5 Opportunities to Avail for Refinery and Petrochemical Plant Inspection

In Refining and Petrochemical Industries, the inspections are scheduled at calculated intervals, to determine the condition of equipment and to identify damage or deterioration. For this, unit shutdowns are planned to conduct inspections at specific time. Also the regular checks while equipment is in service help to provide useful information regarding mechanical and physical conditions. Sometimes due to operational/process failure or mechanical breakdown, unplanned shutdowns are carried out at time which is not expected. In such unexpected circumstances, opportunities can be availed to perform additional check-ups in order to;
  1. Distribute the workload
  2. Reduce the workload
  3. Reduce the duration of outage

This article involves all those conditions where opportunity to conduct inspection can be utilized.

1. When the equipment is out of service for cleaning
Normally when equipment is opened out of service for cleaning purposes, advantage can be taken to perform inspection on it. The collected data and information from such inspections can be useful to spot out repair requirements for next expected shutdown.

Examples: Heat Exchangers and Distillation Towers where equipment or parts of equipment are removed for cleaning.

2. Unexpected Operational Drop or Mechanical Break-down
As stated above unplanned shutdowns are placed due to unanticipated operational or mechanical problems. Such intervals can be utilized to inspect the equipment internally and the findings of which can be used to verify recent on-stream collected data. Moreover repairs and replacements can also be made if need be.

3. On-stream Inspection
It is a type inspection perform from the outside of an on-stream equipment (without shutting it down), using special non-destructive examination NDE techniques. The point of this inspection is to check and ensure the pressure boundaries of an equipment for continued safe service. 

4. External Inspection while Equipment is in service
An external inspection can be performed during both when the equipment is or is not in service. Advantage should be taken to make external inspection of structural components, foundation, support, paint, insulation etc. while an equipment is in service. Moreover wall thickness for the calculation of corrosion and remaining life can also be evaluated using NDE techniques; ultrasonic testing and radiography.

5. Process Inefficiencies and Difficulties
When an operational group faces difficulties in operation/process, it is required to report the problem to inspection group. Inspection of such problems may reveal the indication of damage and associated deterioration.

  1. If the rate of heat exchange is reduced below the certain level, it’s more likely to expect the blockage of heat exchanger tubes by a considerable amount of corrosion deposits.
  2. Similarly the difficulty in taking out of distillation product in fractionation tower, may also point to damage of certain parts that ought to be repaired or replaced in order to avoid contamination of product.

These findings are quite helpful to provide worthwhile information for the next expected inspection.


Random Examinations during service or out-of-service for unanticipated reasons, play a vital role in lowering the work pressure, equipment downtime and equipment damage. Using them we can establish factors and recommendations beforehand, essential for upcoming scheduled inspections.

American Petroleum Institute API Recommended Practice, Inspection Practices for Pressure Vessel, In-service Inspection, Rating, Repair and Alteration.
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4 Top Welding Supply Companies in United States

Are you looking for a staunch and infallible source for welding supplies, equipment repair and maintenance or rental services which are consistently good in quality and available at affordable price? Then you are at right place. Listed below are the leading distributors in United States which are providing their customers with exceptional services. Have a look!

1. Welder Supply Company
In 1938, a genteel welder called George Uhlir introduced a welding supply company with the concept of providing the customers with his best welding products and services. With the passage of time the company grew by paying particular attention to new and sophisticated metal joining techniques. Today it is the most reliable source of quality welding solutions and products just like its trailblazer. The Welder Supply Company deals in all kinds of welding equipment including;
  • Safety Equipment: Welding Clothing, Gloves, Helmet, Glasses, Hearing Protection, Face Shields
  • Welding Machines: TIG Tungsten Inert Gas Welding, MIG Metal Inert Gas Welding, Stick / Manual Metal Arc Welding.
  • Accessories and Tools: Filler Rods and Wires, Tools, Clamps, Gases and Abrasives.
  • Gas Welding and Cutting Machines and Plasma Cutting Machines.

Moreover the company also provides its customers with top-class services - Welding Supplies, Technical support, Equipment Repairing and calibration etc.

