Author Archives: bpc

Operations Update

By Manny Regateiro

April showers bring May flowers they say. Unfortunately, in many places it seems spring has stage fright and we’re going to straight to summer! Thanks to the entire staff for getting through a very hectic and unpredictable few months of weather.

We continue to develop and provide a level of service that sets us above others in our industry. But we still have additional tweaking needed to raise the bar. One of the largest impacts to customer service is transparency. Customers are wanting to be more involved in the inspection process and develop comprehensive risk programs. With this, a higher level of involvement by the customer is driving more information requests to the office. These requests encompass scheduling and follow through.

The JOL Scheduling Tool is a very powerful account/work flow management module, and many of you already use this very effectively. Please continue to use this tool more often. If you are not familiar or comfortable with this tool please let me know. Having the sites’ inspection dates entered in JOL allows our customers to feel included in their inspection processes and aids in their internal audit programs. Without this information we have to follow up with the entire field staff servicing the account, which is not very efficient.

We are also experimenting and looking for technology to expand and assist both our field staff and deliver a cleaner product to our customers. As technology advances so will BPC. If you have any ideas, please share them with us.

The summer promises to be a busy one. We appreciate everybody’s flexibility and efficiency to help BPC grow. Please be sure to check emails, voicemails, and JOL locations daily. As locations are added, being able to combine and work them into the trips will benefit everybody and show our customers why we are the best at what we do.

Have a great and safe rest of spring!

From the President

By Venus Newton

Overall, our first quarter of 2018 was good. We were recognized by JO as having the lowest percentage of jurisdictional overdues of any JO user for the entire quarter. Quite the feat considering that we brought on Georgia-Pacific in February.  The Georgia-Pacific transition went very smoothly, and we continue to provide extremely satisfactory jurisdictional inspection service to them.  Generally speaking, all of our customers are very happy with the level of service that we provide to them.

Competition is really heating up for all of our existing business and especially for new business.  Our ability to be competitive on all of our service lines depends entirely on how effective and efficient each of you are in the delivery of our services.  It is always a challenge to figure out how to meet our customers’ demanding needs while at the same time managing costs, but that is the challenge that comes with being part of BPC.  Our success as an organization depends solely on our ability to deliver the highest level of service to our customers at a competitive price.  When setting up your schedules you need to be constantly looking for that one more piece of work you can accomplish during your trip –  whether it be a short stop to knock out a Jurisdictional inspection of a heating boiler or air tank on the way to a large multi-acre manufacturing site or to group a number of Property or EB Risk Assessments into a single trip so that you get as much work done as possible when you are in the field.  All of this contributes to our long-term success and ability to win new business and retain the business we have.  We have been very successful with this approach for the CO2 initiative in Georgia, where we have 12 months to inspect 8,000 or so pressure vessels at as many locations.  Grouping them all together and bringing inspectors in from outside the state has allowed us to manage this mass of work very well so far.

As always, change continues to happen to us and all around us.  AXA Insurance announced that they will be acquiring XL later this year.  Great news for XL shareholders as they saw their XL shares jump about 60% or so in value.  However this acquisition will have very little, if any, impact on our relationship with XL or our business in general.

It is important that we continue to work closely together with the home office supporting the field and the field communicating their needs back to the home office.  We are all in this together and together we will continue to succeed in providing the very highest level of customer service to all our clients, big and small.

 

Deaerator Internal Inspection Intervals

by Anzar Hasan, Chief Inspector

As you know, the standard guidelines for internal inspection and NDT of the welds is every five years. However, the frequency of internal inspections and NDT should be increased based on the findings and extent of repairs. The following NB Bulletin provides the inspection guidelines based on the findings:

The guidelines to perform internal inspection and NDT of the welds originated from history of cracking and catastrophic failures of deaerators.

The following article is part of National Board Classic Series and was published in the National Board BULLETIN in 1988.

