All existing systems, components and structures in an energy or industrial installation, depending on their design, construction and environmental and operating conditions, are affected, by some form of degradation and aging thus varying its operational life. The deterioration due to aging suffered by the main components is controlled and mitigated through the implementation of inspection plans and life management, ensuring that the same levels of safety and quality in the operation are maintained.
The fundamental objective of the inspection activities is to guarantee the physical and structural integrity of the systems and components of the industrial facilities. To do this, we must study the most critical areas, the degradation phenomena that may affect them, and the monitoring techniques that allow us to determine the existence of such degradations and their extent. Therefore, the implementation of an inspection plan involves preparing an Inspection Manual, performing the non-destructive tests described in it and evaluating the inspection results.
For better management of the inspection plans, it is advisable to have digital support tools to be able to correctly monitor the plant inspection plan, allowing the centralization of storage and query of results, apart from being able to evaluate them and update the inspection plan based on these.
How does Tecnatom help in the maintenance and inspection of plants?
In order to optimally manage the results of the inspections and to properly monitor the evolution of the state of the plant components, it is necessary to store the information related to the plant inspections in a platform that allows quick access to the available data.
For this reason, Tecnatom has developed two platforms based on digitalization in maintenance and inspection processes, which are Inspections Manager (TecOS GIPE) and WebISI (TecOS ISI). Both tools allow the monitoring of the results of all the inspections and tests carried out on the plant components, considering two very different sectors such as the industrial/thermal (TecOS GIPE) and the nuclear (TecOS ISI). This factor, together with the flexibility to adapt to different solutions according to the type of plant and the type of applicable regulations, makes them platforms capable of being integrated into a wide variety of plants.
Some of the needs covered with such tools are, for example, to easily identify the inspection areas, incorporating for them the plant plans along with the representation of the area to be inspected, or the possibility of programming the areas to be inspected directly from the Inspection Manual or for a specific interval or stop, as well as from the plans, achieving more intuitive programming.
In the same way, the Inspection Manual and Inspection Procedures are incorporated, with two objectives: first, to have the scope of the inspections in terms of areas to be inspected, techniques to be used, scope, frequency, etc., and, second, to be able to easily update, from the corresponding platform, the Inspection Manual or the applicable Procedures, and convert it into a live and constantly updated tool, with the latest available information of degradation mechanisms, applicable inspection techniques, etc. . In this way, the plants that use the TecOS GIPE or TecOS ISI platforms keep permanently updated all the information regarding inspections carried out and the current status of the different components.
The use of digital platforms in maintenance and inspection
Thanks to the use of digital platforms used in the maintenance and inspection process, industrial and nuclear plants obtain several improvements in the management of inspections:
- Inspections Manual / Inspection Procedures as a reference base. An Inspection Manual is available in an online format, which allows it to be updated easily by the plant maintenance personnel.
- Preparation of the inspection. For this purpose, all the information available from previous stops can be used, being able to analyze the information associated with the different inspection areas, program them and issue necessary reports to be able to request the corresponding offers of the inspection works.
- Conducting the inspection. During the inspection, the field sheets can be generated on the fly, with their respective plans, and be able to complete it offline / online. This also allows the monitoring of the inspection to be carried out by controlling the work carried out and the tasks to be undertaken, apart from being able to evaluate them for possible degradations (Remaining life management).
- Resource management. Applying comparative criteria between different inspections, and even between different plants, you can optimize the scope, techniques, resources and times used in the inspection process, and all this easily and quickly through graphics and reports. Likewise, by having the scope of the inspection completely delimited before starting the bidding process, possible deviations during the inspection itself by the contracted company are eliminated, reducing both the costs in the inspection and the stopping times.
In short, the digitalization of processes provides new tools for a more efficient management of assets in multiple sectors. Hand in hand with these tools are safer operations of industrial plants and electrical generation facilities, improving results and optimizing the operation.