Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Inspection can be done for two main reasons; first for periodic check-up as human being is recommended to do medical check-up and second if there is any rectification to be done to the system as human being as well where need to go for medication.

The inspection wills actually reflecting the performance of the plant or platform in term of downtime. As for shutdown, there are planned and unplanned shutdowns. So, during the planned shutdown there will be couple of teams conducting inspection for identified equipment for respective department. Obviously department such operation, technical service, maintenance, and inspection will take part as main role player. Inspection during planned shutdown usually will be taken part by almost all of the engineers from respective department. Unplanned shutdown usually occur due plant upset where unexpected than planned happens. So, the team for the inspection will be called usually as root cause analysis, (RCA) team. For this kind of inspection, usually there will be one engineer from each department.

Inspection for planned shutdown usually will take place as mandatory for Department of Occupational, Safety, and Health (DOSH) requirement to conduct inspection during the turnaround (TA). During this period of duration, related vendors also take part to inspect. As an owner of the plant, all the observations and findings will be recorded to investigate the process behavior. Normally technical service department will do all this since most of the troubleshooting will be done by this department which acts as internal consultant for the plant. The rest of the departments might look into the findings mainly on the physical of the equipments in term of the welding, joint between connection, thickness of the wall of the equipment, etc. From all the findings, respective departments will come with the recommendations or conclusions in order to rectify it before the equipment is boxed up. For example, inspection to the shell and tube heat exchanger might be found with slurry that stagnant at any corner of tube or shell. Prior to this inspection, operation/production department might have faced problem in achieving desired temperature due to inefficient heat transfer. So, further study will be conducted so that fouling in future can be reduced so that won’t affect the performance until the next turnaround. The heat exchanger might be redesigned so that minimum velocity can be achieved so that the liquid can form turbulence enough to move any possible materials along the tube or shell. Besides, for those young engineers that desired to be design engineer can be credit since have seen the real internal part of the equipments. From there, the young engineers can take some reasonable margin or consideration when designing the equipments even not highlighted by theory.

Inspection during unplanned shutdown will be conducted in order to rectify the problem faced that causes plant upset. The RCA team will conduct a study on factors and solutions and present it to the management whereby there is no presentation to the management during inspection for planned shutdown. There will be a leader selected by plant general manager to lead the study which usually from technical division that familiar with the process involved. Historical data for the operation will be studied whether the operation follows the operating envelope while operating the plant. Typical cases for this unplanned shutdown and inspection are tube ruptures for furnace and heat exchangers.So, both inspections are really crucial for all generally and those young design engineer specifically since the real equipment can be seen in term of physical appearance and problems faced. If there is any chance to get involve, then it is recommended to grab the opportunity. It might be harshly and messy but will be end up with fruitful experience and knowledge when designing any equipments.

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