Inspectioneering

Integripedia Topic
Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs)

Explore this topic

Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs) are sets of limits used to determine the different variables that could affect the integrity and reliability of a process unit. Put simply, IOWs are the limits under which a machine can operate safely. Working outside of IOWs may cause otherwise preventable damage or failure. For this reason, it's incredibly important to be aware of the IOWs for each machine that is in operation.

A common example of things IOWs can include is temperature limits on furnaces. Since leaving furnaces too hot can cause ruptures or damage to the metal, upper limits need to be set on the temperatures it’s allowed to work at. If the temperature is exceeded, then an operator should be given a certain amount of time to get it back under the limit.

It is important to develop limits for every possible damage mechanism that is likely to affect a component. This way the working within the limits for the machine will be able to prevent most likely types of damage that might affect it.

To start with, for every piece of equipment, an IOW plan should be created. A proper IOW plan will contain information for operators and others on how to respond to IOW alarms and variances along with how quickly they need to respond. It will need describe what process monitoring techniques and process sampling will be needed to provide assurance that the process stays within the established IOW limits.

API RP 584, Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs), is a standard by the American Petroleum Institute which covers IOWs and related topics. This standard deals with the parameters that should be established and the data required in order to set up a proper IOW plan. It talks about the different types of IOWs used for process units. It covers risk ranking, documenting, implementing, reviewing, changing, and updating IOWs.

Topic Tools

Share this Topic

Contribute to Definition

We welcome updates to this Integripedia definition from the Inspectioneering community. Click the link below to submit any recommended changes for Inspectioneering's team of editors to review.

Contribute to Definition
Articles about Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs)
July/August 2021 Inspectioneering Journal

The scope of the subject case study reviews an inspection and corrosion control assessment conducted on subsea flowlines and includes evaluating the flowlines’ associated inspection programs and identifying all available NDT technology solutions.

January/February 2021 Inspectioneering Journal

If I suddenly accepted the position of site manager at your operating site, one of the first things I would do is trot on down to the FEMI group and ask questions to assess what we need to be doing to avoid the potential for big FEMI events.

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

IOWs are an important component of a world-class mechanical integrity program. In order to have a robust IOW program, the integration of IOWs into other areas of PSM is critical. This article provides four concrete examples of integration.

September/October 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

Understanding asset integrity and its management framework is important to sustaining the integrity of assets in the oil and gas industry. This article will discuss eleven primary elements that make up an asset integrity management program.

January/February 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

The purpose of this article is to describe some of the pitfalls that operating sites have encountered while trying to implement a program of IOWs in accordance with the guidance in API RP 584, plus how to overcome those pitfalls.

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

In today's chemical and refining industries, sustained long term reliability of facilities is critical to profitability and competitiveness. In fact, history shows that differences in operating expenses between best-in-class refineries, and poor...

May/June 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

A well-implemented and managed reliability program incorporating RBI, DMR, and IOWs can identify potential damage mechanisms, optimize maintenance and inspection activities, reduce risks, and improve the governance in managing Ethane Crackers.

Blog

This is the first article in a new column. In each article, the author will share technical, thought-provoking, and sometimes humorous or emotional experiences garnered in a career that spans over 20 years inside the gates of facilities.

Authors: Inspector Frank
Blog

Over the last six months, Inspectioneering has released a plethora of interesting and educational content that has been read more than 150,000 times online. In case you missed it, here's a recap.

Blog

This blog will walk through practical steps for managing IOWS and will demonstrate what successful IOW management can look like.

Authors:
January/February 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

This article provides a summary of the 2019 API Inspection & MI Summit keynote address, which offers a past, present, and future outlook on fixed equipment mechanical integrity from an industry professional with 50+ years of experience.

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

Piping accounts for roughly 40% of “accidental releases” at major petroleum facilities. Modern robots can inspect every inch of piping while still in service, giving you a clear picture of your most concerning areas.

November/December 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

This article provides an overview of the key components in establishing IOWs, the levels of IOW limits, and the basic principles and application of API Recommended Practice 584 to achieve reliable fired heater performance.

Authors: Tim Hill
November/December 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

This article walks you through a three-step approach, while providing different scenarios, for identifying and proving the value of reliability improvement initiatives.

Authors: John Campo
September/October 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

This article presents a management approach for the implementation of Integrity Operating Window (IOWs) under API RP 584 and discusses the IOW planning process and how input from other programs like RBI and Corrosion Management Plans is critical to...

Authors: Yousuf Hasani
March/April 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

As RBI continues to proliferate across industry, there are still those that are reluctant to transition from a time-based to risk-based inspection approach - especially in the upstream oil & gas business. These 4 benefits might help to lessen the...

September/October 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Although value-drivers often differ between facilities, all can agree that effective asset management strategies should lead to better decision making. In this case study, the authors detail how process-based risk management strategies can make for...