Contact Information
Address: Headquarters 704, 4th Street Beloit, Wisconsin USA
Call: 1-800-236-8825

ESAB is the world’s pre-eminent producer in welding and cutting equipment. It commits to manufacture the top-quality products and to deliver the best solutions to meet the customer satisfaction. It supplies the following products to various industries worldwide including; pipelines, pipe mills, power generation, fabrication, process industry, civil construction, onshore and offshore oil and gas, transport etc.
  • Arc Welding Equipment; TIG Tungsten Inert Gas, MIG Metal inert gas, SMAW Shield metal arc, accessories.
  • Welding Automation; Robotics, Controllers, Heads, Handling Equipment, Tractors, Columns and Booms.
  • Filler metals/ Consumables; Coated Stick Electrodes, FCAW wires (gas shielded and self-shielded), TIG Rods, Metal Cored Wires, MIG Wires, Submerged Arc Rods and Fluxes, Welding taps.

  • Cutting Equipment; Gas Cutting Machine, Carbon Arc Gouging, Plasma Cutting, accessories. 
  • Safety Equipment; Personal Protective equipment, Goggles, Welding Helmet, Clothing.

Contact Information
Address: ESAB Welding and Cutting Products 2800 Airport Road Denton Texas, United States
Call:  1-800-372-2123

ARCO commits to be the best welding equipment supplier and repair service provider which is located in Malden Massachusetts, United States. The company was established in 1950 by an estimable family. Today with a great deal of effort and endurance for over six decades, ARCO is now a recognized distributor. They have a great deal of variety in products from the following manufacturers; Miller, Lincoln Electric, Airflow, Harris, DeWalt and Diamond Group. Moreover they also facilitate the customers with affordable rental services.

Contact Information
Address: 1200 Eastern Ave, Malden, Massachusetts
Call: 781-324-3510

4. Advanced Welding Supply Company Inc.
A family owned company which is organized to delight its customers with a dependable supply of industrial gas and welding equipment. The AWSC also provides the industrial sector with immediate repair and maintenance services of the equipment they supply. They offer a wide range of products from a diverse of manufacturers including;
  • Gases, Gas Apparatus and Cutting Equipment
  • Welding equipment, machines and accessories
  • Filler metals and consumables
  • Plasma Cutting Equipment, abrasives and tools
  • Safety and personal protective equipment

Contact Information
Address: Corporate Office 9036 W. Schlinger Ave West Allis WI 53214

Call: 414-258-7100 
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Popular Welding Schools in Australia

Listed below are the popular welding schools and precisely the best institutions in Australia which offer advance education incorporating the latest developments and trends in welding sphere. They are committed to provide education, training and advanced skills to the beginners as well as the individuals who are seeking to achieve certification. Have a look!

1. Welding Technology Institute of Australia
To meet the exigency of Australian economic growth, The Welding Technology Institute of Australia is working to make progress in steel joining technologies. For this the institute conducts the training courses on professional development to produce a competitive manpower on both national and international levels. It provides quality education on the welding inspection, coordination, certification and qualification and occupational health and safety at work field.
Courses: International Welding Inspector, International Welding Engineer, International Welding Specialist, International Welding Technologist, International Welding Coordinator, Occupational Health and Safety, Welder’s Qualification and Certification.

Contact Information
Address: WTIA Building # 3, Level 3, Pymble Cooperate Sector 20 Bridge Street Pymble Australia.

2. Melbourne Polytechnic
The Melbourne Polytechnic provides a wide range of educational and professional development opportunities for both local and international students who are ambitious to follow a reputable career in the field of welding, boiler making, metal trade, production supervisor, manufacturing and fabrication etc.
Courses they offer are; Arc and Oxyacetylene welding, Welding Supervisor, Production Manager, Pressure Vessel and Boiler Making, Drawing Reading and many more.

Contact Information
Address: Melbourne Polytechnic 77 St Georges Road Preston Victoria Australia

3. Australian Welding Institute
The Education and Certification Department of the Australian Welding Institute commits to provide the propitious and promising education, training, qualification and certification for worldwide welding fabrication industry. It offers both nationally and internationally recognized certifications in the field of welding inspection, welders certification and welders supervisor.

Contact Information
Address: AWI Australian Welding Institute P.O Box 1140 Golden South Australia

4. XLT institute of Welding
For more than 20 years, XLT is committed to provide best training institution on both national and international levels. It offers a wide range of learning and professional development opportunities availing which the individuals could achieve the industrial placements. The graduates are now very well thought of within the global industry.
Courses they offer are: Arc Welding, Poly-Welding, Boiler-Making, Underwater Welding, Forklifting, Rigging and many other short courses.

