Geert Vriesacker has worked at BASF Antwerp since 1997. With a team of 38 supervisors and many hundreds of contractors, he controls sustainability, safety, and process reliability for the largest chemical production plant in Belgium. One of his priorities is the prevention of corrosion under insulation (CUI) in the 1,200km of pipes at the site. A three-year practical test with ROCKWOOL WR-Tech™ technology provided valuable information for CUI prevention. According to Vriesacker: “Practical tests such as these provide us, as a potential user, with the facts so we can see whether products function to specification or even better.”
Geert has been responsible for corrosion prevention and control, insulation, and platform/scaffolding construction at BASF Antwerp since 1997. His department ensures that all piping, tanks, and fittings are in tip-top condition through a programme of maintenance, repairs, and quality checks. To achieve this, the site’s more than 50 systems are covered day-to-day by about 1,000 contractors. Vriesacker heads a department of about 38 supervisors, whose job it is to ensure the contractors carry out their duties correctly. “The Committee Industrial Insulation (CINI) standard is the basic international standard for industrial insulation, which we supplement with our own specifications to deliver the desired level of performance,” says Vriesacker.
Maintenance of pipes and systems is a never-ending duty. “We work based on planned schedules. The production site is divided into different zones. For example, the zone around the cracker measures 10x5m,” continues Vriesacker. “We use the most effective approach: inspection, scaffolding construction, followed by repair or replacement.”
The cracker receives a major service once every five years; other systems, every three, five or seven years, based on safety, process, and legal guidelines and standards. “We always start with a visual inspection,” explains Vriesacker. “Then we remove the insulation. Depending on what we discover, we will fix a section or all of the line. If we suspect any corrosion, we deal with it immediately, even if the pipe or area is not scheduled for maintenance until a later date.”