The benefits of adding fitness-for-service (FFS) assessments to energy sector reliability projects are numerous. The acceptance of API 579/ASME FFS-1 is increasing across the energy sector and other industries, as these benefits have been demonstrated in a wide range of projects. Several of these benefits are illustrated in this article using real-world examples. The functionality of fitness-for-service makes the methods applicable to many components for a wide range of damage mechanisms. If a maintenance program does not already include fitness-for-service assessment capabilities, the preparation required to perform FFS assessments may mean the delay of putting a critical asset back into service on schedule.
Routine equipment inspections while a plant is in operation, or when a plant is in shutdown, may reveal damage to equipment. The equipment operator will need to evaluate the inspection data to determine whether a piece of equipment needs to be repaired or can continue in service. An FFS assessment assists plant inspectors and engineers in quickly making real-time operating decisions.
Delaying equipment repair or replacement could mean a cost savings of an entire future maintenance project. This is among the many reasons for establishing a practice of integrating fitness-for-service assessments into reliability management programs. Adding fitness-for-service analyses into maintenance budgets incorporates it as a best practice and helps improve future returns on critical assets. In addition, establishing a best practice of including fitness-for-service software as part of a reliability management program reduces the time involved to perform an FFS assessment during critical times.