Contact Information
Address: 33 Howson Way Bibra Lake West Australia
Address: 340 Melton Road, Northgate Queensland Australia

5. Australian Welding Academy
The Australian Welding Academy was established in 2012, to keep up with the ever-increasing demand of a skilled and professionally trained manpower for a welding fabrication industry. With the short period of hard work and tenacity, the AW academy has gained a considerable privilege in Australian industrial sector. Since the industry demands for an experienced staff with nationally recognized certifications and qualifications, the AWA offers a top-tier educational environment for the professional grooming of future workforce at an affordable price.
Courses they offer are: Tungsten Inert Gas Welding TIG, Metal Inert Gas Welding, Flux-core Arc Welding, Manual Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Oxy-cutting, Welding Inspector and Welding Supervisor.

Contact Information
Address: The Australian Welding Academy 5/156 Bannister Road Canning Vale
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Popular Welding Schools In India

In India there are different organizations which are working to promote quality schooling in the field of welding and allied techniques such as welding inspection, non-destructive examination and painting and coating etc. to raise the quality and productivity to higher standards. Below is the list of popular welding institutions in India where aspirants can apply to become future welding associates and professionals.

1. Indian Institute of Welding IIW
The Indian Institute of welding with its extended network of thirteen branches countrywide has been providing educational training services to render the modernization and development in welding science, technology and engineering in a healthy and safe environment.  The institute was first founded on 22nd April 1966 at Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. IIW in a close liaison with International Institute of Welding also helps to support the fabrication industry and the other welding research centers in the country.

Contact Information
Address: The Indian Institute of Welding IIW-INDIA HOUSE, Plot # 38, Geetanjali Park, 200 Kalikapur Main Road, PO: Mukundapur, Kolkata India.

2. ESAB Welding Institute EWI
The ESAB Welding Institute was established at Taratala, Kolkata by ESAB India Limited to fulfill the need of welding education, training and qualification for the country’s welding industry. The institute serves in technical professional training of the future welders, supervisors and engineers in a safe environment. Moreover EWI also offers services in technical area of materials’ joining and welding, the qualification and certification of welders as per the acceptance criteria of international standards and the non-destructive examination. 

Contact Information
Address: ESAB Welding Institute P41 Taratala Road, Kolkata

3. Welding Research Institute
The Welding Research Institute has been working since 1975, to promote research in welding and other associated material joining areas in Indian Industrial Sector. In an alliance with international research centers, the institute is now gaining a privilege in welding industry. It provides training and certifications in all types of arc welding process as per required by international codes and standards.

Contact Information
Address: The School of Welding Research Institute Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India

4. American Welding Society
Established in 1919, the American Welding Society is now serving worldwide to foster the developments in electric arc welding techniques to improve the quality and productivity with its world recognized codes and standards. AWS also provides training and certification to produce qualified professionals in the field of welding inspection. Also in India, the aspirants can become a certified welding inspector by getting through an examination which includes the written and practical tests on welding fundamentals, the use of inspections tools and equipment and the mitigation of weld defects as per the criteria of AWS code books. Following are the examination centers for AWS certification in India.

Contact Information
1. Address: CUTECH Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. 152 SP Tap Turbo Pak, First Main Road Ambattur Industrial Estate, 21st Phase Chennai 58 Tamilnadu India.

2. Address: Industrial Quality Concepts IQC Training and Services, 40 ECR Shivani 1 thiruvanmiyur near RTO Chennai India

3. Address: BETZ Engineering and Technology Zone 49 Vallalar Street Near ST Thomas Mount Railway Station Chennai India

4. Address: Eurotech Assessment and Certification Services – 4FCS-67, Ansal Plaza Sector 1 Vaishali Ghaziabad, Dehli India

5. Address: Intertek India E20 Block B-1 Mohan Coopertaive Industrial Estate Mathura Road New Dehli
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Pressure Vessel Risk Based Inspection

A Risk Based Inspection is used to determine the interval of inspection, the decision of type of next inspection (whether it will be external, internal or on-stream) and the extent of next inspection. Normally a Risk Based Inspection Assessment based on the probability and the consequences of a pressurized equipment failure, is conducted to determine the risk. In this situation the pressurized equipment is kept under control or within the limits to reduce the severity of that risk. It shall include the evaluation of both the probability and the consequence of an equipment failure. 

