Technology Reviews

A Survey of Fitness-for-Service Trends in Industry

[+] Author and Article Information
C. M. Holtam

Structural Integrity Technology Group, TWI Ltd., Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge, CB21 6AL, UK

D. P. Baxter

 Atkins Boreas, 6 Golden Square, Aberdeen, AB10 1RD, UK

I. A. Ashcroft

Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK

R. C. Thomson

Department of Materials, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 133(1), 014001 (Jan 20, 2011) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001946 History: Received September 12, 2008; Revised October 09, 2009; Published January 20, 2011; Online January 20, 2011

In 2002, TWI Ltd. carried out a questionnaire-based survey of “user experience of plant life management practices,” to gain a better understanding of the reality of plant life management and the needs of plant operators [Iravani and Speck, 2002, “Industry Survey of Risk Based Life Management Practices and Their Relationship to Fitness-for-Service Assessment,” TWI Report No. 13032/5/02]. In 2003, the European fitness-for-service network reported the results of their survey on “current application and future requirements for European fitness-for-service (FFS) technology” [Filiou2003, “Survey of Current Application and Future Requirements for European Fitness-for-Service Technology,” Technical Report No. FITNET/TR2/03, FITNET Consortium]. In 2006, the management of aging plant became a regulatory hot topic in the UK with a health and safety executive document on the subject being released [Health and Safety Executive, 2006, “Plant Ageing: Management of Equipment Containing Hazardous Fluids or Pressure,” RR509]. Considering also the recent release of the new API/ASME joint FFS standard [2007, API 579-1/ASME FFS-1, Fitness-For-Service, 1st ed., The American Petroleum Institute and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Washington, DC], TWI Ltd. decided 2007 was the ideal time to carry out an updated industry survey to assess how developments such as these might affect plant life management practices in different industry sectors across the world. The aims of this survey were to gain an insight into current FFS trends across several industry sectors and how these may change in the future. Information was gathered as to how different companies handle their FFS activities, both in terms of the types of flaw they assess and the complexity of the assessments they carry out. The survey also investigated how safety regulating authorities view FFS activities and whether or not they accept the results as the basis for plant integrity management decisions. Closely related to this is whether there is a need for better regulation of FFS activities, FFS training, or, indeed, whether FFS qualifications should be introduced. This paper presents the results of the online industry survey and draws pragmatic conclusions that will be of interest to all those involved with FFS activities, from inspectors to researchers and from engineers to insurers.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Fitness-for-service experience of survey respondents

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Figure 2

Primary operating regions

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Figure 3

Primary operating sectors

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Type of organization

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Figure 5

Company and local plant approach to fitness-for-service

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Importance of fitness-for-service applications to respondents’ companies operations

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Frequency of use of fitness-for-service procedures by respondents’ companies

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Frequency of use of published fitness-for-service procedures by respondents’ companies

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Figure 9

Number of companies/safety regulating authorities that specify a preference for fitness-for-service standards/procedures

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Company and safety regulating authority preference for assessment procedures

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Influence on choice of fitness-for-service standard

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Company third party reviews

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Use of fitness-for-service software

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Figure 14

Use of commercial fitness-for-service software packages




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