No matter how well you run your plant, you require scheduled shutdowns from time to time to maintain the equipment and upgrade the facility. In that respect, planned plant shutdowns, also known as turnarounds, are necessary evils.
Oil refineries in Louisiana and around the country (to look at just one industry) increased planned maintenance spend by 38.5% in 2017, according to the industry consultancy Industrial Info Resources. Other industrial plants across America increased scheduled plant outages, turnarounds and shutdowns, too— though none as dramatically as oil and gas.
What does this mean as we head into 2018? For one thing, the energy industry and other industries we serve here at H. Brown, Inc. are willing to spend the money it takes to improve, but they don’t want to lose money from lost production. That’s why they need to partner with reliable teams with expertise in using jacking, lifting and rigging systems to move extremely heavy equipment in tight or hard-to-access parts of an industrial facility.
What Shutdowns Accomplish
The equipment in your plant has operational and warranty requirements that specify when it should be serviced and inspected. A shutdown is an ideal time to do just that (since inspection is usually impossible while equipment is running).
A shutdown also gives you the chance to fix or prevent issues before they arise and cause expensive outages, unplanned closures or worker injuries.
As with any successful project, it all starts with a plan. Your maintenance shutdown plan will dictate how all plant activities will cease to efficiently perform necessary maintenance, repairs, equipment replacements and internal maintenance.
Whether the maintenance turnaround plan designates a few days of work or several weeks, the important thing is for the equipment to be up and running again on time.
Process industries (including food processors, wastewater treatment, pulp and paper, building products and much more) need equipment that performs vital functions serviced, inspected and moved first. This equipment should be ready to put back in operation as quickly as possible before dealing with other, less critical apparatus.
The same goes for refineries and other petrochemical facilities, where nothing gets done if the mission-critical equipment isn’t rigged, lifted, hauled and set up as quickly as possible. Here again, it all comes down to having a plan that maps out the phases and sequence of work to be performed.
A shutdown also helps to ensure the overall safety of the plant itself and those inside—a cost that you cannot measure in dollars. Make sure your shutdown partners have a safety program that lets team members act as their own risk assessment professionals to mitigate the chance of injury or loss. At H. Brown, for example, we train our riggers and other team members to minimize exposure to hazards.
Even though companies plan maintenance projects months or even years in advance, most refiners and chemical plants fail to complete their proposed shutdowns on schedule. A poorly planned closure that exceeds its deadline or goes over budget can negatively impact a plant’s bottom line.
The Turnaround Trouble:
- Many turnarounds lack focus, planning and leadership
- More than 90% failed to meet turnaround goals
- Eight out of 10 grew beyond the original cost and scope
- Three out of every four turnarounds abandoned the original plan/schedule in the first week
— Source, “World-Class Turnaround Management: Business Driven and Reliability Focused,” authored by Bobby Singh, President of Shutdowns & Turnarounds at Project Assurance consultancy
There’s no getting around the fact that shutdowns are expensive and they are a major disruption to your business operations, but they are vital to a refinery or other industrial plant’s survival. Indeed, a well-planned and executed plant turnaround can positively affect the facility and have it running within capacity for years to come.
How We Help
At H Brown, we make it our mission to help you keep your downtime to a minimum. We work with your team to make the process flow as seamlessly as possible. H. Brown, Inc. has assisted with major plant expansions and turnarounds in Louisiana and Texas. We’ve moved and installed process equipment to help keep industrial facilities in top operating condition. We also have the large cranes, extended-reach forklifts, lowboys and trucks to get everything done safely and on budget. Our experience in maintaining and installing industrial equipment and processes through a wide variety of manufacturing facilities includes:
- Routine plant maintenance and preventive maintenance
- Shutdown planning and repairs on industrial equipment
- Scheduling services
Whether you need entire facility or plant maintenance operations, we can plan the job or work with your existing staff to do it. Our crew can handle time-critical production equipment outages, and we understand the importance of meeting your schedule requirements. We ensure that your equipment is assembled and installed correctly.
Are you preparing for your turnarounds/shutdowns in 2018? Put H. Brown, Inc. in your shutdown plan now and minimize costly downtime.