Equipment inspection specialist Sonomatic has launched a new engineering division to provide its clients with an integrated service covering pre-inspection analysis and recommendation, through to post inspection assessment and ongoing management decision making.
Called Sonomatic Integrity Support Services, they place a heavy emphasis on the essential field of ‘integrity’, which is concerned with ensuring safe operation of equipment throughout its life. Assurance of equipment integrity depends heavily on knowledge of the condition of the equipment in service. Inspection therefore plays a vital role and an understanding of inspection technologies and how they are best applied is fundamental to defining sound approaches to managing the integrity of equipment. The Integrity Support activity works closely with the Inspection side of the business to deliver the benefits of an integrated approach.
The new division possesses competencies in a number of areas including ultrasonic inspection simulation/modelling, Fitness for Service (FFS) investigations and assessment and planning for Non Intrusive Inspection (NII). Support is also provided for successful field inspection services and in the form of consulting services to clients.
By combining an understanding of mechanical integrity with the in-depth knowledge of inspection techniques offered within the company and its strategic partners, the company is capable of providing an integrated integrity support service to clients. Much of the activity is in the fast-growing area of non-intrusive inspection (NII), which allows for equipment to continue working while its condition is being assessed, thus eliminating the need for costly operational shut-downs.
Sonomatic Integrity Support Services is headed by Mark Stone, who was appointed last August with a mission to develop an integrity capability within the company. Mark has extensive experience in the field of NII, having been involved in the development of the HOIS NII decision guidance process, which has been widely adopted by North Sea operators and integrity managers. He has also been involved in a number of major NII programmes with operators in the North Sea.
He said: “The benefits of NII are widely recognised and more operators are exploring how it can be applied to their assets. However, it is also recognised that the decision to carry out NII has to be properly justified and the required level of assurance demonstrated through the use of inspection techniques that provide accurate and reliable information on the condition of equipment.”
“There is a growing requirement from clients wishing to carry out NII assessments to justify it’s implementation and this is an area in which we have significant experience.”
“There is also a need for the development of detailed NII plans for equipment. We rely on an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of a wide range of inspection techniques to define approaches that provide a high level of assurance.”
Sonomatic is unique in being able to offer not just the assessment and planning work but, through its Field Services division or strategic partners, is also able to carry out the inspection. It is essential that the inspection provides the level of information required. Mark explained, “Final justification of NII depends on the inspection being carried out to a high standard and Sonomatic’s experience of inspection of critical equipment means our teams understand the need to provide accurate and dependable data.”
“Clients using our services for NII are able to attain the full benefits of this increasingly applied and effective approach with assurance that the integrity requirements have been met.”
The Integrity Support Services team also offer Fitness for Service evaluations based on interpreting the results of inspections that have been carried out on equipment with in-service degradation and evaluating if it can continue to be operated safely. These evaluations can range from standard codified approaches to detailed finite element analysis, depending on the level of degradation identified by the inspection.
To support the new division, Sonomatic has so far employed two engineers and a technical assistant. In addition it has invested £30,000 in ultrasonic simulation software,
Mark added: “The new inspection modelling software is useful in a number of applications. These include helping us understand of the capability of a specific inspection set-up, developing and validating inspection procedures, evaluating data gathered in the field and estimating the probability of detection of specific inspections methods.”
The software has capability for modelling ultrasonic pulse echo, time of flight diffraction and phased array inspection. It includes interaction with a wide range of defect types with characteristics that can be specified by the user.
For further information please call Mark Stone on +44 (0) 78 7505 9439 or email firstname.lastname@example.org