|Quest Integrity Group (www.questintegrity.com), a global leader in the development and delivery of advanced inspection and engineering assessment services and software products, recently performed a furnace tube inspection on process coils during a clients scheduled maintenance turnaround. Quest Integrity discovered unique corrosion damage during this inspection using its proprietary furnace tube inspection system, FTIS, an intelligent pig capable of rapid, automated, ultrasonic fired heater coil inspection.
The purpose of the inspection was to identify and quantify areas of deformation and wall loss, but the FTIS inspection also detected areas of increased wall thickness. Such areas are generally the result of internal or external build-up on the pipe wall; however, visual inspection of the external surface combined with a detailed review of the FTIS inspection data from the interior surface did not indicate such build-up. A detailed metallurgical analysis performed by Quest Integritys multi-disciplined advanced engineering team determined that the material properties of the pipe changed, thus creating an environment for this unique corrosion development and the increase in thickness. Although alternative materials were considered, Quest Integrity and client personnel collaboratively determined that the base metal material, while subject to this unique corrosion mechanism, was the best alloy choice for the heater.
Future plans include annual monitoring of these areas with the FTIS technology until the client determines the coils are no longer fit-for-service and schedules coil replacements. Without the 100% inspection coverage provided by FTIS, it is unlikely this unique corrosion damage would have been detected prior to tube failure. The client, with the help of Quest Integrity, plans to monitor the heater, thus mitigating risk to personnel, equipment and the environment.
One hundred percent pipe coverage enables detection of metallurgical change and monitoring of its progression. This is one of the many advantages of ultrasonic inspection, said Darrell Meinen, Technical Advisor at Quest Integrity Group.
Quest Integrity Group, a Team Industrial Services company (NASDAQ: TISI), is a global leader in the development and delivery of asset integrity and reliability management services and solutions for its clients. Solutions consist of technology-enabled, advanced inspection and engineering assessment services and products that help companies in the refining and chemical, pipeline, syngas and power industries increase profitability, reduce operational and safety risks, and improve operational planning. Quest Integrity Group is headquartered in Seattle and has offices in Houston, Denver, Canada, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand.