Delivering a heat exchanger vessel inspection when IRIS was impractical

Eddy Current Inspection / Internal Rotary Inspection

Part of our vision as a company is to serve our local community. We do this in various ways – from sponsoring local sports teams to creating bespoke apprenticeship programmes for young people to building a network with local businesses through various professional organisations. 

Some of the local networking events we attend are those run by the Deeside Business Forum. Deeside Business Forum is an association of organisations and individuals committed to working together in order to improve the trading environment for businesses in the Deeside area. They work to promote the economic interests of the area on a regional, national and international level. 

A chance encounter at one of these events led to us building a relationship with Hanson Cement, who recently approached us when they bought a new heat exchanger vessel.

Who is Hanson Cement?  

Hanson Cement is a leading supplier of heavy building materials to the construction industry.

They produce aggregates (crushed rock, sand and gravel), ready-mixed concrete, asphalt, cement and cement-related materials. They operate throughout the UK. 

The Problem

The company had been asked by their quality department to establish a baseline inspection of the vessel tubes to ascertain any cracking or thinning of the tubes before putting them into service.  

However, there was a problem. We would normally use Internal Rotary Inspection (IRIS) to test heat exchanger vessels. IRIS uses ultrasound to test for flaws. However,  the heat exchanger vessel was made from a unique high-grade carbon steel – which would make it harder for an ultrasound to effectively penetrate the material.

Also, the tube diameter and length meant that Internal Rotary Inspection (IRIS) would be unsuitable, as we would not be able to backfill the tubes with water. To add to the problem, the unique large diameter of the tube would mean that standard Eddy Current probes would be unsuitable to use on this exchanger.

Our Solution

Despite the problem, we were sure that Eddy Current Inspection would be the best solution. We reached out through our extensive professional network and were able to contact one of our suppliers in America. They were able to create a bespoke probe suitable for fitting the tubes on this particular heat exchanger vessel.

The Result

As a consequence of our team’s creative thinking, we were able to perform the test quickly. 

There was also a cost saving for the Client, as in general Eddy Current Inspection is a more cost-effective test to perform than IRIS due to the quicker nature of the inspection technique. 

There was also an unexpected, but not unwelcome, environmental benefit from using Eddy Current Inspection. As we did not use the IRIS method for testing and no wastewater was created, meaning the environmental impact was reduced. 

The client was able to establish a baseline of the new vessel tubes, and put the vessel into service, minimising the vessel’s downtime. We have now put together a regular inspection schedule for the vessel and we look forward to a strong relationship with the company moving forward. 

We were able to perform the test quickly. There was also a cost saving for the Client, as in general Eddy Current Inspection is a more cost-effective test to perform than IRIS due to the quicker nature of the inspection technique. 

Responsive testing that delivers assurance that your equipment is safe.

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