Inspection of the Future: Connected Integrity

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Andrew Mills
Vice President Integrity Management

Organisations operating assets across extractive, process and heavy industries are under pressure to safely maintain (and enhance) productivity while also trying to respond to demands and challenges of a changing world.

Inspections are critical to understanding the condition of operating assets. Historically, executing a physical inspection program involves sending inspectors to sites, but this can be costly and expose people to challenging and dangerous environments.  This challenge has been compounded by the global pandemic with travel restrictions and limited site access.

It is not always possible to fully understand the equipment condition through traditional inspection approaches due to limitations in access, tools and time. The volume of inspection data that needs to be stored, reviewed and interpreted to determine the integrity of the asset and make informed decisions is also challenge – a challenge that continues to exponentially change.

Without the right connected tools and expertise, many organisations fail to gain the full benefits of an effective inspection-driven integrity management programme.

Wood’s digital twin technology incorporates connected design, build and operate programmes, enabling clients to digitally integrate the design and operation of assets more effectively, safely and at reduced cost. By creating an effective digital twin of the asset, specifically its condition, we can apply the best inspection practices to improve efficiency in data gathering, storage and analysis while also dynamically connecting the data with real time operations. Streaming this data and generating live insights with our technology enables operators to maximise productivity, optimise maintenance and better manage risk.

Every operator has a different appetite for risk, regulatory requirements, program maturity and timetables for action.  These variables mean that a ‘one-size fits all’ tool is not the answer. To address this, Wood developed NEXUS Integrity Centre, an integrity management tool that creates a dynamic digital twin of a facilities’ physical condition.  Combining Wood’s intimate knowledge of industrial assets with our leading-edge digital capabilities, this sector and asset-agnostic tool combines live production, monitoring and inspection data, providing risk-based inspection (RBI) strategies to be developed which react to changing process conditions and updated inspection information.   This allows a prioritised list of assets requiring inspection, while also highlighting opportunities to extend inspection intervals and take advantage of the potential reduction in ongoing costs.

By implementing a NEXUS Integrity Centre digital twin of their pressure systems, an operator showed a 60% reduction in inspection time, increased inspection effectiveness and a 30% overall reduction in inspection OPEX.  This has been achieved by using a bespoke digital model that is continually updated with live process data and up-to-date inspection results captured through ourmobile data gathering tools.

Wood’s integrity teams are continually working with our partners and clients to create solutions that allowing clients to safely manage their equipment and asset risks in the most cost-effective way possible.  These include technologies and approaches such as, but not limited to:

  • Augmented machine learning combined with our specialist operational experience
  • Drones and robotic for remote inspection
  • Adoption of true lifecycle costing approach
  • Machine vision to rapidly screen and classify inspection images and findings
  • Adoption of non-intrusive inspection (NII) processes
  • Developing refined models to allow multi-variant analysis of risks (including climate, financial and production)
  • Increasing the use of sensors to better understand process and equipment condition, augmenting or eliminating the need for inspections altogether

At Wood, we are on a quest to unlock solutions to the world’s most critical challenges. We believe our people and our actions transform challenges into solutions, and our curiosity keeps us pushing, innovating, making the impossible…possible.

Originally published in the World Expro magazine.

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