What is the best approach to asset inspection?
Asset inspections not only help reduce risk associated with ageing structures, but can also save a significant amount of time and money when performed strategically. However, not all asset inspection programs are the same. Typically they take one of two forms – and both have their limitations.
The first form of asset inspection program is a periodic general inspection conducted by an engineer or inspection technician. There may be a few downsides to performing the inspection in what is essentially an ad hoc way. Firstly, the engineers or technicians typically only have a limited window of opportunity to inspect a large number of assets. Secondly, access via EWP or other means is often unavailable. In a worst-case scenario, the result can be a job half done, with a report containing a number of disclaimers. Not exactly reassuring!
The second form of asset inspection is a targeted inspection conducted by a team of NDT technicians. This is generally requested when there is a concern about a specific asset within the plant or facility. With the focus fixed squarely on the specific asset in question, data is gathered. This data must then be analysed, often by an engineer remote to the site. What happens if it is determined that additional data is needed during the analysis? You guessed it – the NDT team must head back to the site to conduct another inspection – at the cost of the client! Furthermore, the engineer who analysed the data did not have the opportunity to inspect the site first hand and must rely solely on the information provided. No doubt you can imagine where this scenario could be heading.
An Alternative Approach
At Advitech, our approach is different. Our engineers have the practical experience and training to be embedded within an NDT team. Together with our partners, Anyfab Inspections, we can provide a team that consists of both structural engineers and NDT technicians, all qualified to work at heights, within confined spaces and via EWP access. We can also assist with scoping repairs and help with an overall asset management strategy.
Our collaborative, embedded approach to asset inspections provides value in a number of ways:
The inspection is flexible – If the team identifies any defects or problems, their inspection can focus on those specific areas on the day (which means no waiting and paying for follow-up inspections).
The inspection is more technically rigorous – Engineers can make initial judgments onsite, which can provide tangible benefits much more quickly than when judgments are made offsite. What’s more, ultrasonic and weld inspections can be undertaken as required without the need for follow-up inspections, saving time and money.
Our collaborative inspection process limits the shortcomings of both periodic general inspections and targeted inspections.
Greater focus can be given to key areas of structure while less critical areas are subject to less frequent routine inspections. This allows limited maintenance budgets to be spent more wisely.
Our team is highly skilled – By working together, our NDT technicians have significantly upskilled themselves by having the opportunity to work with our structural engineers. This strategic knowledge and skill sharing has already generated significant benefits for our clients.
Interruptions to operations can be reduced – In fact, many of our existing clients undertake multiple repairs during a single outage (‘killing two birds with one stone’ so to speak).
Often access costs (EWP and scaffold hire etc.) are the most expensive aspect of the asset inspection process. Our collaborative embedded model has the potential to significantly reduce overall costs compared to separate inspections with NDT and engineer follow-up. You’ve paid for the access … use it wisely!