Inspectioneering Journal

Importance of Data Management and Availability to Produce an Effective Inspection Program

By Mark Vining, Inspection Supervisor, Philadelphia Refinery at Sunoco Inc. This article appears in the November/December 2007 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Facilities are often content in compiling event data, entering thickness measurements, assigning a system description, tracking work requests and recommendations in their databases. These are certainly valuable data points but using your database for performing just these tasks relegates a valuable resource to nothing more than a ledger of inspection events. The value of these systems becomes more apparent when they are utilized to show you where you should be inspecting.

Equipment reliability should be an Inspection Department’s primary goal. The days of reacting to a failure in a timely fashion, with repair plan in hand is no longer a measure of an Inspector’s value. It is not a function of inspector experience that will lead a department to success. Information is, in fact, the key to reliability. The ability to accurately predict, safely mitigate associated risks and prevent failures before they occur should be how an Inspector and his Department are graded.

A modern day Inspector is afforded multiple resources and tools to aid in this prediction process. Tools like plant condition software (PCMS, RBMI, Ultrapipe, etc...), API-RP-571 and VCE Damage, RBI generated flow diagrams, metallurgy maps and statistics on high risk assets, mechanical integrity organizations incorporating the use of Reliability and Corrosion Engineers to support inspection findings and even the internet can provide information to Inspectors that when combined and reviewed can lead to reduced failures and a more proactive Inspection Department.

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