This past Holiday Season, the Charlotte office of Structural Integrity collected donations for Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitchen, whose mission is to fight hunger in Huntersville and the surrounding area.
Structural Integrity Associate, Inc. (SI) is pleased to announce that Anthony (Tony) W. Robinson will be joining Structural Integrity as the Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, effective January 4, 2021. Tony spent more than 25 years (collectively) at Framatome (formerly AREVA, Inc. and predecessor companies), and most recently was the Senior Vice President of Products and Engineering. He previously held roles of Senior Vice President Customer Accounts & Government Affairs, Vice President New Builds North America, and Vice President New Builds Business Development. Additionally, he was the Vice President US Nuclear Services for BWXT from 2013 – 2016.
The Structural Integrity (SI) Chemistry and Materials Team have completed the development and release of BG4, the 4th generation of the BIoGEORGE™ Biofilm Growth Detector system. The 4th generation release includes analytical software (BGConnect) and enhanced communication utilizing Bluetooth enabled phone/tablet App (BGMobile). Our system provides real-time data, customizable graphs, and shareable reports, allowing the user to evaluate their chemical treatment program’s effectiveness on-demand.
“We are excited to provide an updated version of the BIoGEORGE™ Detector system, BG4, to our clients. The BIoGEORGE product has been shown to reduce O&M costs by optimizing chemical treatments. With this next generation of enhancements, clients will be able to take advantage of real-time data with less effort”, commented Mike Ford, SI Chemistry and Materials Director. “We see this as a necessary step in product innovation for our clients as they continue to focus on controlling costs.” SI has begun to receive orders for the BG4 units from a returning client based on their positive experiences with the 3rd generation of the BIoGEORGE™ system and SI support.
For over 20 years, SI has supplied previous generations of the BIoGEORGE™ Biofilm Growth Detector system to numerous clients in the power generation, refinery, pipeline, and chemical industries with great success. The product uses electrochemical methods to detect biofilm activity in water-based buildup on the probe surface to support chemical conditioning and plant performance.
For more information on BG4 and the latest marketing flyer, visit si-biofilmgrowth.com.
On October 28th, the Structural Integrity (SI) Nuclear Fuel Technology Team achieved a major milestone in completing the first Verification & Validation phase in the development of its nuclear fuel performance and behavior code Pegasus©. “This is a significant step by the SI Team” commented Vick Nazareth, SI Fuel Director. “We have been developing Pegasus© since 2017 to incorporate cutting edge computational technology and four decades of fuel behavior modeling and analysis expertise into a software program”. The code addresses a need for deeper fuel integrity insights within the nuclear industry to achieve next level fuel performance and licensing. Dr. Joe Rashid, Scientist and Senior Technology Developer of the code added “this code will analyze fuel behavior through the entire fuel cycle from initial startup to used-fuel storage”.
SI announced the development of Pegasus© in the SI newsletter in 2019, Introducing Pegasus: State-of-the-Art Nuclear Fuel Behavior with the objective of enhancing the fidelity of fuel behavior and performance in support of advanced fuel technologies. The Pegasus© code will go through additional validation testing over the next several months to meet a production roll-out in early 2021 in support of fuel performance behavior analysis across a broad spectrum of light water reactor and advanced reactor fuel designs.
” I am proud of the SI Fuel Team”, said Mark Marano, SI CEO.” This milestone exemplifies our ability to provide innovative structural integrity solutions for clients across structures, systems, components, water chemistry and nuclear fuel.”
Structural Integrity is an employee-owned specialty engineering and services company providing innovative engineering solutions and services to achieve asset management excellence across multiple industries including Nuclear, Fossil, Oil & Gas, Renewables, and Critical Infrastructure.
