Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) company Gamma Graphics Services (GGS) has expanded its service offering for Food and Beverage and Cold Storage facilities across the U.S. Changes to their on-site testing process were implemented to strengthen related Process Safety Management program adherence for ammonia refrigeration system owners.
In March of 2019, the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) published ANSI/IIAR Standard 6-2019 which defines minimum requirements for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of closed-circuit ammonia refrigeration systems. Jim Kovarik, vice president NDT Technology, GGS, was a member of the Standard’s subcommittee: “With the inclusion of testing in the Standard, and the increased focus on our customers under the National Compliance Initiative (NCI), it was important that we examined how well our services were helping our customers meet rigorous requirements.”
Many companies in the refrigeration industry are in the testing adoption phase and may not have accommodations in their budget. The new pressure placed on system owners motivated GGS to look for opportunities to adapt their deliverable and change their pricing structure to offer a more economical option.
“The goal was to maximize efficiency and data output to help support as many tasks as we could. These system owners have a long list of responsibilities,” explains Kovarik. GGS worked closely with a select group of customers and mechanical contractors to trial modifications to their process that are now part of their standard service offering.
GGS now deploys two-man technician teams to each customer site. As a result, they have increased their run rate and consistently test an unprecedented 200+ locations on a system in a single day.
The speed of data collection is also due in part to the NDT technology they employ, Radiometric Profiling (RP), which is capable of scanning piping to test the contents without cutting holes in jacketing or insulation.
RP technology is applied with the LIXI Profiler. Though it uses a radioisotope, Radiometric Profiling is not classified as Industrial Radiography and does not present the radiation exposure risk found with typical Radiography technologies.
In addition to collecting and reporting on necessary metrics such as:
- pipe wall thickness
- corrosion and
- wet insulation,
- the LIXI Profiler can read pipe size and schedule of insulated and bare piping.
GGS compares this data to code requirements and facility P&ID’s. Their reporting highlights areas where the components installed are not suitable for the process application, and provides information necessary for customers to confirm and/or correct labeling in their documentation or in the field.
Failure to accurately document process safety information ranks as #5 of the top PSM violations issued by OSHA. GGS’s versatile capabilities help their customers avoid these fines, maintain mechanical integrity, and mitigate risk to reinforce stable PSM and RMP programs.