Meet the MI Team – Nick Zwara

Meet the MI Team – Nick Zwara

Nick Zwara is a Mechanical Integrity Project Manager with a background in API pressure vessel, process piping, and storage tank inspections. His certifications include API 510 – Pressure Vessel Inspector, API 570 – Process Piping Inspector, API 653 – Storage Tank Inspector, and Steel Tank Institute – SP001 Certified Inspector. In his nearly ten years of experience in the field, Nick has served as project manager, customer point of contact, and lead API inspector for mechanical integrity inspections at SBHPP – Durez Canada, Praxair, and more.

Meet the MI Team – Pat Camillo

Meet the MI Team – Pat Camillo

Pasquale (Pat) Camillo is a Mechanical Integrity Project Manager for Encorus. He started his career as a drafter before moving into the mechanical integrity field, and now has a background in API and NACE inspections, as well as the evaluation of pressure vessels, process piping, and storage tanks.  Pat’s certifications include API 510 – Pressure Vessel Inspector, API 570 – Process Piping Inspector, API 653 – Storage Tank Inspector, Steel Tank Institute Certified Inspector, NACE CIP Level II Certified Inspector, and PA DEP Certified Storage Tank Inspector.  He is a Level II qualified technician Ultrasonic Testing, Liquid Penetrant Testing and Visual Testing. Mr. Camillo and the Encorus Team have recently used Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for utility location at the West Valley Demonstration Project site and the Grand Island Wastewater Treatment Facility, performed API-570 Piping Analysis for a local client, and is the lead Mechanical Integrity Project Manager for Encorus Group’s work with Repsol Oil and Gas.  Call Pat at 716.592.3980, ext. 141 to find out how Encorus can find better solutions to your toughest problems.







Fun Facts About a Dry Subject: Determining Optimal Moisture Content in Soil

Fun Facts About a Dry Subject: Determining Optimal Moisture Content in Soil

DID YOU KNOW? #funfactfriday
Fun Facts About a Dry Subject: Determining Optimal Moisture Content in Soil

The Fun Fact Friday post for this week will concentrate on one of the services offered by our Civil Materials Testing Group, Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Modified Effort.

This standard laboratory test is referred to as a Proctor test (named after its creator, Ralph R. Proctor) and was developed to evaluate a soil’s moisture density relationship under a specified compaction effort. The test includes dropping a rammer onto the layers of soil to produce a level of compaction that will determine its correlation between the molding water content and dry unit weight of the soil.

A soil sample that has a specific molding water content, which is the amount of water in the soil after it has been subject to compaction, is separated into five layers and then placed in a single mold. Each layer of the soil is packed down by a rammer with a total compactive value of 56,000 ft-lbf-ft3. This compactive effort removes the water from the soil sample. The dry soil is then weighed, and the results become the dry unit weight.

This procedure of determining the dry unit weight is repeated with a number of soil samples from the same location to determine the relationship between the molding water content and the dry unit weight. The results from these tests are plotted to form a curve, known as the compaction curve.

An approximate visualization of optimum soil moisture can be found by squeezing soil into a lump that will stick together, yet break cleanly into two sections when “bent”.

The compaction process is important when soil is to be used as engineering fill. Proper compaction is necessary for the soil to maintain acceptable engineering properties such as shear strength, compressibility, and permeability when used for foundations, embankments, or bases. Compacting soil increases load capacity and stability, prevents settlement of the soils or damage from front, and reduces water seepage, expansion, and heaving. If compaction is not performed properly, failure of the pavement or structure may eventually occur.

The dry unit weight number that is obtained from this method of testing is used to conduct In – Place Density Testing by Nuclear Methods, which will be the topic of the next Fun Fact Friday post.

If you are in need of Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Modified Effort services, contact Civil Laboratory Supervisor Jeremy Lake at or (716) 592-3980 x133.



Fun Fact Friday: Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys

DID YOU KNOW? #funfactfriday

Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys

This week, our Fun Fact Friday post will focus on Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys. The purpose of these surveys is to determine where improvements need to be made to increase energy efficiency.

Large buildings transfer heat throughout the facility using a steam transport system. This steam can be used for any task that may require the use of heat, such as heating the building through radiators and making hot water. Steam is made by heating water to its boiling point. It is then transported from the boiler through pipes to other areas of the building. As the steam is transported through the pipes, some of it cools and condenses into water. Small devices that open when they sense water, called steam traps, are utilized to remove the condensate water from the pipes to keep the system running effectively.

Hundreds of steam traps could be present in a steam transport system for a large building. Occasionally, the steam traps malfunction and do not remove the condensate from the system. This occurs when the steam traps do not sense the return of steam and fail to close, losing the steam produced to the condensation collection system.

The same loss of energy can stem from poorly insulated piping. When a building has poorly insulated piping, it requires an increased production of steam to heat the building as compared to the amount of steam it would take if the pipes were properly insulated.

Both malfunctioning steam traps and poorly insulated piping cause the system to lose heat. This situation also leads to a loss of money. Energy is purchased and used to heat the boiler, which then produces steam to heat the building. When a building needs more heat, the boiler has to produce more steam, which means that it needs more energy to heat the water. This can become an issue in the colder months, when heat is necessary to keep other pipes from freezing. If the problem with either the steam traps or piping insulation can be identified and fixed, the facility can reduce its steam consumption, thus reducing overall energy costs.

Encorus Group offers inspection services for steam traps and piping insulation, as well as energy efficiency studies. Encorus recently performed steam trap and insulation surveys at the Buffalo and Batavia VA Medical Centers to determine the amount of steam which was being wasted, and then prepared an energy efficiency study to show how much money could be saved if the issues were corrected.

Are you in need of Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys? Contact Director of Mechanical Integrity Keith Taylor by phone at (716) 592-3980 ext 143, or via email at

Tune in next Friday for more fun facts about Encorus Group’s wide variety of services!

Fun Fact Friday: Liquid Penetrant Testing

DID YOU KNOW? #funfactfriday

Liquid Penetrant Testing

This week’s Fun Fact Friday will focus on Liquid Penetrant Testing (LPT) and Examination, one of the Non-Destructive Examination (NDE) inspection services that Encorus Group offers. LPT is used to detect discontinuities that are on the surface of ferromagnetic (materials that are attracted to magnets) or non-ferromagnetic materials. This type of testing is one of the most widely used NDE inspection methods in the construction industry and any other situation where the surface of materials could be subject to discontinuities.

The Liquid Penetration Inspection process involves six main steps:

  1. Pre-cleaning­ – Any dirt, paint, oil, or loose scale must be removed from the surface of the material
  2. Application of penetrant – Liquid penetrant is applied to the part of the material being tested
  3. Excess penetrant removal – Any excess penetrant is removed from the surface of the part
  4. Application of developer – White developer is applied to the material being tested
  5. Inspection – Visible light with adequate intensity is used for the visible dye penetrant inspection
  6. Post cleaning – After the inspection and recording of results, the material surface should be cleaned

If you have a project that needs Liquid Penetrant Testing and Examination services, contact Director of Civil Materials Testing and NDT James Handzlik at or (716) 592-3980 ext 148.

Look out for more fun facts about Encorus Group next Friday!