Mike comes to SI following tenures at Westinghouse Electric and Framatome. During his 25 year career in the nuclear industry, Mike has held a variety of leadership roles that spanned operations and business development. Selected accomplishments in the operations realm during that time included building and leading the Westinghouse Balance of Plant Engineering Department that included over 100 engineers, and leading the commercial deployment of a new alloy 600 mitigation technology in the US. From a commercial standpoint, Mike led the Business Development Departments for two different 75+ Million dollar businesses to achieve substantial top-line growth.
Mike will bring the broad range of experiences to SI to drive improvement in project management in order to achieve next-level performance and customer satisfaction. Mike will also hold a secondary role of Business Development in the SI Nuclear Business Unit, where he will use his experience and industry contacts to promote SI engineering technology to the global fleet.
On August 27th, the Structural Integrity Associates Board elected Matt Sunseri as new SI Board Chairman replacing Barry Waitte who will remain on the board until his announced retirement in May. “I look forward to Matt’s leadership and insight in this new capacity,” said Mark Marano, Structural Integrity Associates CEO and Chief Nuclear Officer. “SI has a long heritage of providing high value engineering and consulting to the Nuclear Industry and this change enhances our strategic focus in this key zero-carbon industry segment.”
Matt joined the board in 2019 and is the former President and CEO of Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp. While at Wolf Creek, he was responsible for all aspects of the safe, reliable, and cost-effective operation of the plant and supported the development of international leaders through the World Association of Nuclear Operators. Matt brings nearly 40 years of utility experience having worked in both the regulated and merchant energy markets. He also serves as a member and chairman of the nuclear safety review board for the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station in New Brunswick, Canada.
“I am honored to serve as the SI Board Chair and look forward to working with the other Board members as we fulfill our duties to the Company and its shareholders. I have always found that when transitions occur, it is a good opportunity to review our capabilities and the value we bring to clients,” said Matt.
Structural Integrity Associates is an employee owned specialty engineering and services company providing structural integrity assessment insights and services to achieve asset management excellence across multiple industries including Nuclear, Fossil, Oil & Gas, and critical infrastructure.
Structural Integrity Associates, Inc. (SI), a leader in engineering and technology in the power and oil & gas industries, today announced the appointment of Steve Gressler as Vice President of its Fossil business. Gressler will report to Mark Marano, SI President and Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Gressler is a metallurgical engineer with over 30 years of experience in metallurgy, failure analysis, and the damage assessment of fossil power generation equipment and distributed heating and cooling systems with an emphasis on piping, boilers, headers, and balance of plant equipment. He is a principal contributor to engineering life cycle programs and procedures, risk assessments, analysis tools, and technologies to assess service degradation in low alloy and creep-strength enhanced ferritic steels. His current work focuses on the development, integration, and deployment of nondestructive testing and damage tracking technology in addition to engineering consulting and materials assessments.
Since joining Structural Integrity Associates in 1997, Steve has been a principal contributor to the methodologies applied for life assessment of high temperature and critical piping components. This includes characterization of creep and fatigue damage in longitudinal seam welds, girth welds, and header ligaments. It also extends to the engineering of data management systems used for aiding decision-making processes.
Marano noted, “Steve brings metallurgical leadership and technology development experience to the SI leadership team and is an integral part of our new customer focused strategy. Steve’s knowledge of the fossil business, tenure with SI, and relationships with our clients will accelerate our journey to create value for power and oil industry customers as a highly valued engineering and technology partner.”
Gressler received a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Registered Professional Engineer. Steve is also a prior recipient of the SI Riccardella Innovation Award for Prioritization Method for Fossil Plant Piping.
In this article, we’ll share with you how we are using validated and reliable processes, procedures and software that we developed 30 years ago for application in the nuclear sector for the Load Monitoring of critical equipment used in the high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) oil and gas industry, and how we’re directly applying these methods to deep offshore well head equipment. We’ll also share some of the results and insights we’ve gained in recent HPHT applications. Those of you who have implemented Structural Integrity’s FatiguePro™ software in your nuclear plants will likely recognize some familiar benefits that can be realized in HPHT equipment.
