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Mechanical Integrity (MI)

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Mechanical Integrity (MI) can be defined as the management of critical process equipment to ensure it is designed and installed correctly, and that it operates and is maintained properly (i.e. no leaks and all elements are fit for service). A mechanical integrity program should take into account the inspection and testing of the equipment using procedures that are recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGAGEP), and should also consider the suitability of newly-fabricated equipment for usage. Written procedures should be established and implemented, and employees tasked with maintaining the ongoing integrity of process equipment should be adequately trained.

The term mechanical integrity is often used in reference to preventing loss of containment. In the United States, OSHA Regulation 1910.119 requires that the mechanical integrity of equipment is properly managed in order to prevent or minimize the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals.

Mechanical Integrity of Fixed Equipment

Fixed Equipment Mechanical Integrity (FEMI), also sometimes referred to as pressure equipment integrity management, is the process of creating, implementing, and maintaining management systems in order to avoid fixed equipment loss of containment in the oil & gas, petrochemical, and chemical processing industries. It is important not just to have an adequate FEMI program, but to have a high quality and sustainable one that exceeds compliance.

To prevent FEMI failures, there are many steps that need to be taken, including:

Special thanks to the following contributors to this Integripedia topic:
  • Pat Williams, KBC Advanced Technologies, Inc.

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Articles about Mechanical Integrity (MI)
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January/February 2021 Inspectioneering Journal

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Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2021 Inspectioneering Journal

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November/December 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

Heat treatment has been used by mankind for centuries. This article details reasons to heat treat, the types of heat treating available, methods of heat treating to achieve specific material properties, and the role of MI in heat treating.

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September/October 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

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September/October 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

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September/October 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

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July/August 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

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July/August 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

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May/June 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

The authors have written a two-part series covering valves and their role in the overall MI process. In this first article, they discuss the various valve types, their common uses, and the governing standards and recommended practices that apply.

Online Article

Inspectioneering had the opportunity to catch up with David Clark of Lloyd’s Register after his keynote presentation at the 2020 International Pressure Equipment Integrity Association (IPEIA) conference in Banff, Canada.

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January/February 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

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January/February 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

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January/February 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

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November/December 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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November/December 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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November/December 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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November/December 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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A systematic approach is required when repairing hot-dip galvanized coatings on structural steel. This article presents a step-by-step process, starting from Surface Preparation, through Application, Inspection, and Completion-verification.

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Training options to meet your needs. E²G contracts with API to deliver training programs for FFS, Risk–Based Inspection, Damage Mechanisms, and Pressure Relieving Systems. ETI and Customized Training offers specialized courses based on industry...

September/October 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

This article presents two cases studies demonstrating how properly conducting baseline fired heater tube inspection aids in early discovery and correction of defects, avoiding unexpected in-service failures, and more.

Authors: Tim Haugen
September/October 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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September/October 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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September/October 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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Developing a comprehensive turnaround (TA) work scope for process equipment is a critical step for achieving a facility's business goals. Risk Based Work Selection is a proven process for prioritizing and optimizing planned work for an impending TA.

Partner Content

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July/August 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

This article demonstrates how substituting inspection reports that originate from pen and paper to reports generated using a stylus and tablet at the time and location of inspection can eliminate data entry errors and other common mistakes.

July/August 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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July/August 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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July/August 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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July/August 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

This article is written to provide a brief case study of an acoustic emission test of an FRP storage tank. A method combining acoustic emission with ultrasonics is proposed to ensure reliable long term operation.

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July/August 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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Just because you have a technical expert does not mean they will be an expert at managing people. Like any skill set, it takes training, time, and mentoring to become a good personnel manager.

Authors: Inspector Frank
May/June 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

CCDs are critical components of a well-maintained MI program and encompass all necessary and relevant MI information for a given process unit. This article defines the value of having CCDs and addresses how to effectively develop and implement them.

May/June 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

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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.

May/June 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

While planning methods for thickness data acquisition in any Inspection Data Management Program, PRT should be considered as a cost-efficient, effective way to increase the value of your program for small bore piping or any other suitable situation.

Authors: Ryan Baggett
May/June 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

This article details an experience assessing the mechanical integrity of a feed pressure vessel, and describes the methodology carried out for detecting CUI and how results were managed for this pressure vessel.

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

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Young asset integrity management professionals need effective tools to create a sustainable future. YPAC surveyed members to establish a baseline measurement of the effectiveness of their professional development and to evaluate perceived gaps.

Authors: Molly Beckel
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.

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January/February 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

An effective RBI system implementation results in, not only safeguarding your assets & people, but can also reduce unnecessary inspection activities that may be required due to conventional & nonsystematic approaches.

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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.

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November/December 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

An effective outage requires an efficient work effort, driven by a detailed work scope. Of all the different roles and efforts involved in these major events, Inspection plays a significant role in ensuring an outage’s success.

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September/October 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

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September/October 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

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September/October 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

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In the fifth and final blog of this 5-part series, readers will learn the key obstacles faced in an implementation project and what measures can be taken to help prevent and mitigate their impact.

