Five key takeaways from my presentation on PMI – an important tool for risk-based inspection

I recently presented at the Risk Based Inspection conference in India on why positive material identification (PMI) is so crucial to industry and what the advantages of portable solutions are. PMI is critical in ensuring plant safety, preventing catastrophic failures and complying with important specifications and regulations.

I wanted delegates to leave with five key messages, which can be applied anywhere in the world:

1. Assuring plant and product safety is vital

Plant safety during PMI testing is as important as ensuring that safety critical components are working properly and remain capable of performing their function.

Here are some examples of things that could lead to disasters involving loss of life and assets:

  • Refinery explosions
  • Stress corrosion cracking
  • FAC (Flow Accelerated Corrosion), especially in power or nuclear plants
  • Wrong grades of axle in wheel carriers
  • Wear and tear of critical components
  • Insufficient strength of welded joints
  • Magnetic filling material in anti-magnetic submarine

The most frequent cause for industrial accidents is the mechanical integrity or use of the wrong material, which is why investing in the right analyser and ensuring you have processes in place is vital. This is a job that can be done by Hitachi High-Tech PMI analysers, the PMI-MASTER Smart (OES) and X-MET8000 (XRF).


2. Investing in compliance is money well spent

You’ll want to be inspecting critical process components in order to comply with recommended practices like API578, relevant industry practices and local government safety regulations. For example, the average penalty handed out by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for inspection violations is $166,000. Also, your instruments should comply to international standards for safety and operations, which ensures compliance of inspection processes too. So, the price of not completing a PMI inspection programme is high even without the increased risk of catastrophic failure.


 3. Precision testing is achievable, even in the most demanding conditions

PMI inspection sometimes requires the testing of in-service components that are at high temperatures, such as pipes and reaction vessels.

 Not only do the environmental conditions present a challenge for both the user and the instrumentation, the alloys tested also often contain elements at trace levels (e.g. Si, Mn, P, S, Cr, N). So, your analyser needs to be able to be able to deliver high performance even in the harshest conditions. The X-MET for example, can be used to test hot samples up to 400°C, allowing users to carry out in-service testing, and minimising downtime


 4. Keep inspection costs down with the latest technology

Sometimes it pays to invest in the latest technology. Extending a plant’s downtime is costly so you will have pressure to get a large amount of testing completed in a short window. In this scenario, you need instruments that are reliable and accurate – you can count on, even in the most demanding environments to ensure you minimise your costs.  The inspection instruments also need to robust enough so they don’t get damaged during the inspection itself due to the environmental conditions. Our handheld analysers have

IP54 rating for dust and are splash water proof. We’ve also tested them to MIL-STD-810G for drop, vibration and shock.


5. Smart tools will speed up your processes

Using an online data management reporting tool can help boost your operational efficiency, both in the field or a production site. With Hitachi High-Tech’s ExTOPE Connect, you can get real-time access to results, manage a fleet of instruments from one centralised location, create reports and have unlimited free and safe data storage.

Hitachi High-Tech has over 45 years’ experience in providing high-tech analysis solutions to companies. This has meant that we have grown and evolved our offering in line with the changing needs of business.  Our instruments offer rapid, reliable material verification for the most demanding inspection applications, ensuring total compliance with total confidence.

Whatever the operation, whatever the environment, with Hitachi High-Tech's range of PMI analysers you'll get it right first time, every time. Find out more about our solutions for PMI Safety Inspection


Mahendra Nimkar is our Business Manager in India. Contact him to discuss how we can support your business.

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Date: 6 September 2019

Author: Mahendra Nimkar, Business Manager, Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science India

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