Integrity Support

Sonomatic’s Integrity Services department provides clients with a fully integrated service from detailed inspection planning, through to the evaluation of the results and the creation of an ongoing integrity management plan. The aim is to bridge the gap between integrity and inspection activities to ensure that the client’s integrity needs are effectively met through a sufficient understanding of the real condition of equipment in service.

The Integrity Services department is heavily involved in the fast-growing area of NII, which can be used to replace the internal visual inspection of pressure vessels. NII removes the hazards associated with personnel entry and inspection can often be completed whilst the vessel is online, thus eliminating costs associated with shut-downs. The department’s expertise provides an integrity perspective to the evaluation of inspection data. 

Services are provided in the following areas:

Fitness For Service Assessments

Equipment in service may be subject to a variety of degradation mechanisms including, corrosion, pitting and fatigue cracking. It is possible that after some time in service, the condition of the equipment changes to the point where it no longer complies with the requirements of the original design code. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the equipment is no longer suitable for use.

A detailed assessment, based on consideration of Fitness For Service (FFS) following industry recognised guidelines, may be used to demonstrate that continued operation is justifiable. FFS assessments consider the condition of the equipment and allow robust decisions on the continued operation to be made.

Fitness for service assessment process:
  • The first stage in any fitness for service assessment is the identification of the condition that may be of concern, this relies on effective inspection. Sonomatic are world leaders in the application of various inspection methods to identify and quantify areas of degradation. Sonomatic also offers an interpretation of inspection results completed by third parties to determine whether an assessment is required.
  • Once the condition has been quantified, an assessment can be completed to determine whether the equipment can be considered fit for service. Sonomatic complete assessments in accordance with API 579, BS7910, B31G and R6 as appropriate. These codes cover most in-service defect types likely to be encountered in the Oil & Gas and process industries.
  • Finite element analysis is sometimes required in the assessment to demonstrate the integrity of the equipment. Sonomatic can create finite element models, combining design information and inspection data. The models can be tested to determine whether the equipment can be considered fit for service.
  • In some cases, the assessment may conclude that a piece of equipment is not fit for service under the current operating conditions. Where appropriate, Sonomatic can offer advice on changes that can be made to the operating conditions (such as temperature and pressure) that would allow the continued safe operation of a piece of equipment.
  • Following an assessment of the current condition of a piece of equipment, Sonomatic can provide estimates on limiting operational criteria. This, coupled with estimated degradation rates allow future inspection strategies to be defined, allowing the equipment to be successfully monitored and operated safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

FFS assessments are generally completed following the identification of degradation exceeding any corrosion allowance. The assessment is used to determine whether the equipment is still suitable for operation.

Yes. Sonomatic generally follow the guidelines of API 579 to complete fitness for service assessments. The guidelines allow three different levels of assessment depending on the geometry of the equipment and the severity of the degradation.

Level 1 assessments are the simplest and most conservative. These assessments use the minimum thickness and the dimensions of the degradation to calculate if the equipment is suitable for operation.

Level 2 assessments are more complex than Level 1 assessments but are also less conservative. These assessments use a degradation profile to assess the condition of the equipment.

Level 3 assessments are the most complex but also the least conservative. The assessments create a finite element simulation of the equipment to determine whether it is suitable for continued service.

Yes. If a suitable corrosion rate can be determined, the future condition of the equipment can be estimated and assessed. This approach allows the remaining life of the equipment to be estimated. Continued monitoring of areas of degradation allows the corrosion rate to be updated and the remaining life to be re-evaluated.

The Sonomatic Integrity Team can supplement all inspection activities integrating to provide either pre or post inspection support. This can be in the form of, for example, inspection planning or evaluation of data.

We can provide formal justification for externally applied sampling inspection of many components. This includes the design of key inspection requirements through statistical simulation of proposed inspection strategies against expected degradation scenarios.

Data analytics and comparison of repeat inspection data are some of the core ways we support inspection activity. In addition, we can provide verification of inspection data against different techniques. For example, the verification of in-line inspection (ILI) data compared to the data Sonomatic collects using external techniques.

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