Pulling data not pushing paper
By: Alasdair Smith, Strategic Projects Manager, Oceaneering
Digitalisation and improved data capture can positively impact asset performance and efficiency in a number of ways. It can help confidently assure the condition of production equipment through streamlined inspection and maintenance programmes and also help assure safety and reduce risk for personnel.
Until now there has been little standardisation of non-destructive testing (NDT) application. The execution of inspection can vary between individual inspectors, organisations and by region. For example, at Oceaneering we found that in one organisation they had more than 20 different ways of recording ultrasonic inspection (UT).
Finding efficiencies in asset integrity
A typical oil and gas installation will have tens of thousands of inspection data points, generating a flood of information. However, indiscriminate collection of data does not automatically equal more efficiency. The process of converting this data into usable information, in order to enhance decisions and performance, is all too often found wanting.
Existing digital inspection solutions often amount to well-presented, but basic, electronic spreadsheets. As more and more processes become digitalised and automated, these tools cannot keep up with operator requirements for a more aggregated and integrated inspection management solution that builds consistency and accuracy for the future.
Digital tools for asset integrity
One pioneering example that is debunking this trend is Oceaneering’s new Inform Inspect™ platform, a non-destructive testing (NDT) and inspection management solution designed to help manage the full inspection life cycle.
The system was created by an in-house team, which initially looked to source a holistic NDT and inspection management paperless solution that would work globally. The team could not find one on the market that covered all the requirements that they knew, as inspectors themselves, were necessary to create a truly flexible, intuitive and integrated solution.
The team categorised the four methods of NDT: visual, ultrasonics, electromagnetics and radiography. These were split into individual deployment techniques and over the space of six months were added into a system that aligns with regional and operational requirements, whilst also providing consistency of reporting and methodology by applying a global standard for capturing data.
This has developed into a configurable process that enables users to customise reports, manage access, add preferences such as the prioritisation of inspection tasks and bespoke picklists, and also offers added rigor with options to approve, amend or reject inspections from the office in real-time, using information provided onsite.
The system helps inspectors prepare for their shift in advance of being on site, using quality pre-designed work packs that are ready to view on the recommended tablet. The system also contains information that helps accurately pinpoint inspection locations in order to process the inspections quicker. This, in turn, reduces time on site, providing a particular advantage to inspectors working in high risk or remote areas.
Results from Inform Inspect global trials include measurable safety improvements and an increase in productivity of up to 30%.
The future of asset integrity
Digital asset integrity systems such as Inform Inspect are changing the way in which integrity issues are identified and actioned. The system provides an enhanced level of accuracy by providing usable data from site to the office almost immediately. A far cry from illegible, rain damaged paper reports that can take weeks to get back to the beach and even longer before any remedial action is implemented.
There is no doubt that smarter, faster, digital applications can and will have a significant impact on predictive maintenance in the oil and gas industry. The trick is to ensure you use applications that do more than just simply collect data, and move to those which provide practical insight, better control and deliver true value to the in