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In this article, the author discusses how standardizing IDMS usage can help integrity teams perform more efficiently and effectively.

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July/August 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

Studying for and passing a test does not necessarily equate to competence as a process or contract inspector for hire. This article explores what it takes to become a capable inspector in this ever-changing industry.

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July/August 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

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Authors: Greg Alvarado
July/August 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

This article discusses Asset Performance Management (APM) software implementation strategies and the challenges owners face when upgrading their software to the newest version.

July/August 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

Software implementation, including RBI, comes with a lot of ad-hoc challenges and pitfalls. There are numerous options for RBI software currently available, and they may differ by design, purpose, function, scope and capabilities. This article...

Authors: Ibrahim Kodssi
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There are cases where selecting the best IDMS application for the company means that the end users will not immediately obtain all desired functionality. In some instances, users must forgo desirable features to satisfy more valuable requirements of...

Authors: Efrain Rios
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TEAM’s integrated touch point corrosion program manages all aspects of the integrity process from screening for damage to permanent repair assuring integrity – every time. TEAM’s unique turn-key approach to touch point corrosion integrity...

May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

According to API 570, facilities must have a mechanical integrity program in place for critical check valves. But what criteria determines whether or not a check valve is critical in your process? How should check valves be inspected and by whom?

May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

As assets age and production demands grow, it becomes increasingly critical to implement sustainable long-term AIM strategies and programs. This article dives into the elements that will help ensure the successful management of assets throughout...

May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

There is concern in the industry over recent findings of reduced toughness fittings and flanges at risk of brittle fracture. This article provides an overview; possible contributors; measures taken to address; and a proposed FFS approach to address...

May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

This article intends to use a top-down approach of describing RBI methodology and how it fits in a facility management system. The main idea of this article is to provide a comprehensive picture of RBI methodology in terms of basics, technology...

Authors: Dheeraj Narang
May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

HTHA of hydrogen-containing equipment can be prevented with appropriate material selection and fabrication, appropriate welding procedures, regular inspection of equipment using proven, effective technologies and equipment operated by qualified...

Authors: Samer E. Ibrahim
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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...

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In the industry today, there are numerous applications being used to manage asset integrity information, i.e. data and records associated with design, construction, corrosion, inspection, process chemistry, and degradation remediation. In the second...

Authors: Efrain Rios
March/April 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

This article demonstrates how the use of APM software can help prevent unplanned downtime by quickly identifying potential hidden failures.

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...

March/April 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

This article is designed to help the reader better communicate their FEMI Mission, Vision, Core Values and Responsibilities to all stakeholders at their site.

Authors: John Reynolds
March/April 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

Implementing RBI for process piping can be a very tedious and lengthy exercise, especially for major process plants with thousands of feet of interconnected piping. This article shares the experience of ADNOC LNG following a structured RBI approach...

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March/April 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

Last November, Inspectioneering and PinnacleART hosted a roundtable discussion for a select group of leading mechanical integrity experts. This forum explored how the MI field will have to prepare for the impending loss of knowledge resulting from...

Authors: Tyler Alvarado
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In the industry today, there are numerous applications being used to manage asset integrity information, i.e. data and records associated with design, construction, corrosion, inspection, process chemistry, and degradation remediation. As the first...

Authors: Efrain Rios
January/February 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

Sea water corrosion and erosion issues can affect almost all commonly used metallurgy in a refinery or petrochemical plant. This brief article explains the dangers behind sea water used in plant cooling systems and discusses several metallurgical...

Authors: Ashfaq Anwer
January/February 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

The actions you take immediately after a failure are critical in understanding the cause and appropriate steps to remedy the problem. However, the wrong moves might prevent you from getting the answers you need.

Authors: Neil Burns
January/February 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

This article, the first of a multi-part series, discusses the methodology and need for establishing an integrated and holistic framework for managing asset integrity on a day-to-day basis.

Authors: Mohamed Attia
Partner Content

In this interim report, Pinnacle analysts take data from the oil refining industry and dive into how that key sector is being affected by reliability today. Download your free copy!

Blog

In 2017, a joint-initiative from API and AFPM released a helpful brochure that summarizes all the key API standards that deal with fixed equipment mechanical integrity. It describes the latest edition of 42 API standards addressing FEMI issues,...

Authors: John Reynolds
Blog

Infrared (IR) thermometry has been used for over forty years to monitor tube metal temperatures in refining and chemical furnaces. Recently, IR thermometry has been criticized in the industry for delivering inaccurate readings; however, this is...

November/December 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

This article explains the Statistically Active Corrosion Assessment, which is a tool for determining appropriate and realistic corrosion growth rates which can assist pipeline operators in optimizing the value of in-line inspection data.

November/December 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

In this exclusive interview, you’ll hear from Eddie Acosta, Reliability Manager at Placid Refining. During our discussion, he shared some of their challenges, strategies, and a transparent glimpse into some the real issues in his 82,000 bpd...

