CUI, or how small solutions can solve big problems

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CUI 1CUI is nothing new. It's been documented since 1957 when ASTM published: "Stress Corrosion Cracking of Insulated Austenitic Stainless Steel"

Also a lot is being written about the costs. ExxonMobile for example globally spends $ 30 million on CUI inspections which is 30% of their maintenance budget. And in the U.S.A. direct cost for corrosion in 2001 already were estimated at $ 276 billion. In the Netherlands costs are estimated around 4% GNP which equals € 17,5 billion and about 10% of the total maintenance budget.

Further to this, established authorities like NACE, EFC and CINI have published standards, guidelines and best practices on CUI. Reading this an outsider would easily conclude that nowadays CUI is no big problem anymore, but appearances can be deceiving and the truth is that today in many (petro)chemical industries CUI still is best described as a "minefield".

CUI 2And CUI still is the cause of major leaks that lead to health and safety incidents and loss of production.

Thinking Solutions...

...is not only Temati's slogan for almost a decade, but also a standard way of doing business. When it comes to mitigate CUI, Temati has a range of products that best can be compared with a paperclip. Simple but very effective.

CUI cannot only be solved by engineering the right material and coating for piping and equipment. Designing a "fit for purpose" insulation system is equally important. History learned that water or moisture ingress can't be 100% avoided. So choosing a system which prevents moisture accumulations that can also easily be inspected, has proved to be the most viable solution.

PMU Drainplug

In the long run, water and moisture will get in. Whether it's minor like through a protrusion in the cladding or more drastic due to foot traffic. Talk with any practical experienced person in the field and he will agree with you. And a simple drain hole at the bottom of cladding simply isn't enough. The special designed shape of the PMU Drainplug allows moisture and water from deep within the mineral wool insulation core to evaporate. It's tested and approved by e.g. Norwegian Hydro Statoil and Dutch NUON.

CUI 3Protectem* FlangebeltTM

Again a perfect example from daily practice. There's a big risk gaskets eventually will leak and therefore for many asset owners a reason not to insulate flanges; from a heat-loss point of view not a desirable choice. A stainless steel Protectem* FlangebeltTM with a leak-pipe not only ensures that moisture from leakages can't ingress into insulation and cause CUI. It also acts as Leak Detection and in some cases even as a Sprayshield. Many companies like Shell, ExxonMobil, DOW, and BASF are using Flangebelts and have adapted them into their best practices.

VIP Vessel inspection Plug

Despite all kinds of Non Destructive Examinations (NDE), visual inspections have proven to be the only reliable inspection technique. A weather tight, easy to install plug, placed on spots were CUI can be inspected, enables easy access to monitor the substrate under the insulation and also check the insulation condition. The VIP plug is standardized and globally specified. It is being approved by many worldwide leading clients.

CUI 4Summarize

For the bigger part CUI is an organisation problem. Huge budgets are invested in expensive coating and insulation techniques. Whistle RBI studies show even these techniques are subject to some level of inspection and maintenance. Temati solutions are cost effective and easy to implement. Or to put in another way: they are small solutions for a big problem.

insulated pipes