Oil and gas operators view deepwater installations as the primary source of significant future discoveries of oil and gas reserves. The challenge facing the industry is that the environments for such installations present design conditions for which proven American Petroleum Institute (API) pressure rating designs are not yet available. These applications reside in ocean water that may be more than a mile deep, and the equipment is exposed to internal sour environments at pressures greater than 15,000 psig and temperatures greater than 350°F, while surrounded by near freezing ocean water (Figure 1). To further complicate design, such high pressures require thick-walled equipment that are designed to ASME Code, Section VIII and API standards; but, these emerging pressure and temperature extremes are beyond what API standards currently address. These conditions provide technical challenges to components not previously seen by in-service equipment. Inside surface initiated fatigue cracking, not previously considered a likely threat in earlier subsea applications, has a greater potential to be an influencing integrity threat in these very thick-walled components.
Using our FatiguePro™ 4 software, coupled with our in-house API and ASME Code expertise, we have developed a methodology for load monitoring and fatigue management for thick-walled, nickel-lined forgings subjected to these harsh conditions that can be applied in any HPHT application by any knowledgeable engineer. FatiguePro™ 4 uses reliable technology that has been validated over several decades of successful wide-spread use since its development in 1986 for application in the commercial nuclear power sector. In addition, we have shared our expertise with the API community by volunteering as authors of the Load Monitoring Annex A in the new API Technical Report 17TR8, Revision 2, which is currently being finalized for publication (Figure 2).
Although fatigue has traditionally not been a concern for deep sea well head equipment, small imperfections in the material and continuous exposure to the sour environment, coupled with extreme pressure and temperature fluctuations, increase the potential for fatigue damage in the form of crack initiation and environmentally-enhanced crack growth. In addition, standard equipment design practices that used stress concentrations for lower-pressure well equipment now estimate very large stresses in the high-pressure well head equipment. Subsequent growth and penetration of these small fatigue cracks through the corrosion resistant interior layer into the forging base material could then result in through-wall crack propagation, ultimately leading to leaks, which could be environmentally disastrous. Unfortunately, the location and assembly of these subsea components do not readily lend themselves to in-service nondestructive examination (NDE) after deployment. As a result, load and/or fatigue monitoring becomes a necessary engineering solution. Load monitoring with FatiguePro™ 4 provides a way to consistently and constantly monitor the condition of equipment to alert the operator before a critical condition threatens component integrity.
FatiguePro™ 4 provides load monitoring of critical locations in subsea equipment – in essence, a “fatigue and load odometer” for equipment “hot spots” that serve as leading indicators of fatigue. We do this by strategically pairing, counting, categorizing, and tracking all of the actual loads to which the equipment is exposed in a more rigorous method than simply counting the extreme minimums and maximums. (Figure 3). Once the actual unique loading history is identified, it may be compared to loadings assumed in the design, or fatigue crack initiation and growth parameters may be calculated for comparison to allowable values or alarm limits. The key locations selected for sentinel monitoring are readily determined from the finite element analysis (FEA) performed as part of the ASME Code, Section VIII design analysis (Figure 4).
We identify locations of highest stress, including the effects of structural or material discontinuities, through the modelling process and selected for monitoring in FatiguePro™ 4. We configure the software to utilize all of the same methods and inputs that are used to qualify the equipment to ASME standards. However, actual loading measured from installed instruments is used in place of design assumptions for loading, thus providing in-situ measurement and assessment of the actual component duty. The analysis can be performed remotely onshore at regular intervals or immediately updated after unusual operational events.
A key feature of our FatiguePro™ 4 software is that it uses existing instrumentation and previously developed FEA to provide remote and continuous load monitoring of critical well head equipment. This feature avoids the need for costly installation of additional instrumentation, especially in cases where routing of remote instruments and added electrical cabling may be cost-prohibitive, keeping the implementation cost of this solution low. The key to this approach is the use of Green’s Functions and transfer function logic, which provide mathematical modelling of available instrument measurements and their relationship to conditions at the monitored location of interest (Figure 5). Such modelling provides for a “virtual instrument” – that is, predicted measurements of pressure and temperature at the critical monitored location of interest as if there were instruments installed at that location (Figure 6). The technique, used also in nuclear power, can be applied as early as the design stage, or once a component has entered service.