November/December 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Hydrogen is a common culprit of equipment damage in the process industries. As hydrogen-induced damage can occur in multiple forms, it’s critical to identify the specific damage mechanism you’re dealing with before undertaking measures to...

Partner Content

How is reliability affecting your bottom line? Download our Economics of Reliability report, where Pinnacle analysts take data from the oil refining industry and dive into how that key sector is being affected by reliability today.

November/December 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

This article, part two in a series, provides a case study of an inspection and evaluation of a Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP) column using nondestructive ultrasound readings on the outer surface of the FRP.

Authors: Geoff Clarkson
November/December 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

APM implementation is anything but a pain-free process. Blame tends to fall on vendors, but there are oftentimes activities that do not get completed that tend to have a larger effect on the success of implementation. This article addresses some of...

Authors: Stephen Flory
November/December 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

The goal of achieving effective asset integrity management (AIM) throughout an asset’s life cycle requires certain “integrity enablers.” This article discusses six integrity enablers and their importance to a successful AIM program.

Authors: Hossam Aboegla
Blog

Industry SME John Reynolds provides his bi-annual updates from the API Standards Meeting and discusses developments related to the 2019 API Inspection Summit, SCIMI codes, standards, and recommended practices, and the API Individual Certification...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Fired heaters are among the most critical equipment in refineries and chemical plants. This article provides an overview of what a fired heater tube mechanical integrity program should include.

Partner Content

Download Pinnacle's Economics of Reliability Report - Refining to see how reliability is affecting profitability.

September/October 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Ensuring the integrity of oil and gas assets is a challenge for oil and gas operators. This article discusses several “pillars” of asset integrity management on which successful O&G operations rely, including Material Selection, Process...

Authors: Tata L.N. Murthy
September/October 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

The challenges companies face when implementing an RBI program from scratch can make the practice seem daunting. To ensure that implementation is completed smoothly and the benefits of RBI are quickly realized, there are considerations that should...

Blog

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a new guide to help petroleum refiners comply with its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (1910.119). The guide presents lessons learned from the petroleum...

Authors: Jeremiah Wooten
Blog

How do you make decisions in regards to your mechanical integrity program? There are many voices out there offering advice; could be a co-worker, could be a trusted associate from another company or facility. But don't underestimate the power of...

Authors: Nick Schmoyer
July/August 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

3 common repair scenarios include routine maintenance, scope repairs, and major discoveries. An inspector’s ability to properly manage each situation can mean the difference between mechanical integrity success and failure.

Authors: Mark Savage
Partner Content

Traditional pressure vessel inspections often require taking assets out of service. However, MISTRAS’ Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) programs provide data as good or better than internal inspections, while assets remain in service. NII is...

July/August 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Failure analysis of piping that has experienced corrosion damage provides operators with valuable information needed to prevent future failures. Effective processes and procedures are essential when investigating the cause of corrosion on pipelines...

July/August 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Are your key performance indicators actually driving improvement? Could they be more effective? In this actionable and concise article, John Reynolds is back again to discuss some KPIs you could be using to monitor your progress down the path to...

Authors: John Reynolds
May/June 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Effective condition monitoring location selection is a key component of a best-in-class mechanical integrity program. Learn how moving beyond traditional qualitative approaches to optimized CML selection can reduce risk and maximize the value of...

May/June 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

35 years ago, an inspection supervisor, some inspectors, and a project engineer could cover an entire refinery. So why are so many more mechanical integrity resources needed today?

Authors: John Reynolds
May/June 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Read a firsthand account of how organizing Process, People, Plant, and Performance can reveal breakdowns in your corrosion management practices and drive down corrosion related leaks.

Authors: David E. Moore
Partner Content

Traditional, paper-based inspection processes can prevent plants from being as effective as they can be. By digitalizing your mechanical integrity process and data with MISTRAS Digital®, plants have realized up to 75% gains in IDMS data entry and...

May/June 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Steam systems account for almost a third of the energy used in industrial applications for product output. Maintaining their integrity and efficiency is vital. Learn how an effective risk-management process aids in the optimization of these critical...

Authors: Dr. Brian Cane
May/June 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Are you giving CUF the attention it deserves? Learn the vital role fireproofing plays in maintaining the integrity and reliability of what it protects as well as what's needed for managing potential CUF issues.

Authors: Justin Nickel
May/June 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Asset integrity and life cycle management are unique but intertwined concepts. The dynamic process between these principles has a significant impact on the lifecycle of individual assets and, therefore, the integrity of an entire plant.

Authors: Hossam Aboegla
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

Inspectioneering Founder & Chief Editor, Greg Alvarado, recently had the privilege to sit down with Clay White, Director of Mechanical Integrity for Phillips 66 (Downstream), to discuss the world of fixed equipment reliability in the refining and...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
Partner Content

Gecko's TOKA Flex robot is designed to give unprecedented access to piping systems with a robust ultrasonic data-collection capability. The Flex, our most advanced RUG robot, is equipped to find and collect the critical inspection data you need....

