Building the Plan for Successful Plant Turnarounds

A leading research organization, the Aberdeen Group, says it well when they say:

In asset intensive industries, such as automotive, metals, mining, oil and gas, process manufacturing, utilities, and the public sector, the reliability and productivity of capital assets is essential to an organization’s financial success. Maintenance of these assets can dramatically impact the overall performance and useful life of an asset.

Petrochemical manufacturers definitely consider themselves in this “asset intensive” group. As such, solid maintenance programs are essential. And it is especially critical to plan the times when they are shut down for maintenance. Known in industry parlance as a turnaround, these may happen only every 4-6 years. This means they frequently involve new personnel as people move on to new roles.

A Houston, Texas-based petrochemical manufacturer saw an Emerson Exchange presentation given by Emerson’s Instrument & Valve Services (IVS) consultant Wade Enns. He described a Northern Alberta Oil Sands production project with 120,000 I/O to commission. A key to the success of this project was the use of the Smart Start project services methodology. It helped bring a well thought out plan and order to this huge commissioning task.

This methodology and associated software provides embedded check sheets and commissioning procedures for 196 specific equipment types, customized check sheets for planning and checking off tasks during the turnaround as they are completed. The process also helps prioritize the maintenance activities and documents them to provide an audit trail, should the refiner need to refer back to the maintenance activities performance.

The petrochemical manufacturer shared how they had real problems with their last turnaround with scheduling and quality of the work performed. Obviously, any delays impacting the start-up schedule mean lost revenue.

The IVS team worked with the manufacturer to plan the maintenance turnaround on the process with 600 loops and 1800 devices. The process began by building a Smart Start Project Tool database to capture the entire scope of the instruments and valves which were in use. The team took advantage of the plants installed AMS Device Manager. Next, to fully understand and document how everything was installed, they performed “loop walk-downs”. This helped put together the plan for the priority and order of the maintenance to be performed.

Working collaboratively, the maintenance and IVS team fully documented and received signoff on the plan in time for the turnaround. With milestones in place, the team could catch deviations from the plan early so that additional resources could help in these areas.

The results were what this manufacturer wanted–a smooth turnaround executed in the allotted time. Given the pressures on everyone to get the maintenance work done in the allotted schedule, having this well thought out and documented plan definitely helped reduce the stress along the way.

Posted Thursday, April 5th, 2007 under Chemical, Plant Equipment.

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