Saving Time and Money on Plant Shutdowns with Intelligent Servicing

Emerson's Scott Grunwald

Author: Scott Grunwald, Director of Shutdown, Turnaround and Outage (STO) Projects–Lifecycle Services

When it comes to shutdown, turnaround and outage (STO) projects, maintenance best practices are a plant’s best friend.

Shutdown work scopes are becoming smaller with greater emphasis on pre-turnaround and routine pit-stops. Economic uncertainty has led to plant operators looking to maximize efficiency and output from existing facilities, meaning the typical lifecycles of plants are being significantly extended beyond original expectations.

Aging plants especially need to be carefully managed to ensure that they continue performing to a high standard and remaining both profitable and safe. A key part of this strategy relies on effective scoping, planning, execution, and startup through adopting preventive and predictive maintenance techniques.

Planning & Executing Shutdowns, Turnarounds & OutagesPlanned plant turnarounds require dedicated end-to-end project management for valve and actuator assets, particularly in aging plants where additional risks are present. Safety remains the number one priority for maintenance and repair operations, but poorly scoped and planned servicing can also lead to excessive maintenance spend, with up to 60% of valves and actuators being unnecessarily pulled for service.

In addition, a poorly planned and executed turnaround can lead to premature failure and affect plant availability and reliability. Approximately 70% of all equipment failures can be traced to design, installation, or startup deficiencies.

An intelligent shutdown service can save operators time and money by eliminating unnecessary spend and maximizing efficiency. As a best practice, use a stepped process using digital tools for support in managing plant shutdowns. This process is comprised of:

  1. Preparation & Scoping–surveying a site to identify the physical health of an asset along with further evaluation using preventative and predictive diagnostic tools that will help if an asset may or may not need maintenance.
  2. Planning–determining the right people, the right parts and the right equipment to perform the job onsite.
  3. Scheduling–based on site walk and diagnostics evaluation, this will help with booking the manpower and equipment, in addition to managing and making sure you have the correct inventory.
  4. Execution–performing all maintenance, ensuring all activity is tracked, documented and in accordance with environment, health & safety (EHS) rules and best practices.
  5. Startup–ensuring all valves are installed properly and all proper startup procedures have been followed to verify original equipment manufacturer (OEM) procedures have been followed.
  6. Handover–providing a comprehensive documentation package with future improvement opportunities.

Learn more about this managerial approach to aging plant maintenance, along with insight from previous STO case studies by attending our expert presentation Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 2:05 to 2:25 p.m. at the Managing Aging Plants 2018 Conference and Expo in Houston, Texas. Visit our website to get a free day pass.

From Jim: You can also connect and interact with other shutdown, turnaround and outages project experts in the Services group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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