Overview of Mechanical Integrity (MI)

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:

  • Risks need to be identified and prioritized for each process unit.
  • Corrosion Control Documents (CCDs) should be kept for each process unit.
  • Proper inspection programs should be put in place for piping and other systems that comply with the latest industry standards and use the latest technology.
  • An Integrity Operating Window (IOW) program needs to be put into place.  
  • A comprehensive Management of Change (MOC) process should be implemented.
  • ... and so on.
Special thanks to the following contributors to this Integripedia topic:
  • Pat Williams, KBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. 

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