MISTRAS has extensive experience conducting comprehensive Fitness-for-Service (FFS) assessments on various assets and industries to evaluate mechanical integrity.
Industrial assets that have been in operation may develop degradation and damage of construction materials due to either normal or abnormal operating conditions. Critical damage mechanisms can occur in a short or a long operation term, involving equipment failures affecting a safe and reliable operation. An unplanned asset shutdown due to equipment failure is expensive in terms of both missing production, resulting in loss of revenue, and resources required to fix a particular mechanical integrity issue.
Damage mechanisms can be assessed using a fitness-for-service (FFS) approach. An FFS assessment is an industry recognized practice developed to assist operators in managing mechanical integrity of their assets, as well as making run-repair-replace documented decisions by determining if equipment is safe for immediate return to service. It comprises a rational basis for defining material damage acceptance. With a low-level assessment, a decision can be taken in a short period. A higher level of assessment is complex and time-consuming but still require less time and cost than ordering, supplying, and commissioning of replacement equipment.
FFS assessments of equipment may be viewed both in terms of current and future condition or remaining life. For aging assets, FFS assessments are useful to estimate how much remaining service life can be expected for particular equipment that can continue in service despite anomalies; where repair or replace if equipment is still suitable for service would be an unnecessary and costly.
Acceptance of FFS assessments is increasing across multiple industries, as the benefits have been demonstrated in a wide range of applications. FFS is applicable to many components for several type of damage mechanisms. FFS assessments are conducted following the standard API 579/ASME FFS-1; recognized and referenced by other API Codes such as 510, 570, and 653, and the National Board Inspection Code ANSI NB-23. The standard contains procedures for calculating the impact of damage mechanisms such as brittle fracture, general metal loss, local metal loss, pitting corrosion, blisters and laminations, weld misalignment and shell distortion, crack-like flaws, creep damage, and fire damage. An assessment can be performed in three levels: Levels 1, 2, and 3. Each successive level is less conservative, and requires increasing data, calculations, and engineering effort to achieve the most accurate outcome and possible longer equipment remaining life.
Inspection information is a critical input to an FFS assessment. Asset Integrity Management Services (AIMS) engineers develop inspection and testing plans (ITPs) based on damage mechanism review (DMR), and traditional and advanced specialized non-destructive testing (NDT), using systematization and circuitization methodologies for nearly any industry process. Data from these integrity approaches can be centralized in MISTRAS’ world-class inspection data management software Plant Condition Management Software PCMS™. AIMS works in close combination with MISTRAS’ inspection personnel during the execution of the ITPs, for all level of FFS assessments. This unique approach of MISTRAS covers the entire circle of an asset integrity management.
There are numerous benefits to adding FFS assessments to an asset integrity management program. Conducting FFS assessments supports reliability of process facilities and reduces challenges related to expenditure and assessment completion time. Planning for an integrity assessment can save time collecting the data required to complete the assessment. Including FFS approaches as part of maintenance programs can save costs during facilities outages. Ensuring that these capabilities exist can reduce duration of shutdowns and potentially avoid unplanned shutdowns. MISTRAS has a proven track record in conducting comprehensive FFS assessments that have benefited industry operators by supporting:
Whether it is a single FFS assessment, Suitability-for-Service assessment of an undocumented pressure vessel or a large process facility condition assessment for a service life extension program, our qualified and certified FFS engineers are ready to develop integrated cost-effective solutions for your business needs.
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