Many companies provide RBI (Risk-Based Inspection) software. Most claim to be compliant with API RP (Recommended Practice) 580; a few claim to comply with API RP 581. E2G|The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.’s software is the only API-branded RBI software product because we are committed to fully supporting the RBI technology as documented in API RP 581.
API RP 580 is a Risk-Based Inspection document that identifies the basic elements for developing, implementing, and maintaining an RBI program. API RP 581 documents a quantitative approach to implementing RBI. Its methodology involves a rigorous quantitative assessment of the PoF (Probability of Failure) and the CoF (Consequence of Failure) associated with each equipment item in a particular process unit.
Results of a qualitative RBI analysis are heavily dependent on the team and their expertise in performing the analysis. Most results tend to be too generic to accurately define an auditable inspection/maintenance plan. Because it is largely opinion-based, accuracy and consistency between qualitative RBI analysis studies is unlikely due to varying skillsets over time; therefore, qualitative results are not easily repeatable or maintainable.
API 581 for RBI is a quantitative approach that produces the PoF, CoF, and risk numbers based on data collection and sound technology. API 581 is a detailed document of all recommended procedures, tables, and calculation methods required to perform the quantitative RBI analysis. The results are data driven, so they are repeatable and maintainable independent of the RBI team skillset.
Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is no. The data needed for quantitative RBI is data that operators are already required to have for their equipment. Further, it is data an expert would need to refer to in order to implement the qualitative method. The quantitative method then offers advantages in evergreening since the data changes are fully auditable. It is much easier to determine why RBI results have changed using the quantitative method versus questioning how an expert made decisions several years before.
Some companies have created hybrid qualitative/quantitative RBI methods based on API RP 580. API RP 581 is the only methodology that is documented and endorsed by the industry committee. Other methods do not have the committee consensus to support their approach; therefore, customers that do not have the resources to assess the validity of these methodologies should beware. Other claims of 581-compliance should be regarded skeptically. API RP 581 2nd Edition was published in 2008. Since then, the 581 committee has approved numerous significant changes to the technology, including the correction of errors contained in the 2nd Edition. These changes will be incorporated into the 3rd Edition of API RP 581. E2G’s API RBI software has been incorporating these changes and improvements into our software as the committee approves them. Our RBI experts have been leaders on the 581 committee since its inception, and we continue to support the committee with advanced research and analysis of new methods to incorporate into the 581 document.
API RBI technology uses a true risk-based interval. The methodology offers the option to set a maximum interval (in practice, 20 to 25 years) and recommends re-evaluation of the RBI study at a minimum of every 10 years (less if operating conditions change).
The decision logic generating a recommended inspection is not limited by or based on half-life calculations or prescriptive interval approaches. Credit is earned for knowledge and capitalized on in the risk analysis.
The impact of this approach is MORE emphasis on high-risk equipment (increasing inspection costs) and LESS emphasis on low risk equipment (decreasing inspection costs). The net result is usually a reduction of overall costs while reducing risk.
API RBI is delivered on the PlantManager™ platform.
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