Opportunity to join new Group Sponsored Project "Further Development & Refinement of an Electromagnetic (EM) Scanner for the Inspection of P91, P92 and Other Components in High Temperature Plant"

ETD, together with its industry sponsors, are planning to start a new multi-client Group Sponsored Project (GSP) in 2019.

Please click on the image on the left hand side for more information.

The benefit of joining this GSP, in which costs are shared, is that each participant gains the results of the whole project at a fraction of the total project cost.

For further details including costs involved please contact us.


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Feasibility Study Phase of this Project Completed and a Proposal for Phase 2 of the project being launched for the development of a hybrid system

ETD, together with its industry sponsors, started a new multi-client Group Sponsored Project (GSP) at the start of 2018. The mere size of industrial plant (such as, for example, power plant boilers and HRSGs, burners, ducting etc.) means that visually examining various parts needs time, costly scaffolding and hazardous climbing. Some preliminary investigations on the use of commercial drones, with basic modifications for safe operation, are now being considered by some industrial plants. Similarly, the use of small robots or robotic arms that can help to inspect difficult to access areas or operate in environments that are hazardous can save cost, money and lives.

The aim of this short term (up to six months duration) feasibility study GSP “Drones and Robots for Inspection” was to investigate automated devices available in the market and those being developed by universities, research institutes or SMEs and make recommendations for appropriate and cost effective devices (which may even be used as consumables, for example, 3D printed drones with light plastic frames and safety cages) for industrial inspection. Please click on the image to see a brief of the proposal.

The benefit of joining this GSP, in which costs are shared, is that each participant gains the results of the whole project at a fraction of the total project cost.

The feasibility study phase of this project has now been completed and a proposal for phase 2 of the project is being launched in 2019 which includes the development of a hybrid system.

For the detailed proposal and costs involved please contact us.

February 2019 Technology Newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition (February 2019) of ETD's Technology Newsletter. Please click on the image to access the Newsletter. This illustrates various power and process plant activities (inspection, integrity and life assessment worldwide) and new technologies and methodologies developed or being developed for plant inspection, integrity and life assessment through our Third Party and Group Sponsored Projects (GSPs).

October 2018 Technology Newsletter

Please click on the image below to access the latest edition (October 2018) of ETD's Technology Newsletter. This illustrates various power and process plant activities, new technologies and methodologies developed for plant inspection, integrity and life assessment through our Third Party and Group Sponsored Projects (GSPs).

Also in this newsletter you will find useful and interesting information on ETD’s unique Services for New & Running Plants involving Inspection, Monitoring, Assessment & Life Extension Services using various state-of-the-art techniques like Scanning Force Microscope (SFM) for early stage damage detection, Miniature sample removal (boat sampling) for quality checks and life/condition assessment, Precision Portable Hardness Tester (known as ‘Smart Sleeve’), ‘Obikou’ for Pipe Strengthening and Life Extension and Defect/Crack Assessment.

Recent Completed Project on Metallography, Accelerated Rupture Testing and Remaining Life Assessment of Superheater & Reheater Tubes

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ETD is pleased to announce the successful recent completion of a metallography, accelerated rupture testing and remaining life assessment project of superheater & reheater tubes.

It is reported by the client that they had hired a sub-contractor to perform accelerated rupture testing and remnant life assessment work for 1 superheater and 1 reheater tubes (of T91 materials). This contractor had completed the creep test and RLA based on an iso-thermal basis with reference to Manson-Haferd curve. Recently, the client hired a second contractor to do the same job. This second contractor had done the creep test and RLA based on an iso-stress basis. The actual service stress in this case is relatively low. The client had found that the results from these two contractors differed greatly; the results of second contractor showed unrealistically high remaining life and they did not consider progressive wastage.

Therefore, ETD was approached with a request to perform the same work (accelerated rupture testing and RLA) again for these two coal-fired tubes to provide an estimate for the remaining life of the components.

The scope of the work carried out included the following tasks:

i.  Metallography - Metallography of two tube samples were carried out to establish the creep damage (i.e. creep cavitation & microstructure degradation) levels. The microstructure and any degradation characterised using damage classification for creep damage of the relevant materials. Specific scope in this task included:

  • Visual examination of the tube samples including internal and external appearance;

  • Assessment of condition of internal and external surfaces including identification of inclusions/ contaminations, scale/ deposits, welding defects etc (if any exists) and obtain photos of evidence;

  • Dimensional examination - OD measurement at 12-6 and 3-9 O’clock positions at fixed length intervals throughout the entire tube length.

  • Tube wall thickness measurements for all aforementioned clock positions.

  • Metallographic examination of the tube samples using optical microscopy to assess the condition of internal and external surfaces, to identify phase changes in microstructure / material degradation/ precipitations and also to identify the damage mechanism(s);

  • Estimation of tube operating temperature based on measurements of steam-side oxide thickness;

  • Hardness testing and evaluation to determine the equivalent tensile strength values (using published hardness/ UTS correlation tables) to assess the mechanical strength or softening of the materials.

ii.  Accelerated Stress Rupture Testing - A programme of isothermal rupture testing was then performed comprising three specimens from each of the two tube samples to be tested. The tests were performed at conditions designed to achieve target durations of 500, 1000 and 3000 hours as proposed by ETD. After reviewing the design and operating parameters, the test conditions (i.e. temperature, stress etc) was selected by ETD based on previous experience and reference database to give failures at the above number of hours.

All these tests will be conducted by ETD’s collaborative accredited laboratory in Europe and according to the international and ECCC specifications.

iii.  Analysis of Creep Test Results and Remaining Life Calculations - The results from the above rupture testing programme were compared with standard data for the relevant steel grade to establish where, within the upper and lower bounds, the material creep properties lie. Hence an equation describing the actual creep strength of the ex-service material being modelled. This equation was then used to estimate the creep life at the service conditions.

Provided that the as-installed tube wall thickness and service hours to date are known, then the corrosion rate (wall thinning rate) can be calculated using the thickness measurements from the first task. This corrosion rate was used to determine the combined effect of creep and corrosion on the component remaining life at the effective operating temperature estimated in the first task.

A final report, detailing the findings of the tasks undertaken, was issued for comments by the client. It will include photographic records from the metallographic study and provide details of the remaining life estimate based on accelerated rupture testing. Any possible causes for concern will be highlighted. The influence of material degradation and other microstructural changes were also discussed in this report.

For more information about our life assessment services please click here.

Recent Completed Project on Condition and Life Assessment Study of Radiant Tubes

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ETD is pleased to announce the triumphant completion concerning matters on Condition and life assessment of radiant tubes for a Petrochemical Plant in Asia.

The client requested a quotation on vertically hanged Radiant tubes which have been in operation since Jan-2014. Significant permanent bowing due to unbalanced counterweight effect during first 2 years in operation was observed. Sudden temperature drop was noticed during instrument failure in June-2017. During the 4 years operation period, no tube rupture, no tube bulging, no dimensional difference or growth on diameter was observed.

Due to high temperature operation of radiant tubes, losing strength / metallurgical property due to carburization, oxidization, micro and macro cracks, grain issues, precipitation, creep, etc. was expected.

The scope of the work to be carried out included:

  • Visual and dimensional examination of the tube samples including internal and external appearance;

  • Assessment of condition of internal and external surfaces including identification of inclusions/ contaminations, welding defects etc (if any existed);

  • Chemical analysis of base material to determine the chemical composition of the tube material to establish actual material constituents;

  • Metallographic examination of the tube samples using optical and scanning electron microscopy to assess the condition of internal and external surfaces, to identify phase changes in microstructure / material degradation/ precipitations and also to identify the damage mechanism(s);

  • Further examination using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to confirm any damage or material degradation;

  • Hardness testing and evaluation to determine the equivalent tensile strength values (using published hardness/ UTS correlation tables) to assess the mechanical strength or softening of the materials;

  • Basic review of design drawings, design & operating parameters, previous failure and maintenance history;

  • Perform condition assessment and remaining life assessment based on the findings of above investigations.

  • Preparation of a report covering results of all above investigations, results of life assessment and recommendations for any suitable actions to be taken for safe operation of the component.

The client required a comprehensive report covering all the metallurgical analysis to evaluate the condition and life assessment of the tubes and to characterise any observable damage.

For more information on our Life Assessment services please click here.

Recently Obtained Project Best Practices Guidelines for the Management of Pressure Parts in a Power Plant

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ETD is pleased to announce another triumphant achievement with guidelines for the Management of Pressure Parts in a Power Plant for a North African based plant.

The client has a program to develop a best practice manual for the management of pressure parts in a power plant. The thermal power plant is comprised of many high temperature and high-pressure components that are a critical part of the power generating cycle. These systems are susceptible to damage if not operated and maintained properly. Failure of these components is usually very catastrophic and could pose a risk to human life as well as incurring major downtime of a facility and associated costs of lost production. In most jurisdictions these systems are governed by regulatory bodies in order to ensure that they are maintained to a standard.

As ETD have carried out various practical review and survey type projects on risk assessment, condition assessment, life assessment and cost analysis studies including review of clients’ data on cost issues, risk events, maintenance programs, reliability and availability of plants, fleet wise comparison/benchmarking of plant performance for European, USA and Asian utilities, etc. Therefore ETD were asked to prepare a best practices document that identifies various pressure components in a boiler/ HRSG, describes the damage that can occur to them both under base-load and flexible operating conditions, the existing inspection and monitoring techniques, the development of new and more recent innovative techniques, repair practices and strategies and how to use all of these techniques to keep pressure parts in good condition and operate a power plant efficiently and at an optimum cost. This document included a management framework to ensure that all parts are being operated and maintained according to established standards in the industry and meet all the regulatory requirements. ETD have also carried out comprehensive reviews of related areas such as ‘on-line monitoring tools’, ‘developments in risk-based maintenance programs and inspection techniques’, ‘guidelines for CCGT/HRSG lifing and risk-based approaches’, ‘plant cycling (both conventional and CCGTs/ HRSGs)’, damage due to cyclic operation and risk-based inspection, power plant component replacement strategies and technical and financial risks, etc. Through its Group Sponsored Projects (GSPs) ETD has developed new and more sophisticated techniques for power plant inspection and these have included the development of the portable Scanning Force Microscope (SFM), Electrical Discharge Sampling Equipment (EDSE) - a spark erosion device for ‘boat sampling’, and its precision portable hardness tester known as the ‘Smart Sleeve’.

The document will explain the different challenges with respect to fired and non-fired boilers and describe the importance of burner adjustment to avoid flame impingement. It will cover the degradation mechanisms affecting the materials and the degradation rate. The understanding of these factors can lead to appropriate re-inspection intervals and to the establishment of effective inspection methods.

Both time-dependent and time-independent degradation mechanisms will be discussed. Waterside and fireside corrosion, flow assisted corrosion, the performance of different alloys in boilers and steam pipework, preservation while off-line, why when and how to chemically clean pressure parts, inspection, testing and record keeping procedures, keeping the steam turbine and condensers in good order, feed heaters, boiler feed pumps boiler chemistry and blowdown, steam blowing, efficiency checks, pressure tests will be discussed. Alternative methods to hydro testing, such as detailed NDE using new state-of-the-art NDE techniques, will be discussed to help limit the damage to pressure components in old plants. In terms of component preservation both dry and wet preservation techniques for long and short-term preservation will be discussed and guidelines provided.

The maintenance philosophy/ strategy should be based on the belief that it is possible to avoid unwanted equipment failures and unnecessary maintenance activities through appropriate application of various techniques supported by proven processes and procedures carried out by well-managed and competent personnel. To ensure maintenance management can achieve the business objectives such as plant availability and reliability targets, maintenance performance needs to be reported and monitored. This would then be used as input for initiating the improvement cycle. This improvement program will trigger revision of the maintenance strategies and/or change in the way utilities operate the plant. This is performed continuously to ensure that any operator can deliver what is expected by the owner.

The outcome of this project will be a manual for the management of pressure parts of power plant. This manual will offer a practical guide as to how the integrity of boiler / HRSG pressure parts is managed with emphasis on the best practices.

This study will help the participants to understand how a successful pressure part management program can deliver benefits related to better informed strategic decisions, increased operational efficiency, safety and integrity of the equipment.

For more information on our guidelines & reports, please click here.

Recently Obtained Project on Best Practices Guidelines for the Operation and Maintenance of Steam Turbines and Auxiliary Equipment

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ETD is pleased to announce it has just successfully won the project of guidelines for the operation and maintenance of steam turbines for a North African based plant.

The Steam Turbine (ST) is a critical part of the power generating cycle in thermal power plant and plays a key role in the conversion of thermal energy into mechanical energy in order to efficiently drive the generator and produce electricity. The ability to convert this energy in the most economical, reliable and efficient way possible is critical. Therefore, the overall system equipment has to be maintained and operated appropriately to ensure that the performance objectives are achieved.

As ETD have carried out various practical review and survey type projects on risk assessment, condition assessment, life assessment and cost analysis studies including review of clients’ data on cost issues, risk events, maintenance programs, reliability and availability of plants, fleet wise comparison/benchmarking of plant performance for European, USA and Asian utilities, etc. Therefore ETD were approached to develop a manual with best practice guidelines in the operation and maintenance of steam turbines and all associated auxiliary equipment of power plants to ensure performance needs are met and further improved. It was intended that these guidelines for the operation and maintenance of steam turbine and auxiliary equipment will include sufficient information for the users to effectively manage the equipment safety and integrity. ETD have also carried out comprehensive reviews of related areas such as ‘on-line monitoring tools’, ‘developments in risk-based maintenance programs and inspection techniques’, ‘guidelines for CCGT/HRSG lifing and risk-based approaches’, ‘plant cycling (both conventional and CCGTs/ HRSGs)’, damage due to cyclic operation and risk-based inspection, power plant component replacement strategies and technical and financial risks, etc. Through its Group Sponsored Projects (GSPs) ETD has developed new and more sophisticated techniques for power plant inspection and these have included the development of the portable Scanning Force Microscope (SFM), Electrical Discharge Sampling Equipment (EDSE) - a spark erosion device for ‘boat sampling’, and its precision portable hardness tester known as the ‘Smart Sleeve’.

This manual is aimed to introduce plant staff to the role of steam turbines and their auxiliaries in power stations and provide an understanding of their workings and benefits. There are significant variations in the design and structure with the various manufacturers and this will be generally addressed.

The manual will offer a practical guide as to how steam turbines and their associated auxiliaries are constructed, operated and maintained with emphasis on the best practices. The construction sections detailed design principles and the materials utilised. Later sections will cover best operating and maintenance issues under varying operating scenarios and finally the thermodynamics and efficiency considerations of steam turbines will be addressed.

For more information on our other specialist services including operation and maintenance, please click here.

Recent Completed Project on Failure Analysis of HRSG IP Economiser Outlet Header Tube

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ETD is pleased to announce the successful recent completion of a root cause failure analysis project for a North American based plant.

The plant was experiencing a failure of the IP Economiser outlet header tube. During the HRSG inspection, a pin hole leak was observed on the stub tube of IP Econ OH and the plant decided to replace the portion. The pin hole leak was found 6mm away from header-tube weldment (fillet weld). After the incident, the client completed extensive inspection on the header and dye penetrant test and no abnormalities were found. Therefore, ETD was invited to submit a proposal to carry out failure analysis of this IP econ tube sample removed from the failed area. The work involved performing tube failure analysis study based on laboratory testing and assessment of one removed tube sample.

The objectives and scope of the work to be carried out for one tube sample was:

  • Visual and dimensional examination of the tube sample, including examination of the failure/damage location appearance and condition of internal and external tube surfaces and any deposits;

  • Metallographic examination of the tube sample to assess the condition of the microstructure and to identify the damage/failure mechanism(s);

  • Hardness testing and evaluation to determine the equivalent tensile strength values (using published hardness/UTS correlation tables) to assess the mechanical strength or softening of the tube material;

  • Chemical analysis of base material to determine the chemical composition of the tube material to establish actual material constituents;

  • Chemical analysis of internal oxide/ deposits to determine the presence of impurities and constituents that may lead to the failure (depending on the oxide thickness);

  • Estimation of tube operating temperature based on measurements of steam-side oxide thickness, and evaluation of remaining creep life;

  • Review of design drawings, tube arrangement, operating parameters, previous failure and maintenance history;

  • Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCA) based on the findings of above investigations;

  • Report covering results of investigations, failure analysis & recommendations for remedial actions to prevent repeat tube failures.

ETD has established expertise in the failure analysis. For more information about our failure analysis services please click here.