering Journal
By Leo Vega at Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

Describes a non-destructive sampling procedure which records and preserves the topography of a metallographic specimen as a negative relief on a plastic film (replica).

May/June 1997 Inspectioneering Journal
By John Brear at ERA Technology Ltd., John Williamson at ERA Technology Ltd., and Bobby Wright, P.E. at Becht Engineering

Reformer catalyst tubes are commonly manufactured from high strength, creep and corrosion resistant alloys. They are relatively thick walled and are usually produced by centrifugal casting. Their lives are limited by creep, driven by a combination of internal pressure and through-wall thermal stresses generated by operational transients. The typical composition for alloys for reforming service is 25/20 Cr/Ni with the generic reference HK40.

November/December 1995 Inspectioneering Journal
By Richard S. Boswell, P.E. at Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

Evaluations of aged and critical service vessels such as FCCU's and Delayed Cokers have been aided by the addition of two physical measurements referred to as structural characterizations. These are placed in perspective with the classic description provided by John Reynolds in his presentation of a multidisciplinary team effort in Fitness for Service (FFS) evaluations.

Practical Project Management Seminar
April 10, 2019,

Stress Engineering and Construction is hosting a free seminar that will provide an overview on practical project management principles as well as help you understand why organizational behaviors seem to counter the efficient execution of projects.

2019 Pressure Vessel Seminar
June 25, 2019,

Stress Engineering Services has developed a comprehensive three-day Pressure Vessel Seminar that focuses on many of the important topics impacting engineers in this field.

High Temperature Life Assessment Conference 2019
August 27, 2019,

The conference will focus on design, inspection, testing, fitness-for-service (FFS), and remaining life assessments of components operating in the high temperature regime with emphasis on creep, creep fatigue interaction, HTHA, and more.

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