March/April 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Flare systems provide hydrocarbon facilities with safe and efficient discharge of relief and waste gases by controlled open flame burning. This article provides information on the selection, inspection, and maintenance of various types of flares.

Authors: Ibrahim Kodssi
January/February 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

In this article, the roles and responsibilities of the corrosion and materials SME will be outlined as I see them, fully recognizing that there is probably no one person out there with all the knowledge and skills suggested herein.

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Some facilities lead the industry with streamlined RBI/IOW programs, and some facilities are just implementing standard calendar-based programs. Both are still susceptible to inspection interval gaps.

Authors: Chuck Provost
November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

As the industry strives to maintain PSM/OSHA compliance through owner/user mechanical integrity programs, inspection professionals should fully understand technical standards to generate an adequate repair recommendation or request further...

Authors: Blake Stermer
November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

This article summarizes seven key questions that an organization needs to answer to create a robust mechanical integrity program that is properly designed to monitor corrosion and indicate when issues increase to a level requiring review or...

Partner Content

The OmniScan X3 flaw detector is a complete phased array toolbox. Powerful tools, like total focusing method (TFM) images and advanced visualization capabilities, enable you to complete your inspection with greater confidence.

November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

This article describes a high-level dead leg integrity management program overview and is based on experience, knowledge, and adaptation of inspection management philosophies currently being implemented within the Oil & Gas and the petrochemical...

Authors: Mohamed Amer
November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

This paper provides the background for the technology behind the Third Edition thinning model as well as step-by-step worked examples demonstrating the methodology for thinning in this new edition of API RP 581.

Authors: Lynne Kaley
November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

The concept of reducing Condition Monitoring Locations (CMLs) is misguided, and the number and location of CMLs should be OPTIMIZED, not systematically reduced. CML allocation in piping requires a good process, otherwise, you can run into a lot of...

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
September/October 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

Integrity and reliability personnel at processing facilities are no strangers to initiatives to improve processes in the pursuit of establishing best-in-class reliability programs. It is common practice for operators to enlist help from third...

Authors: Kevin Birkby
Partner Content

Antea delivers highly flexible risk-based asset integrity software with 3D Digital Twin integration to optimize maintenance, reduce risk, and improve mechanical integrity for oil and gas, power generation, and chemical plants and facilities. Whether...

July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

Many plants inspect PRDs on preset intervals as recommended by inspection code API 510, and implement inspection practices such as API RP 576. Just seeking PRD compliance with codes and standards usually results in mediocre mechanical integrity and...

May/June 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

This paper identifies the attributes and benefits of a data and metrics-driven management system focused on process safety design integrity and reliability relative to loss of primary containment (LOC). This management system process focuses on the...

May/June 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

RBI and NII are designed to achieve significant cost savings and risk mitigation benefits over a piece of equipment’s lifetime in the long term.

Authors: Dr. Yury Sokolov
March/April 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

This article highlights the evolution of corrosion monitoring from conventional ultrasonic to ultrasonic phased array manual and automated solutions and their use for both general purposes and complex applications.

Authors: André Lamarre
January/February 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

Equipment integrity and reliability programs are essential for refinery and chemical facility operators. The processes of the programs are developed to ensure safety, optimize component life cycles, and promote smooth and economical operations.

Partner Content

Pro-Surve recently invested in the latest portable Higher Order Modes Clusters (HOMC) Guided Wave Testing tool, a new concept for the inspection of inaccessible regions using short-range guided waves. Inspection is carried out from the accessible...

November/December 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

To ensure the mechanical integrity and fitness-for-service (FFS) of equipment, facility managers, reliability engineers, and inspection technicians must understand the HTHA damage mechanism.

November/December 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

This article highlights several benefits of sound reliability and mechanical integrity practices and how they serve as the cornerstone of effective asset management. Moreover, we believe effective asset integrity management is not only important,...

November/December 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Once upon a time in the land of Ooze, there were two processing plants that boiled oil to make fuels and various other valuable petrochemical products. On one side of the river, rests a site called Perfecto Process Plant, while just across the river...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

If everyone in an industrial setting actively looked for things that were not right or seemed different, or looked at small mistakes as opportunities to prevent larger ones, what would the future look like?

Authors: Virginia Edley
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Inspectioneering recently had the opportunity to sit down with Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton and discuss the evolution of reliability in the oil and gas industry.

Authors: Jeremiah Wooten
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...

July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Rarely is there a new and unknown cause of a major Fixed Equipment Mechanical Integrity (FEMI) failure in the petrochemical and refining industry. This article briefly summarizes five major fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) failures from...

Authors: John Reynolds
Online Article

In the oil & gas, chemical and petrochemical industries, identifying, understanding, and controlling process hazards in order to prevent process-related injuries and incidents is of the utmost importance. EPA and OSHA have released numerous...

March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

The tubes of heat exchangers (HX), whether for a shell and tube bundle or an airfin, are typically subject to some form of nondestructive examination (NDE) to try and quantify the remaining wall thicknesses and corrosion rates to help a plant to...

