Digital Walkdown App Helps Refiner Halve STO Budget

Inspector using Emerson's Digital Walkdown App to speed up his process.Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages (STOs) can represent significant cost, schedule and safety risks for operations in process industries, especially when an operation maintains traditional walkdown practices that rely on manual processes. However, one Midwest refiner was able to minimize these risks by digitalizing their walkdown procedures with the help of Emerson software, saving 54 percent on their STO budget in the process. 


Typically, the refinery would have up to five operators conduct a manual walkdown of the assets, taking an average of 20 minutes per assembly to capture the necessary data and record it into MS Excel spreadsheets, which were often incompatible with the existing CMMS (computerized maintenance management system). Human error and manual processes contributed to unexpected expenses and schedule delays, causing budgets to overrun. The lack of reliable data made it difficult to accurately determine work scope, effectively prioritize critical valves and consistently order critical spares during scheduling. In addition, the process targeted 100 percent of all assets for repair regardless of whether they needed it or not, often pushing maintenance costs beyond budget constraints. 


With Emerson’s Digital Walkdown application, operators were able to walkdown all 172 assets quickly and seamlessly, minimizing workload and staffing requirements. The app’s visual health rating analysis indicated only 23 percent of the assets needed repair or upgrades, saving unnecessary maintenance, and the walkdown summary report supplied key data and recommendations, including diagnostic analysis to pinpoint internal issues and provide better asset management for planning and budgeting purposes. In addition, all data was easily uploaded to the CMMS to provide a more consistent and reliable analysis with real-time reports and easier database storage for customer access. 


By using Emerson’s Digital Walkdown app, the refiner reduced its STO budget overrun from 57 percent to within 3 percent of its targeted budget, while also increasing their labor efficiency well over 20 percent. The refiner also plans to use the digitalized data to implement a new radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging process that will drive more efficiencies and better process planning, mitigating risk of additional downtime by up to $500k/day. 


Learn more about Emerson’s Digital Walkdown app here. 


Learn how Emerson’s Digital Walkdown app can improve STOs and maintenance planning here


1 Reply

  • Digital Transformation (DX) of work practices allows you to know which equipment and devices need overhaul, and which ones don’t during the short turnaround window, before the shutdown/turnaround/outage; e.g. for pumps, heat exchangers, compressors, cooling towers, control valves, and PRVs etc. A walk-down app is an important tool. The result is on-time, on-budget, and quality workmanship turnaround excellence. This is over and above improving how the plant is run and maintained day-to-day. DX solutions like real-time locating system (RTLS) not only makes the plant safer with mustering headcount and rescue locating, but also helps with contractor workforce management. You get digital collaboration with wearable cameras, and you have all the documents on-the-go on your industrial tablet. Many plants are already successful with digital transformation including a mix of on-premise digital and IIoT solutions starting from digital sensors on wireless and fieldbus. Learn how other plants do it from this essay: