Completed Root Cause Cracking Analysis of Methanol Reformer Pigtails Project

ETD Consulting is pleased to announce that it has just completed a project on the Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and life assessment of methanol reformer pigtails at a chemical plant in the Middle East.

ETD had been requested to perform Root Cause Analysis and life assessment for 10 methanol reformer pigtail parts. The methanol reformer pigtails were in service since 2013. Cracks were observed on some of the pigtails’ external surface and therefore, the client expressed interest to perform RCA for these pigtails to determine the root causes of these cracks. The pigtails are operating under high temperature condition and made of nickel-chromium alloy.

The scope of the work to be carried out was: 

  • Visual and dimensional examination of the pigtail samples including internal and external appearance;
  • Assessment of condition of the internal and external surface including identification of inclusions/ contaminations, welding defects etc (if any existed);
  • Chemical analysis of base material to determine the chemical composition of the pigtail parts material to establish actual material constituents;
  • Metallographic examination of the pigtail samples using optical microscopy (if necessary using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)) to assess the condition of the internal and external surfaces, to identify phase changes in microstructure / material degradation and precipitations and also to identify the damage mechanism(s);
  • Tensile testing and 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 pigtail materials or welds;
  • Review of design drawings, design & operating parameters, previous failure and maintenance history.
  • Detailed RCA and life assessment based on the findings of above investigations to determine the root cause(s) of damages/ cracks.
  • Report covering results of investigation, root cause analysis & recommendations for any further actions to be taken by the client for safe operation of the components.

The work was completed successfully in February 2016. 

ETD has established expertise in the failure analysis of the components for power plant boilers and turbines and process industry. For more information about our failure analysis services please click here.