Major failures of superheater and reheater outlets are relatively infrequent. But when headers do fail, repairing them may take weeks, and replacing them may take up to six months. Forced outages are expensive, so it is imperative to develop and follow a routine inspection program for high-pressure/temperature steam headers. Early detection, monitoring, and repair performed on your schedule is always preferable to that phone call in the middle of the night.
Ideally, the inspection of the high-temperature headers should begin with a magnetic particle examination of all of the welds on it-including circumferential butt welds, and any penetration and attachment welds. The inspection should be followed by a volumetric examination of any butt welds and a remote visual (borescopic) examination of the interior of the header, and then by in-situ metallographic examination (replication) and hardness testing.
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