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Aging Relief Systems — Are they Working Properly?

By Sebastiano Giardinella Inelectra S.A.C.A. |

Relief systems are the last line of defense for chemical process facilities. Verifying their capability to safeguard equipment integrity becomes important as process plants age, increase their capacities to adjust to new market requirements, undergo revamps or face new environmental regulations. In the past, approximately 30% of the chemical process industries’ (CPI) losses could be attributed, at least in part, to deficient relief systems [1]. Furthermore, in an audit performed by an independent firm at more than 250 operating units in the U.S., it was determined that more than 40% of the pieces of equipment had at least one relief-system-related deficiency [2]. These indicators underscore the importance of checking the plant relief systems. This article presents the most common types of relief system problems with their possible solutions and offers basic guidelines to maintain problem-free relief systems. Common problems in existing relief systems Problems and their causes Relief system problems or deficiencies can be identified, with respect to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Admin. (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.119, as items that do not comply with “recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices”…
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