Monthly Archives: July 2016

Large Loss Avoided Through Hydraulic Press Inspection

By Anzar Hasan, chief inspector

Hydraulic presses are commonly used for forging, clinching, moulding, blanking, punching, deep drawing and metal forming operations. There are different types of such presses depending on the application and a broad spectrum of capacity ranges beginning from small presses to several thousand tons of compressive force.

At a recent inspection visit by a BPC Risk Assessment Engineer at a steel plant which manufactures steel balls for ball and sag mills, he made some serious discoveries.

The mill was shut down due to business reasons. There were two hydraulic presses of about 350 tons capacity that were idle but appeared in good condition on visual inspection. Due to changes in plant personnel, not much information was initially provided on the condition of the presses. Also, there was no nameplate on either of the presses. Although the estimated replacement value of the presses was around $500K each, the BI could exceed $1.0M. It was important to probe into the maintenance and testing of the presses. On consistent request, the following was discovered:

One press was built in the UK in 1952. The other press was built in Russia around 1950. The UK built press had severe cracks in the bed, of which some were so large that the maintenance foreman stated they were visible by naked eye. One of the cracks had progressively extended almost around the circumference in December 2014 and was repaired by welding. (Please note that cast iron cannot be welded for safe operation.)

The Russian press had severe oil leaks from the seals. The seals were replaced but the leakage continued to the extent that the oil was collected in a container when the press was in operation and put back into the reservoir of the press. It was reported that the bed of the crack was distorted (concave formation) and could not be repaired.

Both the presses had greatly exceeded their useful life and were not repairable. Additionally, the parts for the presses were no longer available. A major cracking/breaking of either press would have resulted in catastrophic failure and extended damage to adjacent located equipment as well as extended business loss for several months.  Both of the presses were continuously operated in the condition described.

At the closing conference, the recommendation to management was to take both presses out of service and replace. The national engineering manager stated that the capital budget for replacement of the presses had not been approved by corporate management for over two years.

Based on our findings, XLCatlin proceeded to suspend insurance on the presses before getting hit with a large loss. Two days later we received an email from the national engineering manager that corporate approved the budget for replacement of the presses and thanked us for the loss prevention and assistance provided by BPC.

It is critical to evaluate the operation, maintenance and testing of hydraulic presses irrespective of the size as the associated business loss could be very large.

The following are some areas that should be evaluated:

  • Non-destructive testing of stress areas of the presses. Highly stressed press parts can create stress risers. Loss experience demonstrates cracking frequently originates at the stress riser
  • Make it a practice to review NDT reports and complete repairs
  • Review spare components available at the plant or through manufacturer and suppliers
  • Pay close attention to presses that could be vintage and have exceeded their useful life indicative with outages, maintenance and repair history
  • Periodic oil sampling and spectrometric analysis
  • Alignment schedule of the presses.
  • Cast iron parts cannot be successfully weld repaired. It is sometimes possible to affect a temporary cold mechanical repair of cast iron. If any repairs are carried out involving welding or cold repairs, the repair procedures should be closely examined






From the President

By Venus Newton

When I consider what we’ve accomplished since the beginning of 2016, I’m amazed. Through the hard work and support of our entire team, we’ve been able to improve the way we do business.

I started 2016 with a vision of where I want BPC to go, and, in order to do that, I knew we’d have to make some changes. The great thing about those changes, though, is they ensure our long-term success. And the more successful BPC is, the more successful each and every one of us is.

In just six months we have added an eastern regional supervisor, moved exclusively to JO for inspection reporting, eliminated jurisdictional visit letters and moved toward JO for jurisdictional workload management, updated our employment agreements and moved to Paychex for time and expense entry/management.

And we managed to do all of that while handling the “feeding frenzy” brought about by Zurich’s unexpected exit from the mono-line boiler and machinery insurance business!

None of that would have been possible without your support, feedback and cooperation, so thank you.

Now that all the heavy lifting is done, we’re working hard to fine-tune the process and concentrate on providing our customers with the highest level of customer service available in the industry. All the tools we have implemented help us not only see what we have done, but also see clearly what is happening now and what will happen in the future.

This increased visibility allows us to better deploy our resources to meet customers’ needs and better anticipate them. Once we are all proficient with JO we will be able to increase our travel efficiency by forecasting as far ahead as the jurisdictions allow and then grouping our work together. Then, by initiating internal inspection scheduling, we have a better chance of influencing the schedule – thus meeting our needs while also exceeding the customer’s expectations.

I’m excited to be working with such a supportive team and am very pleased with our progress to date. Our future is very bright!

Thank you again for all your hard work and professionalism.