As the year comes to a close, consider reevaluating your current Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI) program to change the way your money is spent on CUI within your facility. Is your program more reactive than it is proactive? If so, make changes now to help steer your program in the right direction. To understand what it means to have a truly effective and proactive CUI program, focus your energy and time on the major phases of a mature CUI program including:

  • Susceptibility & Prioritization
  • Inspection
  • Mitigation
  • Data Feedback loop

Susceptibility & Prioritization

The first major phase to transform a reactive CUI program into a proactive program is to focus on the identification of susceptibility & the subsequent prioritization of assets according to what you have determined with regards to susceptibility. This is such a crucial area that is often neglected. It is really the time to identify where you are spending your inspection budget to avoid getting surprised in the long run with either poor or missing data.

Gather Data

The data gathering phase is important, but it is even more important to ask yourself if the state of your data is either good or bad. It is important to leverage the data you have collected in the past to understand what data you need to gather in order to make sound decisions Avoid making assumptions that can lead to less than ideal results. If you move forward with inaccurate data, you may be putting your assets at risk or even spending money in the wrong places. Additionally, if you take a conservative approach by assuming “worst case” for instances where data is unknown, the confidence in your accuracy is very low and once again you might not be spending your inspection dollars effectively.

Identify Gaps

Understanding the data and options you have will often reveal cost-effective solutions to proceed with filling existing gaps. Keep in mind that filling gaps requires a focused effort and support from many different departments. In some cases, it can be unclear to individuals within your organization how important taking the correct steps to fill gaps really is and people may question whether it is worth the upfront cost to be proactive. Do a cost benefit analysis to understand what you may be saving down the road to make sure you are inspecting in the right locations and most cost-effective places. Close as many gaps as you possibly can. You will have better results and will furthermore set yourself up for a proactive CUI program.

Quantify & Define

Are you not quite sure where to start when it comes to quantifying the susceptibility of your assets? A great start would be to compare your current practice with that of API RFP 583 to ensure your methodology is considering the proper factors. This is the perfect time to evaluate your processes for tracking changes and making sure as future changes happen, the data being used to quantify CUI susceptibility and establish priority are using the most current data to minimize future gap analysis efforts.

Minimally Invasive vs. Invasive Inspection Plan

After prioritizing your assets, take the time to evaluate the likely areas where CUI may exist and implement a Minimally Invasive Inspection Plan. A proper risk analysis, as described in API RPF 583, will serve as a guide to determine what percentage of an asset should be examined and the extent of the effectiveness. This effort is intended to identify areas where CUI is suspected with support from real inspection data such as radiography or guided wave that can keep most of your insulation intact.

This effort will provide you with the justification that you need to strip insulation in specific areas potentially reducing insulation and coating costs or at the very least, ensuring the appropriate amount of time and money is spent on the areas that need it the most. The inspections you do today based on the data you already had becomes the data you are going to use in the future when you start building your program for the next round of inspections.

Mitigation Strategies

After you have created your Minimally Invasive Inspection plan begin mitigating CUI. There are so many ways to mitigate CUI that it truly just depends on the circumstance of each individual asset. Let’s dive into a few examples.

Evaluate your coating program as it relates to insulated assets. There are some insulation types that do not necessarily play nice with certain coatings. Often the re-coating and re-insulating efforts happen independently of one another. Putting eyes on these procedures has the potential to mitigate future issues.

Develop a training program after you find a pattern within insulation damage in high foot traffic areas to help others understand how that trickles down into your budget.

Consider the amount of CML’s you place on insulated lines and how that number is going to dictate how many ports you need. On the other hand, CML’s could be placed on personnel protection insulation and you need to make sure that you are not re-insulate things that don’t need to be insulated.

Data Feedback

Finally, we conclude with the most important step. Make sure to collect strong and solid data that can be fed back to a place where you can use it in the future. For example, it will not do you any good to keep a range of field data in your inspection report. Make sure that all your data verification is being held in either your IDMS system, CMMS system, or wherever it is that you are going to be pulling data from the next time you perform a susceptibility evaluation.

As a result, your feedback loop should feed better data into the next iteration of your CUI efforts and should yield better results in the future to help de-specialize emphasis on our CUI program.

Conclusion

By creating a proactive approach, you change the way your money is spent on CUI within your facility.  Focusing your energy and time on the phases above will allow you to evergreen your investment so that your program will continue to pay off in the future. Want to learn more? Check out our webinar, Corrosion Under Insulation: A Proactive Vs. Reactive Approach, to dive deeper into the phases here.

Question Corner

Why can’t I just follow API RFP 583?

You can most definitely follow API RFP 583 as it dives into so many different aspects of developing a robust CUI program. If you decide to follow API RPF 583, make sure it really is the right approach for you and that you are not needing to incorporate any additional guidelines into your program to ensure you are proactive. Adhere to recommendations, gather necessary data, do the upfront work, and most importantly, stick to the program.

Should a CUI program be integrated into a MI program or be more of a “special emphasis effort?”

In our experience we have seen CUI programs live on their own in many facilities maintained solely by a dedicated group and we have also seen programs that are part of routine MI or RBI programs. Making sure your CUI program gets integrated into your MI program is crucial. Typically when we hear special emphasis we think maybe something has happened or maybe someone has realized that they need to be changing the way that they have been typically doing things within their program.  We would highly encourage you to bring Inspection and Engineering together when it comes to not only developing procedures and programs but also making sure that both departments are continuously consulted as your program lives on.

My facility experiences most of our CUI occurring in random locations. Why is this happening?

If CUI is occurring in random locations at your facility double check that you are working with good data and ask yourself if your analysis was complex enough or if you were making any assumptions. Ensure that you are working with data that has been verified, is accurate, and close gaps within your data to ensure CUI does not continue to occur randomly.

What are the required data points to determine susceptibility?

In our experience, people really want us to say that there are 4-5 data points that are needed to determine susceptibility for all of their assets. They are typically looking for climate, substrate material, operating temperature and insulation but it really goes so much further than that. Providing your team and assessment with as many fields as you can will really give you the best results. Have quantifiable and qualitative confidence that all of data points being using are verified to ensure a higher level of confidence in your results.

Learn more about  creating a proactive CUI program at your facility by contacting us here.