Authors: A.C. Gysbers
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Reliability engineering tools and concepts can be used to avoid or delay failures, thus increasing product service life. Design or maintenance teams use reliability engineering techniques to identify failures and their causes.

November/December 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
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

The role of an API inspector is rapidly changing. Necessary skills for success have transformed as technology, standardization, and regulations have become part of the way of life.

Blog

One of the reasons we continue to have too many fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) events in the refining and process industries is the lack of understanding and appreciation by site management for the hazards posed by the 101 FEMI issues.

Authors: John Reynolds
Blog

For over 20 years OSHA's process safety management (PSM) standard worked to guarantee safe and healthy workplaces in industries that use hazardous chemicals. For most of that time the standard had remained largely unmodified. This all changed last...

Authors: Nick Schmoyer
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
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

The Province of Alberta has a long history of pressure equipment safety dating back to 1897 when the first boiler laws were introduced to regulate the new technology of steam boilers. Boiler inspectors were hired, and soon thereafter the Alberta...

Authors: Jeremiah Wooten
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

One of the more common inspection monitoring programs for pressure vessels is to perform thickness measurement at Corrosion Monitoring Locations (CMLs) to allow monitoring of minimum thicknesses and provide estimates for corrosion rates. These...

Authors: A.C. Gysbers
Blog

This blog post is the second part of a two part series that assesses the top ten reasons for FEMI failures that cause process safety incidents. The ten reasons I’ve outlined are a result of doing 60+ FEMI audits within refineries and chemical...

Authors: John Reynolds
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

There are typically three tiers to pass through for most fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) programs before they reach excellence in FEMI. In my 45 years in the FEMI business, I have observed FEMI programs in all three tiers (phases).

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

Earlier this year, our friends at Pinnacle Asset Integrity Services hosted a webinar entitled Mechanical Integrity Assessment: Why Bother? The broadcast included discussions on the history and value of asset integrity programs, as well as the...

Authors: Jeremiah Wooten
July/August 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

I have written numerous technical articles addressing how to improve your fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) program. This time I will deviate from the FEMI technologies and methodologies to address a topic that may be equally...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

The Process Safety Management Rule (29 CFR 1910.119 - PSM) has long been recognized as a collection of interdependent requirements. In recent reviews of PSM programs by OSHA, it has been shown that two of the most cited elements in agency audits...

Authors: Holly F. Baker
July/August 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

This is the last out of the ten articles in this series. Clearly, Continuous Improvement (CI) has a major role in achieving excellence in PEI&R. All the advances we’ve made over the years in achieving excellence in PEI&R stems from our continuous...

Authors: John Reynolds
March/April 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

What I am primarily concerned with, in this article, is erosion corrosion control. Now, what is erosion corrosion? Well, no matter how you might look at it, erosion corrosion involves the degradation of the material by some mechanical action, in...

March/April 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

Air-cooled heat exchangers (AC-HEs) are used extensively throughout the oil and gas industry, from upstream production to refineries and petrochemical plants, under high pressure and high temperature conditions, as well as corrosive fluids and...

Authors: Fernando Vicente
January/February 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

Thanks to constantly improving technology developments, inspection of atmospheric storage tanks has yielded better data which, when used as input, improves the accuracy of advanced assessment techniques. Coupling the improved inspection data with an...

January/February 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

Clearly, record-keeping and data management have a major role in achieving excellence in pressure equipment integrity and reliability (PEI&R). Everything else we do to achieve excellence in PEI&R stems from keeping high quality and complete PEI&R...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

In the first article entitled How to Put It All Together - Guide to Organizing a Successful PEI Program in the current series of articles that I am writing, I provided an overview of the necessary Management Systems (MS) for a successful program to...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

Maintenance has been around since prehistoric man fixed a broken, trusted spear instead of fashioning a new one. One concept of maintenance is any activity that extends the useful life or enhances the performance of an item of interest. A broad...

Authors: Barry Snider
September/October 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

The morning meeting at the plant was a tough one for you. As an area engineer you are not satisfied with the information you are receiving from your team's investigation into a major compressor wreck that has happened once again. The conclusion...

July/August 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

Once again there is a crack found in the inlet tubesheet in your high-pressure high temperature heat exchanger. As head of the maintenance engineering effort, you know that plant management will ask you if it can run safely and reliability until...

May/June 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

Putting off the initial inspection (i.e. baseline) of piping and vessels in a new process unit is both common and problematic. The tendency of owners is to rely on the nominal thickness because the actual original thickness was either not measured...

May/June 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

In two previous issues we discussed the important difference between steady and cyclic loading, and why loose bolts fail while tight ones do not. This issue will offer two suggestions for reducing the tendency for bolts to become loose.

Authors: Del Underwood
March/April 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

In the previous issue we dealt with the fact that bolts can withstand significantly less cyclic loading than steady loading. We are now looking at the mechanics of why bolts fail if flanges are allowed to separate during operation.

Authors: Del Underwood
March/April 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

The most common equipment vibration problems are often solved in industry without the use of specialty engineering resources. Routine vibration problems-from machinery imbalance and misalignment to simple cases of noise and resonance-are often...

