Flange Integrity Management at Sitech Services

Sitech Services B.V. is a leading technology partner for the process industry, achieving maximum plant performance, and cost-effectiveness. By applying the latest technological applications, the right expertise, the best innovations, and far-reaching digitization, Sitech Services ensures that plants maintain their competitive edge.

Background

Sitech Services has a significant customer base at Chemelot in Geleen (NL). The preparation and supervision of turnarounds is one of its services. Since 2013, PDM has provided valuable support for this activity with the Flange Integrity Management (FIM) methodology. Despite improved results thanks to FIM, it proved difficult to keep achieving these results without PDM support. Furthermore, processing the inspection results from FIM into useful management information required lots of manual work.

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Assignment

Sitech Services asked PDM to develop and test a FIM toolset, in particular the FIM Inspection app and the FIM Dashboard.

Flange Integrity Management

During the turnaround of a chemical plant, thousands of flanges are disassembled and assembled. This work is done by mechanics who are not familiar with the plant. Flange leaks in critical flanges result in considerable start-up losses. FIM is a methodology to guarantee that there are no flange leaks, so start-up losses are prevented.

The core of the methodology is to record deviations from the instructed work process for flanges. Data about the flanges, the errors made, and the mechanics concerned is entered in the FIM Inspection app. With each inspection the inspector will always give relevant advice to the mechanic, so he learns from his mistakes. Next, the inspector can quickly proceed to the next flange.

The data in the FIM Inspection app is real-time summarized in the FIM Dashboard. Over a given period, this tool provides the following information:

  • Overall score (% work correct)
  • Score (% correct) per contractor
  • Score (% correct) per mechanic
  • Total number of inspected flanges
  • Top 10 error list
  • All inspections (flange number, flange location, contractor, etc.)
  • All inspections with an error (flange number, flange location, mechanic, etc.).

Based on this information, timely measures can be taken to increase the quality of the work.

Project Approach

The assignment consisted of three phases:

Tool development (early 2019)
Practical test (summer 2019)
Final release (after test)

1 – Tool development

Beforehand, prototypes of the tools were developed, in which FIM knowledge of PDM and Sitech was incorporated.
Based on these prototypes, the tools were developed by Mediaan in Heerlen, commissioned by PDM.

2 – Practical test

The objective of the practical test was to perfect the tools. To this end, the tools were deployed during the turnarounds of two plants of one of Sitech’s customers at Chemelot.

3 – Final release

After the practical test, the final version of the tools were released. The tools were licensed by PDM to Sitech for the period 2019-2020.

Project Results

For the inspectors the FIM Inspection app was easy to use, so they could complete a large number of inspections in time.

The FIM Dashboard provided quick insight in the status of flanges (progress, notifications, follow-up) and the mechanics (quality of work). The compliance with the instructed work process could easily be established. Mechanics could be called to account for their actions. Discussions with contractors could be started based on concrete data, before the turnarounds were completed. As a result, mechanics as well as contractors took ownership of their jobs.

Best practices

For the successful deployment of the FIM tools best practices were established to incorporate FIM knowledge into the turnaround organization:

  • As FIM inspections require focus, FIM inspections are preferably performed by dedicated QC inspectors
  • PDM provides training and instruction for the inspectors
  • PDM guides the inspectors during their first turnaround on a daily basis
  • During next turnarounds, PDM will always remains available for additional support upon request during the turnaround.
  • PDM supports the TA organization regarding FIM.

Sitech Services will definitely deploy the FIM tools during the next turnarounds.

Armando Willems
Turnaround Manager, Sitech Services B.V.

I’m convinced that the FIM Inspection app has prevented a few leaks in critical flanges. This has saved us a lot of misery. Therefore, the app deserves a place in our toolbox for next turnarounds. I advise other companies in the process industry to also use this tool.


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