Introduction

Catastrophic failure of deaerator pressure vessel welds has included incidents that resulted in plant personnel fatalities. Failures originated as cracks caused by residual, thermal, static, and dynamic stresses, with growth of the cracks accelerated by corrosion fatigue. Weld deformities and hardened material in the heat-affected zone of welds further contributed to these failures. In some instances shell cracking has resulted in small leaks; in others, complete failure has occurred. In response to the life-taking and life-threatening failures reported in 1982 and 1983, technical advisories and guidelines were prepared outlining the necessity of internal weld inspection and recommending methods for inspection and repair. Advisory statements of this type were issued by TAPPI, the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE), and The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. TAPPI and NACE formed advisory groups to address the cracking problem. The TAPPI group is an ad hoc committee of the Steam and Power Committee. NACE established Task Group T-7H-7, Deaerator Cracking, to study and compile information on the subject. The summary of the TAPPI committee ‘s findings is presented here. 

Pressure vessel weld cracks 

A large number of deaerators have now been inspected.  Cracking has been more prevalent than first suspected, appearing in 30 – 50 percent of all industrial deaerators that have been inspected. Cracks have appeared in circumferential and longitudinal weld seams of both the heater and storage vessels. Circumferential seams are susceptible to cracking more than longitudinal seams, with the highest incidence occurring in the ‘T’ junction of the two seams. Cracks have also appeared randomly at different service nozzle welds affected by thermal expansion and thermal shock. 

Cracks are thought to be caused by residual stresses imposed during manufacture, along with thermal and dynamic shock and stress loads imposed during uneven deaerator operation. New evidence suggests that some cracks may originate in the area of pits caused by corrosion. Once cracks begin, they are stressed open during periods of operation, allowing iron oxide to collect on newly fractured surfaces, which causes corrosion fatigue. The slightly hardened heat-affected zone of the weld is where most cracks occur. Therein lies the whole problem corrosion and weld discontinuities followed by cracking and corrosion fatigue along the heat-affected zone of the welded joint. 

Inspection and repair 

Inspection and repair is the tool for the control of the growth of cracks. All deaerators, including those vessels designated as ASME constructed and those designated as non-ASME constructed, should be periodically inspected. Inspection, or the inspection supervision, should be conducted by a certified ASNT SNT-TC-1A Level II inspector. After a deaerator is first put into service, it should be inspected within one to two years. After that, the following frequency of inspectionsa was suggested at the NACE 1986 conference: 

  • REPAIRED CRACKS, 1 YEAR OR LESS
  • NONREPAIRED CRACKS, 1 – 2 YEARS
  • NO CRACKS/NO REPAIRS, 3 – 5 YEARS

Repaired vessels, at the same operating conditions, tend to recrack faster than the original vessel. Inspections therefore should be more frequent after repairs. 

 

 

Plus One

By Brandon Loveridge

During this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament we watched Villanova take the whole thing in a leisurely win over Michigan. Among many of the exciting plays during a basketball game is the “plus one”. This is when a player is fouled during a dunk or a layup and gets a free throw for the chance to score an additional point for his team.

We have the opportunity to do the same thing here at BPC. A “plus one” play for us is the ability to work in one (or more) additional inspections while on a road trip. We have picked up several new accounts recently that are perfectly suited to this strategy. McDonald’s, Pilot Travel Centers, Costco and Albertson’s are all accounts that have a large number of locations in relatively easy to access areas.  However these accounts are very competitively priced which means they need to be grouped with other inspections instead of spending eight hours to service one individually. With McDonald’s for instance, we are getting $300 per location. It costs us on average $125 per hour for an inspector to do an inspection. This includes wages, travel expense reimbursements, benefit allocations, and company overhead. So you can see that the McDonald’s account needs to be serviced in two hours or less.

So here is how a plus one play can help BPC come out ahead. Inspector A has three inspections in the next town over. Total scheduling, travel, inspection and report writing will be around 15 hours, or $1,875 in expense (15 hours at $125/hour). These three sites are priced at $600 each, for total revenue of $1,800. You can see this trip is upside down by $75. However, if Inspector A can work in two McDonald’s locations along the way at an additional two hours, now we are looking at $2,400 in revenue for 17 hours ($2,125) for a profit of $275.

