We have developed our own unique and innovative system solution for monitoring of whole service life and ecological aspect of storage tanks and terminal pipeline, including technology of storage tanks terminals - ASTlife programme. ASTlife is based on the combination of two approaches - risk based inspection (RBI) and reliability centred maintenance (RCM). It is a fully web-based programme with offline application for android tablets. Core server executive programme with android application for management of on- or off- stream inspection and data collection are strong tools for effective storage tanks inspection.

Philosophy of the ASTlife programme

astlife scheme
Database server – web-based application

The ASTlife programme has been developed as a web-based application, it runs on a server-side database and communicate with accessing clients. This software structure has several great advantages:

  • No client installation - A Web-based front end minimizes installation issues. Users need only a browser. The database does not distinguish whether the user is sending requests via a Windows PC, Mac, or a computer running Linux.
  • Easy cross-platform usage – You are free to use your language of choice to create the Web interface and the code that the server users to interact with the database.
  • Simplified security - Storing the database in a non-shared folder restricts access. Only the Web server's administrator has access to the database file. That leaves security to the Web server.
  • No version problems - A Web interface eliminates version incompatibility issues because the Web server uses Jet.
Tablet – Android application for offline usage

It is possible to use ASTlife as web-based application on the portable devices like as tablets, but for these kind of usage it is necessary have wireless connection to database server. It is not so convenient for on-site usage. This is why we developed special application for tablets with Android. This application helps on-site inspectors to manage their inspection activities. After synchronization of this application with database server the inspector obtains a schedule with inspection activities that must be performed, also they obtain check-lists for storage tanks and each item that must be checked. This enables this application to become a smart electronic check-lists and valuable data collector. It is very easy in the application for each item in check-list to add photo, sketch, etc. Because this application runs offline, so site inspector does have not to care about network access and they need not hesitate to perform inspections of underground facilities. With this application each inspections will be very comfortable and effective.

ASTlife is based on the combination of two approaches

Risk Based Inspection (RBI)

RBI methodology is a very flexible approach to planning and choosing of appropriate inspection activities of assets. It combines on the one hand the increasing demand for safety and reliability of structures, and on the other hand the economic requirement for effective planning, cost savings and economies of inspection structures of operators.

A key factor of RBI methodology is the correct assessment of probability of failure of the structure or component. It requires perfect knowledge of the degradation mechanisms. Also it is very important to correct classification of the potential consequences on safety, environment and operating losses of failure.

Reliability centred maintenance (RCM)

RCM is a technical tool created to preserve the inherent reliability of equipment by optimizing of maintenance activities to achieve the specified safety requirements, eligibility, availability and cost saving, in the context of the required operational safety. The RCM method identifies an activity for preventive maintenance to avoid or mitigate the consequences of a particular failure mode. The RCM method assesses the operational integrity as opposed to the RBI, which evaluates the structural integrity.

RCM is a unique method for determining the minimal safe maintenance activities that are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of technical systems.

Modules of ASTlife programme

Management overview module is an essential part of ASTlife programme. This module provides management and summary activities for whole storage tanks terminal. This module also provides a forecast on workload, profit levels and more. It is a gateway to other modules/activities in ASTlife programme.

It is essential to have every document categorized and stored together in one place and to make them secure and easy to access. Through this module is possible to manage relevant data, such as measurement data, inspection reports, drawings, certificates, etc., on data server.

For each storage tank, pipeline or analysed item it is necessary to input technical data to the database. Information about design, used material, data about history, etc. must be added to the ASTlife programme. Result of each analyses is reliant on entered data.

A crucial part of any RBI study is a risk analysis. In the module is a determined risk matrix through detailed analysis of probability of failure and consequence of failure. Results of risk analysis will influence inspections interval in module Inspection planning. This module always work with real technical condition of the analysed tank.

This module provides simulation of what exactly must be done for safe operation during whole required period until the next inspection. Simulation of required time for maintenance and simulation of expected costs are possible.

For each tank an individual inspection plan is set. This plan is based on a structured overview of the activities that will have to be performed, so a checklist for visual inspection and plan of NDT inspection are created. The module calculates the total of all such activities and creates a schedule for the inspections for whole tank terminal.

This module perform fitness for service analysis for selected parts/components (e.g. nozzles and manholes in shell of tank) of storage tanks according to API 759, BS 7910 or R6 procedures. The module must be individually tailored for each storage tanks because structural FEM analyses must be done.

The minimum acceptable plate thicknesses of roof, shell and bottom depending on loads are calculated with reference to the API and EEMUA. For this analysis it is necessary to have an appropriate definition of degradation mechanism. Also it is very important to execute the correct statistical evaluation of thickness measurement.

For good planning of maintenance and inspection it is necessary to know what happens with the remaining lifetime if a tank will be recoated, what happens with seals if we change the medium, or what happens if we change operational conditions, and other questions. Answers to all specific questions are provided by this module.

This module is based on reliability-centred maintenance principles. This module identifies an activity for preventive maintenance to avoid or mitigate the consequences of a particular failure mode of technical system devices in storage tank terminals.

The cardinal part of each structure are foundations. Quality of foundations affecting the integrity of a tank is its foundation. This module provides calculations for various settling scenarios by EEMUA and API guidelines. Analysis is also implemented to reduce the risk of soil contamination through leakages.

Pipelines are an inseparable part of storage tanks terminals. This module allows the users to determine inspection requirements for visual and NDT inspection for each pipeline. For each identified point of measurement a process of evaluation is set. In the module it is possible to work with degradation trends and manage maintenance for the required remaining lifetime.

Evaporation from storage tanks is a major source of product loss in the crude oil industry. Evaporation is a natural phenomenon describing when a liquid turns into a gas. Evaporation losses should be minimized to help maximize company revenue, meet regulatory requirements, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is based on API and EEMUA standards.

Imperfections in structures affect their load capacity and stability. Shell roundness in required tolerance is also important for adjustment of seals on floating roofs. The module enables easy evaluation of measured geodetic data and provide transparent graphical visualising.

This module provides analysis of venting system of atmospheric storage tanks according to API 2000. The control of parameters of venting system can also be checked with this module.