Put Pipeline Failures Behind You

Reliability professionals should apply parallel reasoning and not stand idly by while the uninformed take inappropriate risks.

By Heinz P. Bloch P.E., Process Machinery Consulting, for our sister publication Plant Services

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This article will convey the essence of two-part failure analyses that have been used for a number of decades with great success. Originally devised for machinery, the two-part analyses apply equally to pipeline issues. This will be confirmed when the dust settles or, to be more exact, when the flow slows to a trickle.

Failure analysis step no. 1: The “Seven Root Cause Category” approach

The first of the two failure-analysis steps is called the “Seven Root Cause Category Examination.” It accepts the premise that all equipment or hardware failures fall into one or more of only seven possible cause categories.

   1. design errors
   2. material defects
   3. fabrication and processing errors
   4. assembly and installation deficiencies
   5. maintenance-related or procedural errors
   6. unintended operating conditions
   7. operator error.


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