3-Step Approach for Maintaining High Energy Piping Integrity


High-energy piping systems are essential to the safe and cost-effective operation of a modern power plant. The propensity for piping and failures tends to increase with the age of the systems involved. Prolonged operation, particularly at elevated temperatures, may result in metallurgical degradation. Metallurgical degradation may increase the potential for cracking and crack propagation until a final failure stage is reached by the component. As a result, power plant operators have become increasingly cognizant of the importance of condition assessment evaluations for high-energy piping systems and boiler components.

Significant levels of metallurgical degradation should be detected for conservative determinations of the remaining useful life of a component or system. With this information, proper planning and budgeting or repair and replacement programs can be performed. By proper planning and the performance of engineering evaluations, excessively long plant outages or interruptions of scheduled operations can be minimized and in some cases avoided.

Some of the challenges in prolonging the integrity of high energy piping systems include reductions in plant engineering staff, an aging workforce and the need to remain competitive. Plant managers are routinely faced with the daunting task of determining the current condition of their equipment, forecasting outage budgets and schedules, planning replacement schedules, and performing risk assessments for their facilities. Furthermore, insurance companies are increasingly requiring inspection and maintenance records and new EPA Regulations have become a major issue within the industry.

The solutions to extending the life of high energy piping systems involve taking a comprehensive approach to piping management utilizing unit specific operational training, advanced data management, and strategic inspection, maintenance and replacement prioritization.

This manuscript will examine and illustrate the challenges and solutions to prolonging the integrity of high energy piping systems through the utilization of a unit specific strategic management approach. Click here to read full manuscript.

For more information about High Energy Piping Integrity Programs please contact Pam Smoske at psmoske@thielsch.com or you may call her at 561-353-5804.