The current economic climate for most industries, including oil & gas and petrochemicals, is focusing attention on reducing operating costs and improving asset performance. However, this isn't the only source of pressure. Regulators are continuously modifying legislation and standards governing integrity management by adding new requirements for risk analysis and inspection.
Paper-based systems, spreadsheets and legacy software solutions are no longer able to meet the industry's demands for asset performance and integrity management. Modern software solutions help organisations meet the most stringent regulatory requirements and offer further benefits. They provide cloud-based applications and custom reporting that integrates easily across diverse platforms. Engineers and managers can access all the relevant information on phones or tablets from anywhere in the world.
The impact of changing regulations
Regulators worldwide and in every sector are continuously updating risk management requirements to prevent incidents and injuries. For example, lessons from onshore experience are now being applied offshore. All industries are under some pressure to improve their management systems and risk profiles.
Almost all regulators now require a mechanical integrity program with a transparent and auditable database of assets. Operators should update risk profiles as current inspection information becomes available or as process changes introduce new damage mechanisms. Recent inspection reports should also be easily accessible to show that inspectors are keeping to the prescribed schedule. Legacy systems based on spreadsheets and paper records are no longer sufficient for keeping track of this level of information.
Regulations allow for changes to inspection frequencies based on thorough risk assessments and up to date inspection records. When these elements are unavailable, organisations must meet the default inspection requirements leading to an increased inspection cost burden. Risk assessments rely on high-quality information and excellent record-keeping, both of which are impossible using legacy systems.
The limitations of legacy systems
Legacy systems can be anything from paper-based systems to spreadsheets or older generation software tools. There are several disadvantages to these systems that new generation software tools overcome.
Cumbersome to manage
Manual systems like paper and spreadsheets are cumbersome to manage. There are no automated alerts when inspections are due. There is no way to know if any information is missing. It is impossible to generate custom reports with varying levels of detail for different users. The more assets involved and the more complex the risk profile, the more difficult it is to keep track of compliance using manual-based systems.
Lack of CMMS integration
Even some software solutions cannot offer everything a modern risk management system needs. Integration with computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) is essential but not always available. This disconnect means there is no feedback of inspection and repair data back to the risk management system, making it challenging to re-evaluate risk using current information. It also means that the risk management system cannot initiate work orders automatically. RBI tasks may be missed or delayed without integrating the integrity management software and a CMMS.
Lack of support
Advances in technology and computing power are making some older RBI software programs redundant. Lack of vendor support means that organisations cannot make the changes they need. The right software solution can offer significant benefits for RBI, but some organisations are hamstrung with legacy or outdated solutions.
Where Asset Performance and Integrity Management is headed
Historically production facilities have relied on specialist resources in separate disciplines to manage functions like asset integrity and equipment reliability. However, there is a growing tendency to view asset performance and integrity management together. Static and rotating equipment both have the same potential to cause a total or partial loss in production, and both require a risk-based approach to mitigation. Asset performance and integrity management systems are moving in the direction of integrated systems that capture and respond to all the risks.
Real-time monitoring is not typically associated with static equipment and inspection, but integration with asset performance systems creates an opportunity for change. Vibration monitors for rotating equipment and ultrasonic thickness detectors can connect to the same asset performance and integrity management system, thus providing real-time information to adjust the current risk associated with any piece of equipment.
The quality of raw data from real-time monitoring and inspection reports is also opening the door for advanced analysis. High-quality input data enables software models using data analytics, machine learning and predictive estimation. These techniques can provide significant improvement to risk calculations based on predictions of failure.
The importance of connectivity
Cloud-based access to data and reports is becoming a standard expectation for integrity management solutions. Phone and tablet applications provide a tailored user experience in almost every area of life, yet some RBI software solutions do not offer cloud integration. Lack of connectivity is a significant disadvantage because real-time information is not easily accessible to anyone who needs it. This could include alerts linked to process conditions, new inspection reports or overdue regulatory requirements.
Engineers and managers need access to their asset performance and integrity management dashboards and reports on their smartphones and tablets. They should have this access from the office, the field, or a remote location anywhere in the world. Besides alerts, having all the relevant information about a piece of equipment at hand makes it easy to form a high-level opinion on whether there is a need to update the risk assessment for that equipment. Accessibility enables technical experts to assess conditions as they unfold and provide informed opinions to decision-making processes.
Why choose Vysus Group
Vysus Group was previously the Energy business of Lloyd’s Register. As such, we are a leading engineering and technical consultancy offering specialist risk management expertise across complex industrial and energy assets. Our track-record stretches back to the 1930s and covers a wide range of customers, equipment types and industries. We have experience in a wide range of industries with a focus on building and implementing software solutions.
As an independent consultancy, Vysus Group is not limited to one specific set of software tools and models. Our engineers are adept at stepping into your organisation and using the tools already at your disposal. Also, our consultancy services span the globe allowing us to apply our broad expertise to each local situation.
A significant advantage of working with Vysus Group is our independence from the inspection function of integrity management. This independence allows us to focus on optimising systems and saving money through engineering expertise. Vysus Group has nothing to gain from a higher inspection workload, which is not true for all consultants working in integrity management.
Our independence also helps us provide an external view on life expectancy, fitness for service or turnaround deferment decisions. This gives organisations peace of mind that business drivers are not increasing the risk of asset failure.
Reach out to Vysus Group here for advice on your asset performance and integrity management software.