Lifetime Analysis of boilers

Tips & Advice

Almost all types of failure mechanisms can occur in a boiler. After operating a steam boiler for a long time, it is difficult to know what condition it is in. Inspecta Technology materials expert, Jan Storesund, give his best tips and advice.

Jan Storesund, Inspecta Technology
Jan Storesund, Inspecta Technology
- A steam boiler is made up of many different components, all of which are exposed to different loads and environments. Therefore, almost any type of damage can occur in a boiler. The pressure used and the local environment, design and materials all affect a boiler’s life span and failure can happen quickly, causing severe financial and safety problems for your company, said Jan Storesund, Inspecta Technology.

Lifetime Analysis provides much

Jan Storesund gives examples of several cases where lifetime analysis has provided answers to crucial questions about the condition of a boiler. For example, when you change its usage or upon conversion of the boiler to biomass / solid fuel.

- We can find out what the costs are for maintenance and reinvestment to keep a boiler in operation for another 10 years. We can advise on either how to keep a boiler in operation for 15 years without major reinvestments or if it is better to build a new one. A boiler’s designed lifespan might end but through an Inspecta lifetime analysis, we can calculate the real operational lifespan and point out the measures you need to do so that safe operation can be further extended.

A lifetime analysis must always be preceded by a careful examination of the status of the boiler. It provides a good basis for decisions on future inspection planning, maintenance and investment. In addition, it provides the knowledge of which components have flaws and what you need to fix for future safe operation and security.

So, what is a lifetime analysis?

The first stage is a situation analysis.

  • All available information such as design, operating history, injuries, accidents, results of inspection and tests are compiled.
  • The summary shows the failure mechanisms that can occur in the respective components.
  • Then you can decide how and to what extent the various components should be inspected and tested as well as the material and strength analyses that need to be done.
  • Lifetime analysis planned in detail.

The next step is to implement the planned non-destructive testing, laboratory testing and analysis.

  • The results determine the status of the components, compared to mint condition.
  • Once analysed, growth rates of damage that could occur under future operating conditions can be calculated.
  • Finally, we can determine what degree of damage or degeneration is acceptable, i.e. identify when at risk components need to be replaced.

This results in a final assessment of the remaining life of the boiler.

Jan Storesund advises

Consider on-going operation
Consider operational life at the design stage and before commissioning.

  • Make components accessible for non-destructive testing
  • Carry out so-called 0-measurements so that you have detailed measurements in the future for accurate comparison.
Use the analysis in your inspection and maintenance plans
Use the results of the reviews to update your lifetime analysis. They provide guidance over time concerning the boiler’s lifespan through better information on actual damage growth and, of course, test and analytical methods are constantly being developed by Inspecta to improve such guidance. 

- Lifetime Analysis is cost and time effective and valuable also in terms of sustainability. It can help you answer questions like how do we use our resources in the best way and how do we ensure that a boiler is in operation for as long as possible? said Jan Storesund.


Do you want to know more?
Please contact Jan Storesund, Senior Material Expert + 46 8 5011 3093.

Page created: 07 Oct 2014