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Inspectioneering Journal

The Evolution of Data Management in Mechanical Integrity

A Recap of the Spring 2022 “Meeting of the Minds” Roundtable Discussion

By Jeremiah Wooten, Managing Partner at Inspectioneering. This article appears in the July/August 2022 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
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Introduction

Earlier this year, Inspectioneering and Pinnacle co-hosted their 9th “Meeting of the Minds” (MOTM) roundtable discussion in Chicago, Illinois. This bi-annual meeting brings together a select group of leading mechanical integrity (MI) experts to discuss pertinent topics related to fixed equipment reliability and share their personal experiences and opinions. As with previous meetings, participants come from various sectors of the industry, including refining, petrochemicals, offshore production, and chemical processing.

Meeting of the Minds

Previous MOTM recap articles have summarized key takeaways from our discussions covering topics like emerging technologies, corrosion under insulation (CUI) programs, integrity operating windows (IOWs), corrosion control documents (CCDs), risk-based inspection (RBI), the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on mechanical integrity programs, piping RBI, and most recently, MI project hit lists. The theme of this meeting was data; in particular, data collection, data organization, and data analysis.

Data Collection and Organization

Drones

We opened the discussion on data collection by asking the participants to share their experience with robots and drones and whether they thought this technology will be used to automate data intake instead of humans in the next decade.

It was clear that all of the participants have used robotics and/or drones to help monitor the condition of their assets; some more than others. One individual from the refining industry stated that he has “seen a tremendous amount of improvement in drone technology over the last several years.” He shared that they were now using drones to take 3D scans of their assets, build models, take UT readings with magnetic sensors, and fly them inside difficult-to-access spaces like tanks and columns. While he was adamant that the technology is assisting his inspection program, he remains concerned about the quality of the data/readings. “I’m just not sure if it’s an adequate replacement for a seasoned inspector actually getting out there and looking at a piece of equipment with their own eyes,” he stated.

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