Performance under pressure

 Photographer: Inspecta

Performance under pressure

Inspecta inspects all kinds of pressurized equipment, from small measuring devices to powerful pressure vessels. At large power plants, boiler inspections are typically scheduled every four years, and pressure tests every eight years.

Thomas Lorentz-Petersen is an inspector with Inspecta Denmark. He has long experience with demanding inspections of power plant boilers. “We always work closely with our customers,” he says. “The first thing is scheduling the boiler inspection at a time that is suitable for the client. We will be there at whatever time they need it.”

The inspection starts with a review of the service history and documentation of the boiler. “I want to have an overview of what is going on with the boiler and power plant, including any repairs that have been made in the last few years,” Petersen says.

The next step is a visual check inside the boiler, starting on the water side. “We are looking for any signs of cracks and corrosion that may be caused, for example, by impurities in the feed water system,” says Petersen. “This is followed by an interior inspection of the furnace side of the boiler, where we also look for corrosion.”

No shortcuts

Safety is essential in this line of work. “Before entering the boiler, all valves and pipes are closed and their position verified manually. As a safety precaution, someone also needs to stand outside while I’m working inside the boiler,” Petersen notes.

The visual inspections are followed by pressure testing of the boiler, usually on the following day. Finally, the boiler is fired up and the correct operation of the safety valves is verified. “This procedure makes a lot of noise, so we need to notify the local authorities in order to minimize the disturbance to the surrounding area,” says Petersen. If any safety valves are to be reconditioned, the supplier of the valves must be approved for this work.

Once everything is in order, the valves are marked with inspection seals bearing the inspector’s number. Finally, Petersen will write his inspection report and discuss the results with the customer.

“This job calls for 100 percent honesty, even if the customer doesn’t always like to hear it,” Petersen notes with a smile. “Everyone wants to save money, but ensuring top-notch condition of industrial boilers is not only critical for safety, but it is also essential for the long-term financial benefit of the company. Ultimately, this is something everyone can understand.”

Page created: 20 Apr 2015