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Maintaining High Energy Piping Integrity With Unit Specific Strategic Planning

[+] Author Affiliations
Pamela Hamblin-Smoske

Thielsch Engineering, Inc., Cranston, RI

Paper No. POWER2014-32208, pp. V001T05A007; 9 pages
  • ASME 2014 Power Conference
  • Volume 1: Fuels and Combustion, Material Handling, Emissions; Steam Generators; Heat Exchangers and Cooling Systems; Turbines, Generators and Auxiliaries; Plant Operations and Maintenance; Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM); Plant Systems, Structures, Components and Materials Issues
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA, July 28–31, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4608-7
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


High-energy piping systems are essential to the safe and cost-effective operation of power plants. The propensity for piping failures increases with the age of the systems involved. Prolonged operation, particularly at elevated temperatures, may result in metallurgical degradation which in-turn increases the potential for cracking and crack propagation until a final failure stage is reached by the component. As a result, power plant operators have become increasingly cognizant of the importance of condition assessment evaluations for high-energy piping systems.

Power plant operators are faced with specific challenges to maintain the integrity of their high energy piping systems including the reduction of onsite engineers, aging workforces, equipment, and the need to remain competitive in a challenging global energy market. Plant managers are routinely faced with the complex task of evaluating the current condition of their equipment, forecasting outage budgets and schedules, and performing risk assessments. Additionally, insurance companies are increasingly requiring inspection and maintenance records that are not always up-to-date or readily available.

The solution to strategically maintaining the integrity of high-energy piping systems involves taking a comprehensive approach to piping management utilizing unit specific operational training, advanced data management, strategic inspection, maintenance and replacement prioritization. Implementing this comprehensive approach has resulted in avoiding both catastrophic and leak type failures for plant managers that have adopted this strategy. Implementing a unit specific, targeted plan enables utility owners and operators to succeed in today’s competitive market by increasing the unit’s reliability and availability without sacrificing safety or environmental standards.

Thielsch Engineering, Inc. hosts over 30 years of advanced engineering experience and provides extensive services to more than 150 power plants each year. Our firm is also the creator and proprietary owners of the 4 SYTE System Strategies that is currently operating in more than 60 power plants throughout the U.S. and Canada. We are an employee-owned company with 425 partners who are dedicated to best practices and customer service is a priority. Thielsch has offices in Rhode Island, Ohio, Texas and Florida.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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