Last update: Jan 13, 2017
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 IOW 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.
Recommend changes or revisions to this definition.
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 those doing the work at the field level? That’s what I will try to address in this article.
January/February 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Alvarado at 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, responsibly, and reliably.
PinnacleART’s engineers and inspectors can help your facility define, prioritize and mitigate risks within your facility. Let our team build, implement and maintain a comprehensive mechanical integrity and RBI program for your pressure vessels, heat exchangers, towers, storage tanks, piping, pump casings, pressure relief valves, critical check valves and more. Contact us at 281-598-1330 to learn more.
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
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.
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 systems continue to fail, thus causing significant process safety events (e.g. explosions, fires, toxic releases, environmental damage, etc.).
It is difficult to cover all inspection applications with basic inspection procedures like radiography, ultrasonics, magnetic particle testing, and dye penetrant inspection. Owner-operators are finding that advanced NDE services such as guided-wave ultrasonics, AUT corrosion mapping, and eddy current testing are essential tools to keep their facilities operating safely and efficiently.
June 2, 2014 By John Reynolds at Intertek
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.
January/February 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Mike Urzendowski at Valero Energy
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.
December 23, 2013 By Nick Schmoyer at Inspectioneering
Many of you are already aware of some of the changes that have occurred within API this year. For those of you who are not, here’s a quick summary.
October 14, 2013 By John Reynolds at Intertek
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 to achieve success in PEI.
October 7, 2013 By John Reynolds at Intertek
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.
September 23, 2013 By John Reynolds at Intertek
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 it” until they have a major process safety event associated with a failure of pressure equipment. When that happens, they are suddenly on...
July 22, 2013 By John Reynolds at Intertek
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 annually at the appropriate time what resources will be needed for the next budget cycle.
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).
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 Diseases), by establishing the appropriate boundaries for long and short-term safe process operation. Such boundaries are called Integrity Operating Windows (IOW's).
May/June 2004 Inspectioneering Journal
By Jonathan D. Dobis at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc., Dana G. Williams at Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, and David L. Bryan, Jr. at Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC
Corrosion and fouling in HF Alkylation Units are closely linked to feed quality and operating conditions. This paper outlines the relationship between key operating parameters and corrosion that has been used to develop a set of guidelines to define an operating envelope. These guidelines have been used to benchmark operating units and to help maintenance and inspection groups understand how corrosion is directly affected by operating parameters. An example where this methodology has been used to troubleshoot operating problems is included. A web-based data collection system has been used as a tool to build a database of actual operating conditions found in the unit, and the corresponding problems or damage observed.