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Digitally Transform Turnarounds for Shorter, More Predictable Outages

Johann ClaassenTurnarounds are the cornerstone of the maintenance strategies at most plants, where the top priorities are safety, staying on schedule and staying on budget. Turnarounds typically comprise 73% of a plant’s total downtime, but 25% exceed their budgets and 50% run over their schedules. “If people aren’t at the right place doing the right work, you have a lot of inefficiencies,” explained Johan Claassen, vice president, global lifecycle services, Emerson Automation Solutions, who spoke at Emerson Global Users Exchange Americas this week in San Antonio. “Digital transformation of turnarounds can help to visualize the scope,” explained Claassen. “Start small, and make the outcome successful. Do the right work at the right time on the right assets.”
Turnaround challenges are many, including the fact that 11% of tasks are performed upon discovery and aren't planned, while 8% planned work also exceeds schedules.

“Different industries refer to turnarounds as different things,” said Claassen. “They are traditionally referred to as shutdowns, turnarounds and outages (STOs), and they are those planned periodic events where maintenance and repair are performed, typically on an annual basis.”

Turnarounds include emergent and discovery work, both of which reveal opportunities for unplanned events. “If you have to open a fixed asset, and you didn’t plan for any failures, that can delay schedules and introduce costs,” explained Claassen.

QuickShip speeds replacement parts

To eliminate delays waiting on parts, Emerson’s QuickShip fulfillment program offers customers a range of shipment service options to meet specific project requirements. The new program leverages Emerson’s global production and shipping infrastructure to deliver a level of dependability and responsiveness, making it easier to accommodate change orders, minimize downtime and improve project return on investment.

For turnaround projects, discovery and emergent work not initially included in the original scope of a project are often a leading cause of turnaround schedule and budget overruns. QuickShip provides instant access to on-site operators 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for online chat, call and quick order processing to ensure on-time delivery when unanticipated problems require immediate attention, reducing the impact of late changes to project scope.

The QuickShip program offers three tiers of shipping services to meet specific needs:

  1. QuickShip Everyday provides reliable delivery of commonly ordered items at no additional cost.
  2. QuickShip Expedite leverages Emerson’s worldwide manufacturing resources to reduce production time and enable delivery for any products from instruments to complex assemblies and other long-lead items.
  3. QuickShip Emergency enables the fastest order fulfillment shipment speed—typically same day or next day—of critical parts and products by connecting customers to Emerson representatives who can help identify correct parts, evaluate viable options and process the order through front-of-line factory assembly or Emerson’s dedicated local QuickShip fulfillment offices.

Emerson’s Mobile Service and Command Center acts as a central point where all turnaround asset data is monitored and analyzed through Emerson’s experts. It also serves as an inventory warehouse stocked with parts. For unplanned needs, it provides a direct factory link to expedite parts for shipping through the Emerson QuickShip program.

A seven-step process

Emerson performs more than 2,500 turnarounds per year, and it has the capability, expertise and digital tools to drive top-quartile performance. As a result, Emerson can help customers to digitally transform turnaround performance with three primary programs, including scope assurance, schedule assurance and labor effectiveness, which can generate 10% savings in overall turnaround costs and 6% improvement in turnaround schedules It represents a $25 billion opportunity for the process industries.

Emerson’s specialized framework of solutions and services for assisting turnarounds starts with its seven-step process for planning and executing them. These steps include:

  • operational planning in discovery workshops conducted 24 to 60 months out before the turnaround;
  • alignment and early partnerships performed 20 months out;
  • work scope definitions drafted following walk downs and on-site diagnostics done 18 months out;
  • detailed planning thanks to automated scope prioritization conducted 12 months out;
  • pre-turnaround planning and scheduling optimization performed six months out;
  • actual turnaround execution performed during an average 40-day period, when equipment and parts are repaired, replaced or shipped quickly on-site; and,
  • post-turnaround evaluation that's done two to six months after the turnaround.

The Plantweb digital ecosystem can help with work scope definition by connecting expertise and predictive analytics to help to determine scope on fixed process assets more accurately. It can leverage Emerson’s Location Awareness, a personnel location system to manage safety by reducing labor congestion and inefficiencies of employees, contractors and temporary workers during turnarounds.
"It's all about doing the right work on the right assets at the right time," said Claassen.

Control scope with discovery analytics

In turn, scope assurance is enabled by having complete insight into fixed equipment enabled by sensors, predictive data analytics and expertise.

For example, discovery work in distillation columns can be significantly reduced by using predictive data analytics and condition monitoring. Fouling, plugging or coking can be detected using differential pressure and temperature measurements; tray damage of collapses can be identified with tray temperature and pressure profile monitoring; and corrosion be found by using in-time wall thickness monitoring with Permasense corrosion sensors. All of these can add up to 60% reductions in discovery work.

Work scope is also aided by digitalizing walk downs with mobile apps on tablet PCs. Emerson also now offers the ability to expand digitalizing capabilities into fixed assets, or “dumb assets,” such as vessels and piping. “Plants are running blind today when it comes to fixed assets,” said Claassen. “There’s a lot more intelligence on rotating equipment. Our solution provides complete insight into fixed assets, such as distillation columns and heat exchangers. Opening the bottom manhole in a distillation column and finding clogged trays is something you didn’t plan for. That can delay a turnaround.”