Instrument Audit: Benefits and Five-Phase Best Practice

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WIKA USA

Tel.:
1-888-945-2872
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1-770-338-5118
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It is easy to ignore your gauges. As long as no alarms are going off and product is flowing smoothly out of the plant, your systems and processes are obviously working fine, right?

Well, maybe. But since the average manufacturing plant or refinery has hundreds of gauges and other instrumentation, the odds are high that a number of devices are not producing accurate readings or not working at all. Based on their real-world experience, WIKA Instrument, LP estimates that 25 percent of gauges in a typical facility are malfunctioning or misapplied. Furthermore, not dealing with gauge problems in a timely manner could likely lead to process downtime or even safety issues.

A thorough instrument audit of your facility by WIKA’s Full Audit Service Team (FAST) professionals will help ensure that all of your gauges are installed correctly and working properly. A FAST five-phase best practices Instrument Audit identifies problem gauges and recommends corrective actions to ensure optimum performance. The instrument review is designed to pinpoint any issues that might affect gauge reliability, longevity and safety.  Instrument audits typically uncover evidence of pulsation, vibration, pressure spikes, extreme temperatures, installation damage, clogging, and chemical incompatibility, as well as gauge selection-related problems.

Phase 1: Interviews

The first step in a FAST instrument audit is a series of interviews between the FAST team and plant personnel. These interviews are similar to informal introductions to help plant personnel learn the purpose of the instrument review, what is involved, and how they will benefit from the review. The interview phase helps WIKA's FAST team design the audit to meet the specific needs of the plant.

Phase 2: Pre-Meeting

A pre-meeting typically involves one or more senior plant managers as well as facility engineers. The main purpose of the pre-meeting is to determine the sections of the plant to review, as well as the specific responsibilities of the FAST team. Any prohibited areas of the plant should also be identified. Pre-meetings also include discussing known problem instrument installations and safety procedures with plant personnel.

Phase 3: Instrument Application Review

Phase 3 of an instrument audit is where the rubber hits the road as key plant personnel lead the FAST team on a walk-through of the facility. All the target gauge installations are carefully reviewed, and problem gauges, as well as those that demonstrate installation best practices, are identified.

Phase 4: Post-Meeting

The results of the instrument audit are presented in the post-meeting. WIKA's FAST team will have identified every gauge installation as best, adequate, or problematic, specifically noting gauges that pose immediate safety concerns.  FAST engineers and plant personnel will work together to set up a priority list for dealing with the problem instrument installations.

Phase 5 - Follow-up Meeting and Presentation

The follow-up meeting is when the FAST team formally presents its findings and the executive summary of the instrument review. Plant owners will receive a spreadsheet that lists details about the gauges covered in the instrument audit, color-coded by severity. WIKA's experienced professionals will provide recommendations for improvements based on experience and best practices.  The FAST team can help plant personnel consolidate and manage their inventory of gauges. In some cases, the number of gauges in inventory can be reduced by as much as 50 percent.

Electronic Pressure Digest

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