Many large-scale industrial processes require scheduled maintenance and repairs which are costly and can often be dangerous due to environmental hazards. Some of these processes utilize equipment that was designed manually in the past without the benefit of computational techniques such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA). This manual design method continues to impact the operation and maintenance of such equipment. Collaborating with one of the largest steelmakers in the US, CIVS developed a new methodology to improve scheduled maintenance.
This study introduced a six-step methodology to analyze stress and fatigue levels in manually designed equipment using a combination of FEA based structural simulations, fatigue life modeling based on standard operations, and three-dimensional visualizations. The simulation results are subsequently validated using actual structural inspection and operating data for the equipment. The final product can be used by operators and engineers to optimize existing equipment designs, reduce downtime and lost production, improve equipment inspection plans, and identify areas for new equipment designs. This research won 1st Place at the 2013 AISTech (Association for Iron and Steel Technology) Conference, Graduate Student Poster Competition. The latest findings will be presented at AISTech 2014 in Indianapolis.