Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI) is one of the most well-known problems many industries face, yet it still makes up a large proportion of their maintenance expenditures.
CUI is a subject that is well-researched and understood, yet the issue persists. Extensive studies are done on CUI to determine the causes, effects, prevention, mitigation and repair of CUI. So let’s ask – what is the best approach to combat it? And, what is the most efficient route to take once it’s time for those inevitable repairs?
Well to answer these questions, first let’s take a look at the basics of CUI.
What is CUI?
In the simplest of terms, corrosion under insulation (CUI) is any type of corrosion that occurs due to a moisture buildup on the external surface of insulated equipment. The damage caused can stem from one or multiple factors. And it can occur in equipment operating at ambient, low, and heated temperatures, in both wet or dry environments.
Different types of corrosion are possible depending on the conditions and the material itself. The corrosion can fall under terms known as galvanic, chloride, acidic, or alkaline corrosion. Moreover, CUI can occur in equipment that is in service, out of service, or in cyclic service.
So understanding that, you can see why CUI is one of the most difficult processes to prevent.
The reason for that is, no matter the precautions taken, water will tend to seep into the insulation and begin its dirty work. This is sometimes unseen until process leakage occurs. Add in variable temperatures, environmental conditions, and the make up of the metal itself, and these factors can create a breeding ground for CUI.
If undetected, the results of CUI can be devastating. It can lead to the shutdown of a process unit, an entire facility, and in rare cases a safety incident.
Sub-par outcomes can also result from hiring contractors who don’t stand behind their work. Therefore, partnering with a provider who offers a service guarantee is incredibly important. This will serve as an incentive for providers to use the best technology, and also to send the most highly skilled technicians to ensure work is done correctly the first time.
And, if these technicians happen to make an honest mistake, the guarantee means they’ll provide leak repair re-injection services at no additional cost.
How Do You Find Corrosion Under Insulation?
The most common standard practice in today’s industry is for the scheduled stripping and removal of the insulation, performing a visual assessment, and then combined with non-destructive evaluation(NDE) methods, they determine the presence and extent of corrosion.
There are a wide variety of techniques to test for CUI from Eddy Current to X-ray – Remote TV monitoring is an option and even using Electro-magnetic devices.
So, what’s Innovator’s approach to tackling CUI?
What’s great about Innovator’s method is that it eliminates the “guess work” when it comes to identifying CUI. We achieve this by using a screening tool to detect wall loss through the insulation. We can then identify CUI without the need to remove insulation.
The technology behind Innovator’s CUI bracelet is an electromagnetic method of non-destructive testing(NDT) known as Remote Field Testing (NDT).
The bracelet clamps around the pipe (insulation) and is hand guided by a technician at a speed of 2”/ sec. Each scan covers a 9” section at a depth of up to 3” of insulation, using multiple runs on larger diameter pipe. The bracelet also has the capability to extend out to a flat position for scanning large diameter vessels and flat surfaces.
How Much Can CUI Cost Me?
Well, that depends… According to NACE International, an industry authority for corrosion control solutions, they estimate the yearly global expenditure on corrosion to be 2.5 trillion dollars US.
That may sound like a lot, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. On top of the global expenditure, there are countless man-hours lost, safety incidents, and shut downs all stemming from corrosion.
But that’s where we come in. A rough estimate of our cost effectiveness ratio as compared to the industry standard method would be 90%/10%. What that means is we can finish the job 90% faster, for just 10% of the cost. We can achieve this efficiency all while maintaining the highest of safety standards.
Partner With Innovator for CUI
We merge cutting edge technology with the proven Innovator method, and are the leading experts on the detection and repair of CUI. Also, with on-staff certified rope access technicians, we can handle the process from start to finish. This is regardless of location. Learn how you can detect your CUI easier by contacting us below.