It was a “souper” Thursday at Encorus!

It was a “souper” Thursday at Encorus!

Every year at Encorus, we have a soup and chili cookoff at our Springville and Buffalo offices.  This year at the Springville office, Doug Acquard defended his title and gets to hold on to the coveted Golden Ladle trophy for another year.  In Buffalo, Jeremy Lake was able to overthrow incumbent Mike O’Neill.  A good time was had by all, and no one went away hungry!

Doug Acquard won the 2019 Soup and Chili Cookoff at the Springville Office

Doug Acquard, 2019 Springville Office Soup & Chili Cookoff Winner

Jeremy Lake Won the Buffalo Office Soup & Chili Cookoff

Jeremy Lake, 2019 Buffalo Office Soup & Chili Cookoff Winner

People wait to sample the selection of soups and chili at the Springville office.

People wait to sample the selection of soups and chili at the Springville office.

Encorus Group's Springville office enjoys the 2019 Soup and Chili Cookoff

Encorus Group’s Springville office enjoys the 2019 Soup and Chili Cookoff

 

Fun Fact Friday: Life Safety Code Evaluations and Assessments

Fun Fact Friday: Life Safety Code Evaluations and Assessments

We hear the term “life safety” often in the architectural and engineering world, but what does it mean to everyday people?

Life safety is all about protecting yourself and others through common sense and engineering design. That may seem like a broad subject to discuss, but think of it in terms of survival. Ask yourself this: if you and your family were at the beach and it said “shark infested waters”, would you go in the water? The same approach should be considered for buildings. The common sense part tells you if there is only one way out of a large building, don’t go in it.

Life safety codes and standards are the result of years of tragedy and disaster. Some may call them lessons learned, but historically, changes to how we design, build, and function in a building are the results of major events that have taken many lives. Even today, these types of tragedies occur simply because people aren’t aware of the hazards that exist in their surroundings.

Life safety impacts every type of structure including homes, office buildings, and industrial facilities. There are many aspects to life safety which most people do not understand, and that is the main reason we have codes and standards to provide us with the best and safest design.

Code evaluations are used in the design process to build or refurbish a building. The evaluation determines what the hazards are, what the fire severity risk is, and how to provide a safe environment should a fire occur. Factors that come in to play include:

• Heat and how fast it rises in temperature
• Smoke and how it travels
• Hazards of how fast they react to fire

Below are examples demonstrating how evaluations are applied:

1. A business with 200 employees requires a lot of space. First, the code looks at the classification of occupancy. From there, the size and shape of the building is considered. If the building is a single floor, exits must be provided so people have the choice of at least two directions to travel. The travel distance to an exit is also regulated, and is impacted by the fire severity factor. The higher that factor is, the faster the fire and smoke are assumed to travel. A business with a low severity factor can have travel distance up to 300 feet. In some cases with a high fire severity risk, the required maximum travel distance of 100 feet may require that more exits be installed in the building.

2. An industrial facility may have hazards which restrict the number of occupants and the travel distance. For example, a facility processing flammable liquids may be restricted to a travel distance of 50 feet, and require fire detection and suppression systems to be installed.

Life safety assessments are performed to ensure that the original design features still provide the level of protection designed for that building. Many times, a commercial building will change ownership and with the change, new hazards will be introduced. How will these changes impact life safety? Have new walls gone up that block an exit or extend the travel distance past the allowable limit? Anyone that owns a business should make it a point to assess their property every year. Sometimes the simplest things can have a major impact on life safety.

To make you think more about life safety in your home, here are some questions to consider:

1. How hot can the ceiling temperature in a living room get when a fire occurs?
A. 100° F
B. 600° F
C. 1500° F

2. How much time do you have to escape a house fire?
A. 17 minutes
B. 3 to 4 minutes
C. 30 minutes

3. Where can you safely store a can of gasoline?
A. In your basement
B. In your garage
C. In your he or she shed

4. How do you put of a kitchen stove top pan fire?
A. Throw water on it
B. Put a lid on the pan
C. Carry the pan outside

If you have any questions about life safety or require a life safety code evaluation or assessment, please contact Encorus Group’s Fire Protection Engineer John Allan at (716) 592-3980, ext. 127, or jallan@encorus.com.

The answers to the above questions are: 1. C, 2. B, 3. C, 4. B

Fun Fact Friday: Computed Radiography vs Traditional Radiography

Fun Fact Friday: Computed Radiography vs Traditional Radiography

Radiography is one of the several methods of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) offered by the skilled technicians at Encorus. There are two different methods of conducting a radiography test: computed radiography and traditional radiography. Computed radiography is the more modern of the two processes, and has several advantages over traditional radiography. To understand how computed radiography is better than traditional radiography, it is important to know how radiography works.

Radiographic testing (RT), commonly known as radiography, is a method of non-destructive examination which uses either x-rays or gamma rays to see inside the component or specimen, creating a hard copy image of the item. RT is used to inspect welds, machined parts, pipes, vessels and tanks, concrete, plate metal, and ceramics. Much like a medical x-ray or x-ray security screening at the airport, RT can reveal irregularities or defects within the object being examined without damaging it. A trained radiographer can locate a defect as well as identify its type, size and location based on subtle variations in the film density. Both computed and traditional radiography use X-rays and gamma rays; however, there are several differences in the procedures that follow.

According to DÜRR NDT, “in computed radiography, when imaging plates are exposed to X-rays, or gamma rays, the energy of the incoming radiation is stored in a special phosphor layer. A specialized machine known as a scanner is then used to read out the latent image from the plate by stimulating it with a very finely focused laser beam. When stimulated, the plate emits blue light with intensity proportional to the amount of radiation received during the exposure. The light is then detected by a highly sensitive analog device known as a photomultiplier (PMT) and converted to a digital signal using an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The generated digital X-ray image can then be viewed on a computer monitor and evaluated. After an image plate is read, it is erased by a high-intensity light source and can immediately be re-used. Imaging plates can typically be used 1000 times or more depending on the application”.