January/February 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

In the first article in this series entitled How to Put It All Together - Guide to Organizing a Successful PEI Program, (1) I provided an overview of the necessary Management Systems (MS) for a successful program to achieve excellence in pressure...

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

A continually frustrating phenomenon to many of us is the situation where a tight bolt will function satisfactorily, but in the same situation, a loose bolt will fail...

Authors: Del Underwood
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
July/August 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

Inspection intervals for equipment have in the past been defined in a prescriptive manner. However, industry is now embracing the Risk Based Inspection (RBI) approach which in contrast prioritises inspections based on an assessment of the risk to...

January/February 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

Like all of the other 10 MSs in our filing cabinet, this MS on Management Leadership and Support of PEI (shown in Figure 2 below) is vital to success and linked inextricably to all the other PEI MSs.

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2009 Inspectioneering Journal

Leakage of pressure vessel and piping bolted joints in refineries is an unnecessary hazard, with high associated cost, that can be easily rectified using currently available technology. There have been advances in gasket testing technology in recent...

September/October 2009 Inspectioneering Journal

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
May/June 2009 Inspectioneering Journal

In the oil and gas industry, pressure vessel integrity is a major concern. After internal and external inspections various anomalies or defects can be reported and repairs could be required for pressure vessels in order to restore its original...

Authors: Fernando Vicente
November/December 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

It is important to preserve as accurate an account as possible if we are to learn from the past. I believe it is important to protect ourselves from ourselves from rationalizing the past to justify movement toward "rationalization of abnormalities",...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
September/October 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

It has been over 3 years since the fatal blast at the BP Texas City Refinery on March 23, 2005, where 15 lives were lost, more than 170 people injured and survivor's lives changed forever. Historical memory can be an odd thing.

Authors: Greg Alvarado
September/October 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

You're at 32,000 feet in an airplane when you look out the window. You observe the wing of the jet moving up and down with the turbulence, like a child bending a coat hanger over and over again until the wire fractures into two pieces. You wonder...

Authors: Richard Green
March/April 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

OSHA’s National Emphasis Program (NEP) (1) is now well underway, with 17 of 81 targeted refineries having been reviewed so far (2). OSHA launched the NEP in 2007 after the deadly incident at BP Texas City. As of March this year, OSHA claims to...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2007 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...

Authors: Mark Vining
July/August 2007 Inspectioneering Journal

Degradation of materials with time during service is a common phenomenon for all engineering components. Hence periodic inspection is required to ensure structural integrity and availability for service. During in-service inspection (ISI), wall...

May/June 2007 Inspectioneering Journal

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...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

This series of articles describes the elements for a successful fixed equipment reliability program in a petrochemical facility. These articles will address management systems, engineering practices, preventive/predictive maintenance/inspection...

Authors: F. Walter Pinto
September/October 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

This series of articles describes the elements for a successful fixed equipment reliability program in a petrochemical facility. These articles will address management systems, engineering practices, preventive/predictive maintenance/inspection...

Authors: F. Walter Pinto
September/October 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

The July/August 2006 issue of the IJ contained Part 1 on the integrity of salvaged, remanfactured and repaired control valves. This second part includes recommendations for the straightforward and efficient identification, abatement, and ongoing...

Authors: Bob Baker
July/August 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

Control valve damage resulting from severe service applications is typically recognized by visual inspection and corrective action (assuming such repair actions appropriately return the valve to its original design specifications and dimensions as...

Authors: Bob Baker
January/February 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

This survey did not make metrics the primary focus. More importantly, our focus was on practices that lead to better performance. You still have to link these practices to performance.

Authors: Greg Alvarado
May/June 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Carbon dioxide (CO2) corrosion is most typically found in boiler condensate return systems that are not adequately treated with corrosion inhibitors (typically amines). Dissolved CO2 in condensate forms carbonic acid (H2CO3) which corrodes steels...

Authors: John Reynolds
March/April 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

We are happy to announce the 10-year anniversary of the inaugural issue of the Inspectioneering Journal!

Authors: Greg Alvarado
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
January/February 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Hydrogen stress cracking occurs when corrosion from acids like wet hydrogen sulfide or hydrofluoric acid (HF) cause atomic hydrogen to penetrate hardened or higher strength steels and cause stress cracking.

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Demanding cleaner fuels Environmental regulators drive refiners to introduce bottom-of-the barrel conversion hydroprocessing units, to produce cleaner fuels. These include hydrotreaters and hydrocrackers with reactors that operate at high...

July/August 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

The following is the final part of a 2-part series outlining the relationship between key operating parameters and corrosion that has been used to develop a set of guidelines to define an operating envelope.

May/June 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Corrosion and fouling in HF Alkylation Units are closely linked to feed quality and operating conditions. This article outlines the relationship between key operating parameters and corrosion that has been used to develop a set of guidelines to...

January/February 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Casting defects are an age old problem for our industry that seems to be getting worse as foundries in the older industrialized world shutdown for economic reasons.