FatiguePro™ 4 analyses all use measured fluctuations of pressure and temperature, or other available measured loads. Those fluctuations are identified, counted and categorized according to severity for direct comparison to the loads postulated in the equipment Design Specification. This comparison can serve as a first-level measure of the equipment’s condition, in that the loading is measured and compared against its accepted, benchmarked design standard.
A typical field observation for most equipment is that the actual field loading is much less severe than the loading postulated in the design of the equipment (Figure 7). Accounting for this difference can extend the equipment’s life, oftentimes significantly – but more importantly, provide the added level of confidence in the safety and reliability of the equipment. Using the Green’s and transfer functions, FatiguePro™ 4 may also be used to calculate both a cumulative usage factor (cuf) as a measure of fatigue crack initiation or postulated fatigue crack growth (Figue 8). Both of these parameters can be plotted real-time and trended into the future to provide insight to operational practices, equipment maintenance or for proactive planning of equipment replacement (Figure 9). Alert levels can be set to trigger other proactive measures by operators long before problems are encountered.
Our FatiguePro™ 4 software also provides evaluation of both past and future “what-if” operational practices to show the results of planned or desired operational improvements. This provides important feedback to operators ahead of time that allows for procedure adjustment or the avoidance of operating practices that can prematurely consume equipment operational life.
Our FatiguePro™ 4 computational fatigue analysis software integrates both FEA and fracture mechanics to establish improved fatigue tolerance and fatigue life cycle management during operation. Implementing this methodology will also provide key technical data that can be used to improve future well completion designs. Properly understanding the influence and effects of HPHT environments on new-generation equipment can result in significant weight and cost savings.
To learn more about FatiguePro™ 4 and its application to your well head equipment, or to partner with us on load monitoring applications, contact us at 1-877-4SI-POWER.
Structural Integrity Associates, Inc. (SI), a leader in engineering and technology in the power and oil and gas industries, today announced the appointment of Sean Fuller as Executive Director of Sales and Marketing. Fuller will report to Mark Marano, SI President and Chief Executive Officer, who recently joined the company in February.
Fuller joins SI from Curtiss-Wright Corporation where he was an Innovation Champion and Innovation Lead – Product Engineering in the Nuclear Division. Previously, Fuller served as Executive VP Sales and Technology for GSE Systems Inc., a provider of simulation, training, and engineering solutions to the power and process industries. There he was instrumental in establishing technology partnerships to develop the nuclear plant control room of the future.
Fuller brings to SI more than 30 years of commercial and new product introduction experience in the power industry. He began his career at GE Nuclear, a division of GE Power, as an Edison Engineering Program engineer where he served in commercial, engineering, and manufacturing leadership roles and was instrumental in commercializing technology that has enabled nuclear power plants to achieve 90%+ capacity factors.
Marano noted, “Sean brings extensive commercial leadership and technology development experience to the SI team and is an integral part of our new customer focused strategy. Sean’s success leading innovation and technology deployment will enhance our journey to create value for power and oil industry customers as a highly valued engineering and technology partner.”
Fuller received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical-Nuclear Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts and is Lean/6Sigma Black Belt certified.
Structural Integrity – led by our own Derrick Watkins and John Svet – is mentoring students from the University of California, San Diego during their senior design Capstone project. The goal of the mentorship is to give the students real-life working experience through participation in a design project with industry mentors. The students are learning how to develop forces on equipment during earthquakes and how to design anchorage so that the equipment remains in place and functional during and following an earthquake. At the end of the project, the students will write a report and make a presentation to their Professor, their classmates and other industry mentors.
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