Tank Inspection Services

Why is Eddy Current Tests on Large Area Surfaces Beneficial?

Posted on

Eddy current testing (ECT) has emerged among the most prominent nondestructive testing (NDT) procedures to check conductive objects for surface and deep faults. An eddy current array (ECA) may take eddy current examination of huge areas or complicated areas to the next level, giving comprehensive three-dimensional depictions of faults, including exceedingly minute signals that defy conventional NDT techniques. Thus, many API inspection companies  use eddy current tests when examining storage tanks and vessels.

Eddy current analysis (ECA) has the advantage of swiftly executing an eddy current test over a broad area without the requirement of coupling fluid, making it an appropriate technology for detecting fractures, symptoms of fatigue, oxidation, and other exterior and near-surface faults. We may cover some of the most common sorts of faults that impact metal surfaces, as well as how ECA can help identify them.

How ECT Works to Uncover Flaws

Eddy Current Testing (ECT) is a method of testing for faults in conductive materials that leverages the aspect of electromagnetic induction. A single-coil ECT probe is activated with an intermittent electrical charge, which creates an alternating magnetic field surrounding itself in its simplest basic form. When the probe comes close to a conductive test piece, it causes an eddy current in the substance.

Any faults or irregularities in the testing piece cause eddy current to fluctuate, which is detected by the probe and utilized to provide a visual depiction of the test surface.

ECT provides a number of benefits over other NDT methods, including:

  • As long as the materials are electrically conductive, they may be employed with heavy metals and non-metals.
  • Non-conductive coatings can be penetrated
  • There is no need for bonding fluid or substrate prepping.
  • Produces a digital examination record

Surface examination, corrosion monitoring, bolt hole examination, and weld inspection are all standard ECT uses.

Eddy Current Array: Large-Area Eddy Current Testing

Single-coil ECT has a few disadvantages, including the fact that it can only test a limited region at a time and can only accurately detect faults that are at a right angle to the eddy current. This is good when the orientation of probable linear problems like fractures is known, but acquiring a complete view of the test piece, which includes flaws in numerous directions, necessitates repeated passes, which increases scanning time.

By integrating numerous single-coil ECT probes on a grid that give signals in both the axial (scan direction) and transverse directions, the eddy current array (ECA) overcomes this constraint. Compared to traditional probing approaches, the coils fire in a coordinated manner to provide a three-dimensional picture of the surface layers in a single cycle, streamlining eddy current testing of vast regions and speeding up inspection durations by up to 95 percent.

Some of the benefits of ECA over single-coil ECT include:

  • Inspection time is reduced.
  • Simpler method
  • More precise and reproducible outcomes
  • In a single pass, more data is gathered.
  • Detects linear faults
  • Ensures that the whole surface is covered.
  • Capabilities for robust analysis and data gathering

Flaws of several kinds

Metal surfaces can develop a variety of defects. ECA examination by API inspection services  provider may identify a wide range of linear and volumetric abnormalities, including:

  • Cracks
  • Complete separation/fusion
  • Corrosion pitting
  • Porosity/voids

Linear defects include: Separation, Cracks, and Laps

Fractures and other longitudinal irregularities produced by fatigue or manufacturing faults are easily detected using ECA examination. It can detect a wide range of surface and interior fractures, such as:

  • Fractures caused by stress or tiredness
  • Cracks in the tip
  • Root cracks welded
  • Forging explodes

Laps with incomplete fusion/forging

The best eddy current equipment can identify fractures in tubing utilizing numerous frequencies and dual choices, and they can locate defects as thin as 0.1 mm in depth.

ECA inspection’s 3D graphics simplify identifying where faults are forming and their alignments. Additionally, ECA can reveal fracture size and depth changes that other NDT technique, like liquid penetrant testing (PT) or magnetic particle testing, may miss (MT).…

Tank Inspection Services

How do robotic inspections for aboveground storage tanks work?

Posted on

Aboveground storage tanks are the most common resources in the petroleum, paper production, and electricity sectors, and they form the backbone of facility operations. 

However, operators may find it challenging to follow STI SP001 or API 653 recommendations due to the magnitude, scope, and complexity of inspections. Here, API inspection companies play a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency of the tank facilities.

The recent incorporation of robotic drones into NDT procedures, on the other hand, offers operators a complete inspection program utilizing the most up-to-date ultrasonic testing equipment. Compared to visual, handed, or drone inspection procedures, rapid ultrasonic gridding (RUG) and rapid automated ultrasonic testing (R-AUT) provide unrivaled safety, asset coverage, and data capture.

Facility operators place a high focus on safety. For inspection personnel, confined space entry (CSE) and high operations requiring structure and cables are all possible dangers. Using a drone to explore tank bottoms, fixed ceilings, and shells, on the other hand, minimizes the need to put people in danger while also saving money on scaffolding and other safety precautions.

Non-CSE inspections are becoming the industry standard, according to industry executives. Robots and drones for CSE, higher work, and commercial cleaning are one way to attain their aim. 

