Refinery inspection supported by hired instruments


KTN Belgium NV was recently awarded a contract to inspect 35,000 pipe, reactor and vessel locations at an oil refinery near Antwerp. The work involved the assessment of wall thickness, flaws and corrosion during a three-week shutdown at the plant.

“We have our own inspection equipment, but it was necessary for us to rent additional equipment for such a large contract,” said KTN Operations Manager Alexis Paternottre. “In total, we hired 20 portable ultrasonic inspection instruments from Ashtead Technology, which included the GE USM Go and the Olympus 38DL. All of the instruments were delivered on time and in perfect condition, which was vital to the success of the project,” he added.

Founded in 2015, KTN is a fast-growing specialised service provider of advanced non-destructive testing (NDT) and conventional NDT (MT, PT, UT, VT and RT), as well as other inspection services for the oil, gas and construction sectors.

Small, lightweight and water-, dust- and shock-proof, the USM Go combines a thickness gauge and a flaw detector in a single instrument that is able to run for  up to six hours on internal batteries. The 38DL is also a portable lightweight instrument offering a wide thickness range in addition to velocity and time-of-flight measurements, storing up to 10,000 reviewable readings in the on-board data logger.

KTN employed a total of 35 people to conduct the work, which included the use of sub-contractors. Each of the inspection points was carefully chosen and documented, so that a repeat inspection could be undertaken in two years’ time. In addition to the measurements, imagery and the measurement method were recorded for every inspection point. The data collection and the reporting capability of the instruments was therefore very important. Following initial inspection, many of the pipes had to be scraped to remove corrosion and, in some cases, replaced completely. All such locations were subsequently retested.

Summarising the advantages of partnering with Ashtead Technology, Alexis said: “In order to complete such a large project in such a short period of time, the quality, reliability and availability of the inspection instruments were crucial and we were therefore delighted to be able to utilise Ashtead Technology’s impressive resources.”

Commenting on the success of the project, Ashtead’s NDT Market Manager Steve Drake said: “This highlights the advantages of outsourcing instrument supply to Ashtead Technology. For such a high-value asset, it is crucially important that inspection work is completed on time and we are delighted that we were able to help make that happen.

“By renting from Ashtead, KTN was able to ensure that the latest technology was employed to deliver the highest quality inspections and by renting the equipment it was also able to minimise costs,” concluded Steve.