1. Accessing the Probability of Failure
The assessment on the probability of failure shall consider the all types of mechanical damage; cracking, metal loss (either it is general or localized), creep, fatigue, embrittlement etc. The assessment shall include the determination and evaluation of equipment present condition and the effectiveness of corrosion monitoring program.

2. Accessing the consequence of failure
It includes the release of fluid which ensued from the equipment failure. The assessment shall consider all those consequences that may take place as a result of fluid release. So the consequences that could be expected are;
  • Fire                                                    
  • Explosion
  • Release of poisonous substances
  • Health impacts
  • Environmental impacts and pollution

After All the factors are determined in an RBI assessment, the upshot is used to define the interval of inspection and the following precautionary measures to minimize the probability and consequence of failure.
  • In-service Repair
  • Use of Inhibitors to prevent metal loss
  • Process Changes to reduce the severity of equipment failure

What can be defined using an Equipment Risk-Based Inspection?

Usefulness of RBI Inspection
The combination of both the assessments in an equipment risk-based inspection helps to define the following;
  1. The type of future inspection (external/internal/on-stream) to be included in the inspection plan.
  2. The appropriateness of non-destructive examination on the equipment.
  3. The parts of equipment that ought to be examined in the future inspection.
  4. The use of pressure testing if require
  5. The use of repair techniques (whether it will be permanent or temporary)

Role of a Certified Inspector
A certified inspector is accountable to the equipment user to ensure the maintenance and QA/QC inspection programs in accordance with appropriate design codes and standards. He is to perform the visual inspections in order to determine all the factors which are required in both probability and consequence assessments.

Once an RBI assessment is conducted on a vessel, it should be revised after every vessel inspection, process change and repair work and whenever an unpredictable breakdown takes place.

American Petroleum Institute API 510; 3.1.65, 5.2
American Petroleum Institute API 580 Section 1.1.1
American Petroleum Institute API 581
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Types of Weld Guided Bend Test

Guided Bend Test is a type of the destructive testing which is applied on specially prepared specimens of a test welded plate or pipe, in order to evaluate the quality and soundness of weld. Specimens are prepared in such a way that the cut surfaces are considered as sides and the remaining two surfaces would be the face and root. Guided bend test can be performed with five different ways depending on which surface is to become convex of a bent specimen and also on the type of specimen (whether the lengthwise axis of specimen is parallel or transverse to the weld axis). Following are the five types of weld guided bend test, have a look!

Type One: Transverse and Side Bend Test
In this type the specimen with its lengthwise axis transverse to weld axis, is allowed to bend in such a way that one of the cut surfaces (sides) is to become convex.

Type Two: Transverse and Face Bend Test
               The specimen with its lengthwise axis transverse to weld axis, is allowed to bend in such a way that the face surface is to become convex. That is why it is called transverse face bend test.

Type Three: Transverse and Root Bend Test
               This type is similar to transverse face bend test but the root surface is to be made convex of the bent specimen instead of a face surface.

Type Four: Longitudinal and Face Bend Test
               The longitudinal bend test can be used to substitute for the transverse bend tests (side, face and root) where the bending properties may vary either between two base metals or between a base metal and weld metal.
               In a longitudinal and face bend test, the specimen with its lengthwise axis parallel to weld axis is allowed to bend is such a way that the face surface is to become convex.

Type Five: Longitudinal and Root Bend Test
               Same as longitudinal and face bend test but the root surface is to be made the convex side of bent specimen instead of a face surface.

               The purpose of a guided bend test is to determine the soundness of the quality welds as specified in procedure qualification and performance qualification. The specimen is allowed to bend around the former using a ‘test jigs method’ where the side of specimen (root, face or side) is rounded towards the gap of jigs. Sometimes the thickness or width of specimen is too large to allow it to wrap around the former. In this situation the specimen is cut into equal sections by making sure that each section of the sub-sized specimen is to be bent test. In transverse bend test the weld and heat affected zone (HAZ) must be within the bent portion of the specimen. If they do not come inside the bent portion, the specimen will be sub-sized in equal sections and tested.
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