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Hydrogen Embrittlement (HE) is an insidious form of degradation that can strike during equipment fabrication, cleaning, repairs or while in-service. It stems from the infusion of atomic hydrogen into some higher strength steels that then leads to...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

There are a variety of forms of wet H2S cracking. In this short article I will focus on two of the most common forms: hydrogen induced cracking and stress-oriented hydrogen induced cracking (HIC/ SOHIC). HIC is often fairly innocuous (but not...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Ammonia stress corrosion cracking (SCC) has been around a long time. Most everyone has experienced it from time to time. It's not uncommon in brass tubes in cooling water service that is contaminated with ammonia due to biological growths or other...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Recently an unnecessary financial incident was caused as a result of an inadequate tank inspection and failure to recognize the hazards of rain entering leaking fixed roofs of storage tanks. A bolted bladder tank upgrade was scoped for miscellaneous...

Authors: P.E. Myers
July/August 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Thermal shock is another one of those pressure equipment afflictions where communication with operating groups is a vital factor in prevention. Thermal shock failures usually involve sudden quenching of high temperature equipment and furnace tubes...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Cavitation is the sudden formation and immediate collapse of vapor or air bubbles in a liquid stream when system pressure falls below the vapor pressure of the liquid. The sudden collapse of these tiny bubbles generates enormous, though tiny forces...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Few of us have not experienced or heard about vibration fatigue (cracking) failures, especially around pumps and compressors. Typically small branch connections, equalizer lines, vents and drains are susceptible, especially if they are screwed...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Graphitization is not something that operators can do much about, and thankfully it is not very common. We as engineers and inspectors have to know about this one and prevent it or detect it. It occurs when the microstructure of some carbon and...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

This is the name given to a form of embrittlement that occurs in 400 series of stainless steels, duplex SS's and less commonly in some 300 series stainless steels containing a metallurgical phase called ferrite. The embrittlement occurs from 600...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

This failure mechanism is unfortunately all too common in our industry. It's also known as stress rupture, and it is usually entirely preventable by proper maintenance and operating procedures. It occurs when equipment, piping or furnace tubes...

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Now you say, he's got to be putting me on. What is green rot? I didn't invent it. I first read about it in one of the early texts on corrosion engineering by Ughlig or Fontana, the venerable corrosion professors at MIT & Ohio State. But when I...

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Welcome to a new series of articles about the ninety-nine leading types of degradation, flaws and failure that can and do happen to pressure equipment in the hydrocarbon process industry.

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

In part 1 we covered: - Evolution of the emergence of advanced NDE - External and internal motivators to develop more effective inspection programs - Risk based approaches - Sources of industry reference materials - Setting the Course - Why...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
September/October 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

Hydrogen-induced cracking is a damage mechanism commonly observed in the petroleum refining industry [1, 2]. The damage appears as laminar cracks and blisters, which can link up in the through-wall direction to form stepwise cracking.

Authors: W. David Wang
July/August 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

We've come a long way since my introduction to plant inspection processes in 1975 and certainly since the industrial revolution in the late 1800's. As I recall from history class it was the intent of the wealthy industrialist to make money, plain...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
March/April 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

Determination of the mechanical integrity of pipe and equipment in US process industries has evolved from day to day business to federal mandate (OSHA 1901.119) to a part of industry best practice. Insulated pipe and equipment pose specific...

Authors: Deal Moore
September/October 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

In part 1 of this article we covered the importance of quality assurance of UT data, that is, understanding for each particular application, the accuracy required of the UT data, and new ways/graphical program to analyze and show the...

September/October 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

This article continues to outline the 101 essential elements that need to be in place, and functioning well, to effectively and efficiently, preserve and protect the reliability and integrity of pressure equipment (vessels, exchangers, furnaces,...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

Many digital ultrasonic thickness gauges have internal memory that allows the storage of thousands of thickness readings. Some instruments have "sequential" data loggers that store the thickness values in a numerical series. These data loggers are...

Authors: Art Leach
May/June 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

Keeping critical equipment on-line can be a challenging task. Monitoring the wall thickness of equipment subjected to corrosive chemicals, temperature and operational changes is both a safety and manufacturing concern. Thus, on-line testing of...

Authors: Art Leach
May/June 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

In two previous issues we discussed the important difference between steady and cyclic loading, and why loose bolts fail while tight ones do not. This issue will offer two suggestions for reducing the tendency for bolts to become loose.

Authors: Del Underwood
January/February 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

One of the greatest challenges facing many of refining, fossil power, and pulp and paper industries is: How to effectively examine their insulated piping?

January/February 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

In the previous issue, we dealt with the fact that bolts can withstand significantly less cyclic loading then steady loading. We are now looking at the mechanics of why bolts fail if flanges are allowed to separate during operation.