We have seen several guys execute this play already and we really appreciate it! It makes a huge difference. You may not realize it, but with 40 guys in three regions, each person’s contribution makes a big impact on the company. Each person’s contribution times 40 is how we do for the month. Keep up the great work in the field, and remember your plus one inspection whenever you can. Those points will help us win the game!

We’re Number 1 for FIVE MONTHS in a Row!

Fifthmonthoverdues

We are very proud to announce that, for the FIFTH month in a row, we have maintained the top position for the lowest percentage of overdue objects of all of Jurisdiction Online’s users. This just illustrates how we continue to provide a level of customer service that is unmatched in the industry.

“My hat is off to our fantastic jurisdictional team that is dedicated to providing our customers with exceptional customer service,” said Venus Newton, president of BPC.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can meet your boiler inspection needs. 

A Record-setting 2017!

by Venus Newton

WOW! 2017 is behind us and what a record-setting year it was! Our accomplishments last year have set the stage for 2018 to be even better.  We have shown the marketplace that not only can we manage 1000’s of CO2 inspections in Georgia, but we can also handle complex accounts with black liquor recovery boilers as well.  (Something most of our competition can’t do.)

Everyone talks about customer service, but we at BPC don’t just talk about it – we deliver it.  Being acknowledged by JO as having the #1 spot for lowest percentage of overdues of all JO users two months in a row is clear, indisputable proof that we take customer service very seriously.  This is a tough spot to hold onto as everyone is gunning to knock us out of it, and our workload continues to grow and present its own challenges, but I’m confident that we will be able to stay at or near the top in 2018 as well.

We have the best team of conscientious professionals in the business.  You are capable of not only handling large complex risks, but also smaller organizational intensive accounts.  We have built a team that is getting noticed and will continue to get noticed for the right reasons.  I am proud to be part of this team, and each and every one of you should be as well.  Awesome job!

Tax Changes You Need to Know

By Brandon Loveridge

2018 is off to a fast start. BPC is coming off a record year in terms of number of accounts, employee headcount and inspections completed. This year should be a strong one for the economy also. Tax reform has lowered tax rates for both employers and individuals, which economists predict will increase the rate of GDP growth for the US economy. Here is a rundown of a few of the changes that will affect BPC employees – from both tax reform and the annual adjustments from the IRS.

  • Federal income tax rate for married taxpayers earning from $18K-$76K has decreased from 15% to 12%.
  • The rate for those earning $76K-$153K has decreased from 25% to 22%.
  • The child tax credit has increased from $1,000 to $2,000.
  • Interest is no longer deductible on home-equity loans.
  • Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will increase by 2%.
  • The earnings limit for workers who are younger than “full” retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will increase to $17,040. ($1 deducted from benefits for each $2 earned over $17,040.)
  • The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2018 will increase to $45,360. ($1 deducted from benefits for each $3 earned over $45,360 until the month the worker turns age 66.)
  • The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase to $128,400.
  • The annual 401(k) limit increases from $18,000 to $18,500. For savers over 50, the limit is $24,500.
  • The 2018 annual contribution limit that individuals with single medical coverage can contribute to a health saving account is $3,450, an increase of $50 from 2017. The annual HSA contribution limit is $6,900 for those covered under qualifying family medical plans (up from $6,750 in 2017). But if you’re 55 or older in 2018, you can contribute an additional $1,000, or total of $4,450 to an HSA for singles and $7,900 for families per year.
  • The Flexible Savings Account limit will increase from $2,600 to $2,650.