Partner Content

TEAM provides full inline, onsite and, shop valve repair services and maintenance programs for virtually all valve types, brands, sizes, materials, pressures, and operating conditions, including actuators and operators. Our valve repair solution is...

March/April 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Myths, challenges, and good practices related to process piping integrity management activities that help inspection and maintenance managers make the right decisions to develop cost-effective piping inspection plans without compromising the...

March/April 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs) have a subset of operating variables that are important for degradation monitoring, but may not have direct operational controls. Per API RP 584 Integrity Operating Windows, these are known as IOW Informational...

Authors: A.C. Gysbers
March/April 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

This article discusses the use of the RBI methodology supplemented by a well-designed IOW program to assess and manage aging in fixed equipment and piping in hydrogen generation units.

January/February 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Evaluating remaining wall thickness of an asset is not enough to ensure its continued safe operation. Proactive strategies should be implemented to assess the entire environment affecting an asset’s condition, including the development of more...

September/October 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

Did you ever wonder where you fit into the entire hierarchy of a fixed equipment asset integrity management (FE-AIM) program? Or who is responsible and accountable for what aspects of FE-AIM at your site? All the way from top management down to...

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

TEAM believes that quality inspections are the key to reliability. Our inspection crews are made up of specialty trained, experienced technicians who adhere to the highest quality standards. Our API 653 inspectors deliver thorough, reliable...

January/February 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

The enormous decline in oil prices over the past 14 months has definitely slowed projects and changed the energy and production landscape. Despite this, refineries, petrochemical plants, and chemical facilities must continue to run safely,...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

If we could measure, understand, mitigate, and most importantly, control corrosion, we can do a better job of keeping the product in the pipes. To accomplish this task, we needed to know what is causing the corrosion and how to control it.

November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

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...

September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Based on my 45+ years of experience working with fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) issues in the refining and petrochemical processing industry, this article summarizes what I believe are the top 10 reasons why pressure vessels and piping...

Authors: John Reynolds
Blog

Fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) failures are not caused by damage mechanisms; rather, they're caused due to failure to create, implement, & maintain adequate management systems to avoid failures. Nearly all failures that have occurred...

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

Superior inspection results, a best-in-class user interface, great ergonomics and rugged design, unrivaled connectivity options, and much more. The Krautkrämer USM 100 is a revolutionary ultrasonic flaw detector that uncomplicates your...

Blog

Three new API standards have been published, and one has been revised and updated to a new edition. The standards are described in this post.

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

The intent of these two articles is to share lessons learned from recent experiences setting up a comprehensive HTHA review process across multiple refineries, and to help other operators define and mitigate the HTHA risk to an acceptable level.

Authors: Mike Urzendowski
Blog

There are 10 essential Management Systems (MSs) needed for an effective PEI program that can achieve excellence. These 10 PEI MSs contain all the necessary information that describe what needs to be accomplished, and how to accomplish it, in order...

Authors: John Reynolds
Blog

Knowing what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve excellence in pressure equipment integrity (PEI) is one thing, but knowing how to organize it all for success is quite another.

Authors: John Reynolds
Blog

These posts came about because, from time to time, I’m asked why some operating sites don’t seem to pay adequate attention to the need to protect and preserve pressure equipment integrity (PEI). Too often a few sites don’t seem to “get...

Authors: John Reynolds
Blog

Without doubt management needs to ensure that the appropriate resources (human and budgetary) need to be provided for corrosion control and prevention. The C/M engineer/specialist or other responsible party needs to assure that management is advised...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA) is a long known and still occurring degradation issue for fixed equipment construction materials in the hydrocarbon process industry where hydroprocess plants (hydrogen plus hydrocarbons) are in service....

Authors: John Reynolds
March/April 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

This article in the series will focus on two more of the necessary MSs for achieving excellence in PEI: Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs) and Management of Change (MOC).

Authors: John Reynolds
March/April 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

One of the more important uses of the 99 Diseases of Hydrocarbon Process Equipment is to determine how to safely operate process pressure equipment. Such a work process thereby minimizes the impact of any potential degradation mechanisms (the 99...

Authors: John Reynolds
    Videos related to Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs)
      Downloads & Resources related to Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs)
        Events related to Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs)
          News related to Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs)

            Inspectioneering Journal

            Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

            Company Directory

            Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

            Talent Solutions

            Discover job opportunities that match your skillset.

            Case Studies

            Learn from the experience of others in the industry.

            Integripedia

            Inspectioneering's index of mechanical integrity topics – built by you.

            Industry News

            Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.

            Blog

            Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

            Expert Interviews

            Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.

            Event Calendar

            Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.

            Downloads

            Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.

            Videos

            Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.

            Acronyms

            Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.