Friday 23 April 2010

Corrosion/erosion monitoring

In the oil and gas industry alone, corrosion- and erosion-related losses total billions of dollars every year through unscheduled plant or pipeline shutdowns, lost production, high repair costs, and imposed fines. In addition, incalculable damage can result from potential employee injuries and the effect of spillage on an organization’s reputation.

In industries where the integrity of piping, vessels, and other fixed assets can be compromised by corrosion or erosion, the consequences of failure can be both serious and costly. Historically, time-based, manual inspection methods have been employed to mitigate these risks; unfortunately, this is a very costly approach, frequently involving excavation, scaffolding, special permits, and other expenses. As a result, the annual maintenance costs for assets relying on manual inspection methods are among the highest in the operation.

GE’s Rightrax® system (from GE Energy) reduces these problems using innovative online technology to end costly, time-based inspections while simultaneously providing better, more timely, and more frequent corro­sion/erosion information that dramatically decreases the risk of asset failure. With ROI for the Rightrax system typically less than a year, the economics of going online are compelling. With support for the Rightrax system now available in GE’s System 1® Software, going online is easier and more powerful.

The system uses non-invasive, ultra­sonic sensing technology that attaches to the outside of the asset and measures wall thickness. Rightrax sensors can be polled periodically, allowing users to assess not only useful life remaining by comparing current values to minimum thickness limits, but to establish historical trends. This ability to trend data sets it apart from even the most frequent manual inspection regimens. The benefits are two-fold:

First, users can understand the rate at which corrosion/erosion is progressing, allowing better maintenance planning. Second, users can correlate Rightrax data with process data, providing powerful insight into cause-effect relationships that can help operators understand and avoid the conditions that accelerate corrosion/erosion rates and corresponding asset degradation.

Second, integration provides Rightrax users with all the powerful capabilities native to System 1 software for displaying, trending, analyzing, plotting, and correlating data. It provides powerful import/export functionality for integration with reporting tools and programs, such as Crystal Reports® and Microsoft® Excel®. What sets the power of the System 1 environment apart is its decision support technology: powerful automa­tion capabilities that can automatically analyze data using sophisticated, user-written rules and embedded knowledge. When specific conditions or anomalies of an unknown origin are detected, the system can send intelligent advisories to appropriate personnel.

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