The main advantages of computed radiography are that the imaging plates are reusable, no darkroom or chemicals are needed, the time required for exposure and processing of the image is reduced, digital information can be easily exchanged and archived, it presents a safer working environment for operators, and it is more environmentally friendly.

The computed radiography process is faster and more efficient, and presents a more environmentally friendly work atmosphere. Overall, computed radiography is the superior option when compared to traditional radiography. It offers a safer and more effective method to determining if a piece of material should be repaired or closely monitored. If you require computed radiography services or other NDE testing, please contact Jeremy Lake at (716) 592-3980 ext. 133, or jlake@encorus.com.

Fun Fact Friday: What Are API Certifications and Why Are They Important?

Fun Fact Friday: What Are API Certifications and Why Are They Important?

The American Petroleum Institute, or API for short, is a national trade association which represents all facets of the natural gas and oil industry. By providing standards, recommendations, and certifications, the API helps regulate the practices used in the industry and in the maintenance of the corresponding equipment. The certifications offered by the API are useful for verifying the knowledge and experience of both inspection personnel and technical personnel, ensuring that these professionals are aware of and performing in accordance with industry inspection codes. Included among these certifications are:

• API 1169 – Pipeline Construction Inspector
• API 510 – Pressure Vessel Inspector
• API 570 – Piping Inspector
• API 571 – Corrosion and Materials
• API 577 – Welding Inspection and Metallurgy
• API 580 – Risk Based Inspection
• API 653 – Aboveground Storage Tank Inspector
• API 936 – Refractory Personnel
• API QUPA – Qualification of UT Examiners (Phased Array)
• API QUSE – Qualification of UT Examiners (Sizing)
• API QUSEPA – Qualification of UT Examiners (Crack Sizing)
• API QUTE – Qualification of UT Examiners (Detection)
• API QUTETM – Qualification of UT Examiners (Thickness Measurement)
• API SIEE – Source Inspector – Electrical Equipment
• API SIFE – Source Inspector – Fixed Equipment
• API SIRE – Source Inspector – Rotating Equipment
• API TES – Tank Entry Supervisor

Choosing certified inspectors for your facilities and equipment can be vastly beneficial to ensuring a higher quality of inspection and to avoiding inaccurate evaluations and the consequences that could result. If an unqualified worker attempts to evaluate equipment, the resulting inaccuracy could cause significant financial harm or cause safety hazards for workers. API certifications hold employees to a high degree of knowledge and skill, as is to be expected from a widely respected trade association, allowing facility managers to rest assured that their facilities are being inspected by certified individuals able to provide a high standard of quality in their evaluations.

Encorus Group has several inspectors in our Mechanical Integrity Group with various API certifications, including API 510, API 570, and API 653.

If you have a need for API Inspections, please contact Director of Mechanical Integrity Services Keith Taylor at (716) 592-3980, ext. 143, or at ktaylor@encorus.com. For more information about our Mechanical Integrity Group, please visit https://www.encorus.com/mechanical-integrity-inspection/.

Fun Fact Friday: Non-Destructive Testing Methods for Steel Pipes

Fun Fact Friday: Non-Destructive Testing Methods for Steel Pipes

Non-destructive testing (NDT), also known as non-destructive examination (NDE), is an extremely useful tool for completing inspections without damaging the equipment being inspected. The purpose of these tests is to detect the location, size, shape, and development trend of internal or external defects. One of the types of equipment that benefits greatly from this kind of testing is steel pipe.

Depending on the variety of steel pipe, a variety of different NDT methods can prove useful.

Ultrasonic testing is one of the most popular methods for testing steel pipe. In this method of testing, ultra-high frequency sound is introduced into the part being inspected. If the sound hits any flaws or discontinuities, some of the sound will be reflected at a unique rate. By knowing the speed of the sound through the part and the time required for the sound to return to the sending unit, the flaw or discontinuity can be located.

Radiography, both film and computerized digital, is another popular testing method. Radiographic tests are performed by placing a test object between a source of penetrating radiation and a recording medium such as silver bromide film.

Magnetic Particle Testing is another method of testing, this method is performed by using one or more magnetic fields to locate discontinuities in the surface or near-surface of ferromagnetic materials. The magnetic fields used for testing can be applied by either permanent magnets or electromagnets, and are usually used in conjunction with very fine colored ferromagnetic particles, which are visibly drawn into discontinuities by the magnetic forces acting upon them.

Liquid Penetrant Testing, another popular method of testing, involves the application of a very low viscosity liquid to the surface of the part being tested. Due to the low viscosity of the fluid, it easily penetrates flaws and discontinuities in the pipe, and when the excess penetrant is removed and the penetrant trapped in the imperfections flows back out, and indication has been created that marks the location of the flaw or discontinuity.

Visual testing is frequently used as a method of evaluating imperfections. This method of testing can be performed using unenhanced vision, but also may be performed with the aid of optical instruments such as magnifying glasses, mirrors, boroscopes, charge-coupled devices, and/or computer-assisted viewing systems. Many forms of damage to steel pipes can be detected via visual testing inspections. This form of testing is also used in conjunction with most other forms of testing, as a visual evaluation occurs as a side effect of performing other tests.

If you need non-destructive testing services for steel pipe or other equipment, Encorus can provide the solutions you need. Contact our Director of NDE, Jim Handzlik, at 716.592.3980 ext. 148 or jhandzlik@encorus.com.