WHAT IS RAPID ULTRASONIC GRIDDING

By: Publisher Team | Oct 05, 2020 17:14 PM
WHAT IS RAPID ULTRASONIC GRIDDING

Why You Should Understand Rapid Ultrasonic Gridding and It's Use on Industrial Plant Assets

RAPID ULTRASONIC GRIDDING, COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS RUG IN THE INDUSTRIAL INSPECTION REALM, IS THE PROCESS OF CREATING DATA-RICH VISUAL GRID MAPS THAT IDENTIFY AREAS WHERE CORROSION HAS CAUSED SIGNIFICANT WALL THINNING.

Manual Inspections: The Birthplace of Rapid Ultrasonic Gridding

The manual inspection process of industrial plant assets, such as piping, tanks, and vessels, has traditionally included several time-intensive steps:

  1. Grids are manually drawn and labeled on the asset
  2. Getting an inspector to the location of a grid
  3. Taking a single A-scan thickness measurement
  4. Recording the measurement for the particular grid
  5. Repeating the data collection and recording method for every grid on the asset

To execute this process, tens of thousands of dollars are spent on non-value add expenses like scaffolding and extended plant downtime. Post inspection, maintenance decisions were being made based on this type of data sampling methodology because capturing hundreds of thousands, or millions, of data points for complete coverage of the asset’s structural integrity would be realistically impossible. Because companies utilizing manual NDT inspections receive over 99% less data to derive their maintenance decisions, the time-intensive process also significantly reduces decision makers ability to act confidently with difficult asset maintenance prioritizations and decisions. This is especially relevant in the oil and gas industry, where Risk Based Inspection (RBI) confidence scores play a significant role in meeting API 580, API 581, and ASME PCC-3 requirements.

Millions of Data Points Make Rapid Ultrasonic Gridding (RUG) Possible


Gecko’s NDT inspection process uses robots to capture up to 176 readings per foot at maximum speeds of 60 feet per minute. The speed and data density delivers ultrasonic inspections with asset totals regularly exceeding 1,000,000 A-scan data points. However, capturing data is just the first step.

Through the use of a proprietary algorithm, Gecko has utilized Rapid Ultrasonic Gridding (RUG) to quickly geomap the Ultrasonic Testing A-scan measurements and arrange them in grids to visually display the UT data in 6” or 12” grids. In the interactive data portal, these grids are intuitively color-coded to easily see relative thin areas in the asset’s wall thickness. RUG makes it easy to identify areas where the thickness of the asset, and thus the structural integrity, requires immediate maintenance to remediate the problem before a loss-time incident occurs. The visual grids that define RUG, also commonly referred to as C-scan corrosion maps, demonstrate inspection results that are delivered to plant personnel in a variety of ways. 


Two-Dimensional (2D) Plan views of the RUG results provide the most efficient way to identify problem areas. Graphically overlaying the location of each grid on the tank, pipe, or pressure vessel surface allows plant maintenance personnel to quickly locate the problem area. Locating speed is vital during limited plant downtime. 


The other grid display method is 3D maps. 3D maps, and their ability to be quickly manipulated within Gecko’s proprietary data portal, provide a more holistic understanding of the industrial processes that are causing increased wear rates in certain areas. For example, RUG can quickly identify corrosion commonly identified at the fill line level in Above Ground Storage Tanks.


Lastly, data rich Excel spreadsheets are used to summarize the lowest wall thickness measurement in each grid. This functionality ensures easy consumption of the data in the widely used Microsoft program, as well as easy integration and comparison with prior inspection data.

Rapid Ultrasonic Gridding Can Prevent Significant Industrial Incidents

The importance of identifying presymptomatic wall thinning issues are significant after considering the risk of failure, the safety of personnel, and financial consequences such as regulatory fines and additional unplanned downtime. These types of incidents range in severity, but may include paper mill digester failures and refinery pipe ruptures. With the data backed confidence provided by an upwards of 99% increase in A-scan measurements when compared to manual methods, and visually consumable data summaries, unlocking Rapid Ultrasonic Gridding at industrial plants empowers plant personnel to make the right plant asset maintenance decisions with enough data to elicit senior level approval.

Source:https://blog.geckorobotics.com/what-is-rapid-ultrasonic-gridding


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