Issue 12 2010
With a core understanding of the challenges of equipment maintenance, METALogic uses its world-class expertise to work in partnership with its clients, solving corrosion and material degradation problems with as little interruption to clients’ processes and production as possible.
METALogic was established in 1991 as a spin-off company of the Catholic University of Leuven’s Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering. Combining academic knowledge with industrial expertise METALogic offers an extensive range of services such as corrosion monitoring, failure analyses, advanced non-destructive inspection techniques, corrosion testing, welding technology and risk based inspections. These are implemented with the support of METALogic’s team of corrosion and material experts from its headquarters in Belgium.
By way of an introduction to METALogic, managing director Christine Buelens explains: “The core activity of METALogic is focused around the monitoring of material degradation – specifically corrosion but also issues such as fatigue and fractures. Our approach is to support clients with a total life cycle service for their installation and process equipment, which is quite a unique service in the market. In the design stage, we can provide assistance with the correct selection of material alongside other key factors. Then moving into the service phase we deliver monitoring systems for corrosion and degradation phenomena and implement the right measures to prevent failure, such as planned maintenance and repair. In the case of failure occurring we undertake failure analyses and feed that information into advice for repairs or future design.”
Alongside its unique life cycle support capabilities, METALogic also develops new technology in-house to further extend its own package of products and services. The company plays an active role in international scientific networks and provides solutions as an independent supplier in contract research. “Within the service phase we operate well-known monitoring system brands, but also develop our own technologies and solutions,” elaborates Christine. “Particularly, these monitoring systems are used to provide a follow up service after degradation has been detected to provide an indication of the remaining lifetime of the installation. This is an increasingly important consideration for clients, as nobody wants an unexpected shut down, which is both a financial and operational concern. By implementing our systems we can help to estimate the remaining installation life time and schedule planned maintenance where required.”
Given the specialist nature of its services, the majority of METALogic’s customers come from the chemical, petrochemical, pharmacy, power, and oil and gas industries, where asset integrity is a prominent concern. Reflecting on the challenges of working within these environments, Christine says: “For these kind of industries there is a lot of pressure regarding environmental safety, as well as the economic consequences of operational downtime and unexpected repair work, so maintaining the safety of facilities is vital. One of the key challenges in supplying our services is having the right level of knowledge. This includes maintaining personnel with experience and expertise in degradation phenomena, alongside employing the right measuring techniques. We also work to maintain our technical knowledge and to keep our solutions up to date with the latest insights and advances.”
As opposed to just supplying measuring systems, METALogic develops tailor-made solutions based on client-specific problems. Drawing on its advanced expertise in three technologies – ultrasonic research, electrochemistry, and acoustic emission, METALogic ensures that its clients receive the most suitable solution for their requirements rather than a standard response. Looking at the company’s range of capabilities, Christine highlights some of METALogic’s core competencies: “One area we emphasise today is a follow-up service to detected degradation in storage tanks and gas spheres, using passive ultrasound methods. This is becoming of increasing interest to clients because we can monitor the risk through a non-intrusive measuring system implemented in a risk-based inspection methodology. Another area of growth is corrosion monitoring systems for process equipment, which enables us to measure the degradation even if we cannot see it. Most often non-intrusive monitoring systems are used to manage the risks until finally risks become too high so the equipment has to be opened for inspection or repair.”
Bearing this customer focus in mind, Christine turns her attention to the future progression of METALogic, and the opportunities within the market for the business: “Currently we are mainly operating in Europe, however we see great potential for the business in the Middle East, where at present the market is undergoing growth. Certainly we want to establish a presence in this area, and this is something we will be working towards in the years ahead. Naturally we need to secure the people with the right knowledge and skills to support this growth, so this one of our core focuses at present. We want to continue to provide an expert service to our clients and this means maintaining a staff team which can effectively deliver our life cycle support.”
Services: Corrosion and materials degradation monitoring