Joint Integrity Management
Causes of leaking flanged joints vary, but as a general rule, flange distortion, sealing surface damager, inappropriate gasket selection, incorrect bolt loads, and uncontrolled tightening methods are typically among the primary ones.
Other factors to highlight include:
- The importance of appropriately trained and skilled technicians
- The use of appropriate tools and equipment
- Detailed procedures to work to, with effective supervision and inspection
- The importance of keeping effective records of work undertaken
Joint integrity of critical joints can be successfully achieved, given effective controls – in other words a programme that addresses the issues associated with joint failure, managing every stage from engineering analysis of the joint through all the necessary work to closure and bolting, all with full documentation.
Joint integrity management is the total package of services that provides the best possible chance of achieving a leak-free start-up.
Geographical locations of process plant near highly populated areas are expected to adhere to strict codes of government legislation such as COMAH and industry guidelines (ASME, BSEN, Energy Institute etc.)
“With ever more challenging environmental, legislative and economic demands being faced, the need to reduce leaks and emissions is greater today than ever before”.
The costs of not doing so are high – in terms of;
- Safety, environmental issues and potential fines.
- Inefficient plant operation and loss of product
- Downtime and repair costs
Steps to eliminate leaking joints as part of a maintenance program will therefore help remove unacceptable risk. Achieving a ‘leak-free start-up’ will avoid any delay and re-work. It reduces equipment and testing costs, and allows earlier demobilisation of the workforce.