Authors: Del Underwood
November/December 1998 Inspectioneering Journal

In Part 1 of this article, in the last edition of the IJ, I introduced the work process that we use to assess the effectiveness of our pressure equipment integrity (PEI) management. It involves a self-assessment workbook filled out by site...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

Damage of carbon steel pressure vessels due to various in-service damage mechanisms continues to be a serious concern in the refining and petrochemical industries. A survey conducted in 1990 by the NACE T-8-16 Work Group to determine the nature and...

July/August 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

In a past issue, we discussed one solution to the instrument line block valve pendulum problem. This was where the valve assembly can be mounted remotely from the vibrating product line, such as at-grade. This issue covers two possibilities where...

Authors: Del Underwood
May/June 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

In the Jan/Feb issue of the IJ, I mentioned how important the Management of Change (MOC) process is when it comes to maintaining safe, leak-free piping systems; stating that we in the inspection business cannot do it alone; that is, we taint the...

Authors: John Reynolds
March/April 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

This is the second in a series of articles on piping inspection. In the last article, I enumerated four inspection issues that I believe contribute to inadequate piping mechanical integrity in the hydrocarbon process industry.

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

This is Part II of a series of reliability of coke drums. Part I discussed some of the causes of bulging and cracking in coke drums. Here, the effect of operation on damage will be covered, along with possible solutions for increasing drum life...

July/August 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

A set of delayed coker drums were placed in service in 1968, and now have 27 years of service in what may be the most violent and severe cyclic loading conditions of any petrochemical vessel. As part of the continuous evaluation of their integrity,...

May/June 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

This final issue on gusset problems will discuss why gussets are "stiffeners" rather than "strengtheners." The effective load bearing capacity of a member of given strength is based upon how large a cross-sectional area is carrying the load....

Authors: Del Underwood
May/June 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

A set of delayed coker drums was placed in service in 1968, and now have 27 years of service in what may be the most violent and severe cyclic loading conditions of any petrochemical vessel. As part of the continuous evaluation of their integrity,...

March/April 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

A pair of delayed coker drums was placed in service in 1968, and now have 28 years of service in what may be the most severe cyclic loading conditions of any petrochemical vessels. They are a conventional ASME VIII/Div 1 pressure vessel design...

January/February 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

Last issue, in keeping with the evaluation that "gussets are stiffeners, not strengtheners," we discussed welding around the ends of the gusset plate instead of just along the sides in order to reduce the stress concentration. A further improvement...

January/February 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

On-line condition monitoring concepts which have originally been applied to vibration monitoring of rotating equipment are now being applied to monitoring the structural integrity of power plant components. Market demand for more flexible plant...

Authors: George Jones
November/December 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

In our inspection organizations, we have identified a number of critical success factors (CSF's) which are vitally important if we are to achieve the level of pressure equipment reliability and integrity to which we aspire. One of our CSF's is the...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Nelson Curve changes in the late 1980's provided cause for Shell Oil Company to look at more reliable NDE non-destructive evaluation methods for assessment of materials/equipment in high temperature hydrogen service. The primary change motivating...

September/October 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Low-energy piping system failures in power-generating facilities are often the result of fouling and corrosion. These degradation mechanisms can affect the capacity of piping for fluid-carrying, the heat transfer rates of heat exchangers, and the...

July/August 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Eight years ago PG&E began a program for its fossil plants for early detection, repair and prevention of Erosion/Corrosion (E/C) failure mechanisms. Since its inception, hundreds of worn piping components have been detected and repaired before...

Authors: Joseph M. Mazzeo
May/June 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Corrosion is one of those "equal opportunity" hazards that affects all industries indiscriminately, to the tune of billions of dollars annually in repair and replacement costs. Some types of corrosion are readily apparent, such as rusting of...

Authors: Greg Kobrin
May/June 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.119, "Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals," has been in effect since may of 1992. To enforce this...

May/June 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Equipment maintenance methods and philosophies continue to evolve. What has taken many by surprise is the rate of change and the sense of urgency that now surrounds issues related to Mechanical Integrity (MI) in the field of maintenance...

March/April 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

We dedicate this forum to the owners/operators of Chemical, Refining and Utility process facilities. The Inspectioneering Journal will publish articles on a bi-monthly basis. Some of the topics we will cover as they relate to mechanical integrity...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
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        This white paper from Olympus discusses new solutions for long seam weld inspections, which have historically been challenging to inspect because of their thin wall thicknesses, the vertical weld bevel orientation, and the pipe curvature.

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        This white paper from the experts at Quest Integrity discusses how through the application of ADCV, facilities are able to use data-driven solutions to reduce decoking times and reveal unexpected operational issues and validate cleaning efforts.

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          This helpful guide provides an outline of current jurisdictional regulations (as of July 2021) in the United States for the use of RBI as a means of determining the next inspection date for initial and subsequent internal inspection of storage tanks.

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          This checklist serves as a companion piece to the Inspectioneering webinar, CUI: A Proactive Approach, and contains some elements to consider when looking for data gaps in your CUI program.

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          The Mechanical Integrity Audit Checklist serves as a companion piece to the Inspectioneering webinar, Auditing My Mechanical Integrity Program, presented by Mr. Reuben Laurel.

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