Material Matters: Disappearing Materials in Aging Plants | AIChE

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Material Matters: Disappearing Materials in Aging Plants

Material Matters

Replacing materials and equipment as they corrode or reach the end of their service life is one of the challenges of managing an aging plant. When a material or part is no longer available because the supplier discontinued the product line, was acquired by another company, or went out of business, it can be difficult to find another source or suitable replacement.

Much of the equipment built in the 1950s and 1960s, and even some built more recently, includes components produced by manufacturers that are no longer active. “If there are any questions around the documentation made by a supplier that is out of business, finding answers can be a real challenge,” explains Lars Rose, a materials engineer at DuPont Engineering Research and Technology (DuET) and Manufacturing Technology who presented information on this problem at the 2015 Managing Aging Plants Conference in Düsseldorf, Germany. “Even one-to-one replacements are impossible if the supplier has disappeared. The same is true if the alloy is no longer available such as, for example, the A-212 FBX, A-300-58, and Fe52-2KP alloy types.”

Materials sometimes vanish from the market because failure mechanisms are discovered that disqualify them for certain applications. Previously unknown failure mechanisms, such as cracking during specialized operation, localized deformation at...

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