What is Primary Element Inspection and Why Does it Matter?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a Primary Element Inspection is to “conduct a visual inspection of the orifice, nozzle, or venturi meter at least once every twelve calendar quarters. Notwithstanding this requirement, the procedures of section 2.1.7 of this appendix (Appendix D) may be used to reduce the inspection frequency of the orifice, nozzle, or venturi meter to at least once every twenty calendar quarters. The inspection may be performed using a baroscope.”
Suppose the visual inspection indicated that the orifice, nozzle, or venturi meter has become damaged or corroded. In that case, it is mandatory that your facility replaces, repairs, or restores that primary element. This inspection intends to find or identify damage or corrosion to these devices. Damage or deterioration will cause these systems to operate in a manner that creates non-characteristic differential pressure or response patterns that do not represent the valid flow rate conditions.
Primary Elements are components in the fuel flow measurement system that create particular differential pressure patterns (or other technology-specific responses) as the fluid they’re monitoring flows around them (i.e., orifice plates, vortex shedding bars). Any changes to the primary element itself can cause a shift in the accuracy of the flow measurement system. These primary elements are immersed in the fluid flow pipe and can be corrosive, toxic, abrasive, or contain particulates that might damage or distort the shape or profile of the element.
Documenting your findings during these infrequent inspections is required and essential to identify trends affecting the performance of these systems.
How to Conduct a Primary Element Inspection Report
In preparation for your Primary Element Inspection Report, review the features for documenting and reporting your inspections using the “Miscellaneous Test” module found in the StackVision™ User Guide from the “Help” area of the StackVision software.
Once you have consulted the StackVision User Guide, find and review the procedure your facility has prepared to perform these inspections; also, make sure you know what a “normal” element looks like. A visual inspection of the metering system’s primary element is performed and passed within twelve (12) calendar quarters—document the date, time, and what was observed in the inspection. All documentation must be retained on-site for not less than five (5) years ( > 60 months).
If you replace the primary element post-inspection report, you must follow up with a calibration check on the fluid flow metering system. Be sure to keep maintenance records documenting what activities were performed in association with these accuracy tests (i.e., taking photos “as found” and “as left” condition of the primary element).
How can StackVision™ Support Your Primary Inspection Report?
Primary Element Inspection Reports are made easy through ESC Spectrum’s StackVision software. A primary element inspection can be documented in “Miscellaneous Tests” records created in StackVision. This record is part of the QA Electronic Data Report (EDR) file. It is evaluated and processed until it is error-free in ECMPS before it’s submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In StackVision, you can prepare a test record for the element inspection with these simple steps:
- Tools -> QA and Certification -> Fuel Systems -> Open the Element Inspection Tab
- Click the Flowmeter Accuracy or Transmitter Transducer tab
- Then, click on the Add icon to launch Wizard for Creating Fuel Flowmeter Accuracy or Transmitter Transducer Tests.
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