With all the changes going into effect, you may find it worthwhile to consult with a CPA or Certified Financial Planner if you have not yet retained one. To find a licensed professional in your area, go to

www.aicpa.org/forthepublic/findacpa.html

or

http://ow.ly/wMC130inA5f

 

 

Shaft Alignment for Rotating Machinery

By Anzar Hasan
Chief Inspector

Failure to properly align shafts results in premature failure of bearings, bearing seals, couplings, and shafts that, in turn, may lead to catastrophic machine failures and process or plant shutdown resulting in a combination of property damage and loss of business. Industry sources estimate that 50 to 70%of rotating machinery failures can be attributed directly to shaft misalignment. When a driver like an electric motor or a turbine is coupled to a pump, generator, kiln drive, blowers or any other piece of equipment, it is essential that the shafts of the two pieces are aligned. Any misalignment between the two increases the stress on the shafts and will almost certainly result in excessive wear and premature breakdown of the equipment.

Since machines are three dimensional, the misalignment of the shaft centerline is addressed by determining their projected position with respect to horizontal and vertical planes. Each position has two parameters; parallel and angular. Therefore misalignment is expressed as vertical (parallel and angular) and horizontal (parallel and angular). Parallel alignment is also referred as “parallel offset”.

Methods of shaft alignment:
• Dial Indicator Methods: The most commonly used method for shaft alignment is the dial indicator method. This method is not 100% accurate, but is considered adequate for small machines. Often alignment brackets are utilized to support dial indicators. Sometimes the brackets are specially made for application.
• Laser Method. This system utilizes a laser beam source and laser beam target in the same module and uses a reflecting prism in the second module. This is a widely used and accurate method for alignments. There are commonly two types of laser beam alignment procedures – React System and Digilaser System.
• Optical Method: This requires careful set up and technique, but has the advantage that it can be used for initial alignment, determining hot alignment, and checking cold alignment offset.
• Electromechanical Spatial Resolution Method: The unique feature of this procedure is that neither shaft must be rotated in order to determine shaft position. The procedures utilized sensor and signals can be electronically nulled to a zero calibration point, which establishes an electronic straight line reference.
• Continuous Monitoring Method: Large equipment often utilizes a continuous shaft alignment monitoring system. This method utilizes unidirectional lasers mounted on the driver and the driven machine for continuous read outs. There are several configurations systems used – Permalign, Dynalign, Acculign and Indikon system that uses eddy current proximity probes.

During inspection of critical rotating equipment, it should be the practice to establish whether or not the plant has a scheduled shaft alignment program.

Looking Forward to Continued Growth!

By Manny Regateiro

BPC continues to steam roll along at a blistering pace. Operationally, our success has been through the combined efforts of field staff and support services. We have practiced our motto “the right people in the right places” by adding additional staff members in key areas. With our continued growth heading into 2018, many future enhancements to the overall process will be coordinated.

As a group we are doing a good job with JOL. Over the past two years BPC has evolved from never using the program to now owning the top spot for two consecutive months among insurance companies/inspection service providers for the least overdue inspections! This was a tall task given the climate of the industry and initial administrative cleanup we completed for our customers. Many of our customers had been with multiple insurance companies using JOL but never had a clean object inventory. Through everybody’s efforts in the field updating location data to the administrative development of policies in JOL, we can effectively provide our customers with accurate data of their objects and distribution preferences. We receive ongoing compliments relating to the engineers’ efforts to correct prior providers mistakes. Thank you for this continued attention to detail when entering inspections.

Please continue to use the scheduling tool in JOL. We have invested in this feature to help the overall account management process deliver a higher level of service and visibility to our customers. If you have any questions regarding the functionality, please contact your supervisor. Our customers are becoming more inquisitive as to the servicing of their facilities and the scheduling tool is invaluable in providing visit confirmation to the customer.

Our Regional Supervisors Tim, Tom, and Del continue to provide an abundant amount of field personnel development and overall support to the organization. They have been very active in creating processes to assist field inspectors, represent BPC/XL at industry events, and provide feedback from all of you in the field. The information is put into practice quickly and has helped in deciding which resources are implemented. Many thanks for their efforts over last year’s busy holiday season.

Be safe out there as winter has its last few moments. If there is anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to contact the office.