When it comes to CSE circumstances like examining tank floors, robotic systems are ready to take on the challenge. Without the need for a person to enter the tank, robots fitted with up to 96 acoustic probes may gather thousands of data per ft2 to discover pits, oxidation, and normal wear on the floor.

Without an NDT approach that properly monitors the entire asset, understanding the overall state of AST may be difficult and time-consuming. Robots utilizing RUG or R-AUT, on the other hand, may cover vast regions in a relatively short time required by traditional approaches. Robots using RUG technology can go up to 60 feet per minute (18.3 meters per minute) and produce over 5,000 feet squared (467 square meters) every 12-hour shift. R-AUT inspections detect areas of concern at a manufacturing pace of up to 600 ft2 (56 m2) every shift. Robots can readily cover approximately 100 percent of assets in one or two stints at these speeds.

Robotic inspections yield 1,000 times more data than previous inspection methods and safety and coverage. Using software platforms, the data is frequently shown as 2D or 3D C-scan heat maps. Inspectors and managers can use the measurements and associated pictures to identify the AST’s oxidation process or other damage processes. This data may also be used to calculate corrosion rates using fitness-for-service estimates.

RUG works well for making deterioration patterns of tank shells and roofs. Each sensor may capture up to 250 readings per foot with as little as a quarter-inch sensor spacing. Then, using R-AUT, localized problem areas can be further evaluated. R-AUT generates tenfold more data than RUG – over 94,000 measurements per ft2 – to identify damage processes where it is most required.

Above all, and especially for above-ground holding tanks, robotic examinations and API inspection services can be employed to comply with industry standards like API 653. Qualified API 653 inspectors on staff at a full-service robotics firm will check the asset using robots and other techniques as needed, then prepare a complete report to meet inspection standards.

Aboveground storage tanks are controlled at the federal, state, and municipal levels to avoid oil spillage and other dangerous breaches and failures. Given the volume and sophistication of AST examinations, robots equipped with the most advanced UT technology provide a safe, dependable, and efficient replacement to traditional approaches. Furthermore, the data collected gives operators the confidence and capacity to comprehend tank wear trends and deterioration, allowing them to allocate funds for tank maintenance better.…

Tank Inspection Services

How are Aboveground Storage Tanks maintained under SPCC Requirements?

Posted on

Aboveground Storage Tanks or ASTs are used across industries. The ubiquitous presence of storage tanks can be seen in transportation, distribution, and refining, manufacturing, fuel & gas industries. Most enterprises use the above storage tanks to store oil and fuel. Facilities using ASTs for fuel & gas must be managed according to the state and federal regulations if they fulfill specific criteria. According to the Federal Oil Pollution Prevention regulation, the facility owner or operation should prepare and implement an SPCC plan. The tanks should undergo thorough STI tank inspection, which certified tank inspectors should conduct.

So, what types of facilities must comply with the SPCC Rule?

•Facilities with an aboveground oil storage capacity of 1,320 gallons and more or an underground oil storage capacity of 42,000 gallons are required to have an SPCC plan.

•Facilities that may be reasonably required to discharge oil to the water bodies or shorelines in large quantities that may cause harm to the biodiversity of the area.

•Non-transportation-related storage tanks.

Suppose you own or operate a facility with a large capacity above ground or underground tanks. In that case, you are required to conduct tank integrity tests and inspections regularly or as per your SPCC plan. Tank integrity testing is also required whenever a tank is repaired or added to the facility. These tests and assessments should be in accordance with the industry standards. 

Why are Aboveground Storage Tank Inspections needed?

ASTs inspection is required by the federal government. Failing to comply with the industry inspection standard can attract EPA fines that are costly.

However, besides preventing disciplinary actions against a facility, regular inspection of ASTs offers many benefits.

Often, facilities have to comply with state and local tank inspection regulations to use and maintain aboveground and underground storage tanks. Some of these authorities are;

•The state, county, or municipal health and EPA have rules for the tank inspection requirements.

•Municipal Fire Departments that follow NFPA 30 and 30A code also govern the tank inspection requirements.

•Building codes like IBC and IFC also require facility owners to conduct tank integrity testing.

Apart from keeping a facility in compliance with various state and federal authorities, regular inspection of aboveground storage tanks ensures that the tanks are functioning optimally.

Even a minor dent or corrosion can lead to cataclysmic results like an oil spill, explosion, rupture, and contamination. Containing the leakage and cleaning the environment are time-consuming and cost-intensive processes. Thus, it’s best to take preventive measures to ensure there is no leakage or contamination in the tank. Regular AST inspections also help a facility comply with the STI code.

The Steel Tank Institute (STI) and American Petroleum Institute (API) have developed several guidelines for the facility owners and operators who use ASTs. Besides this, there are several ready resources like the API standard 653, STI SP001 standard that address various aspects of inspecting and maintaining shop-built tanks, and field erected tanks, etc.…