Digital Transformation for Shutdowns, Turnarounds, Outages

by , , | Mar 11, 2022 | Digital Transformation, Services, Consulting & Training

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

Continuously operating plants such as refinery and petrochemical complexes require periodic turnarounds to perform necessary maintenance to restore optimum production. Also known as shutdowns and outages, these events can occur a few times per decade or more, depending on the process.

Chemical Processing--Maintenance: Turnarounds Get A New SpinIn a Chemical Processing article, Maintenance: Turnarounds Get A New Spin, Emerson’s John Sanders joins a KBC senior leader to share his perspectives on optimizing these STOs [shutdowns, turnarounds, outages]. The article’s author opens by noting the increasing level of STO complexity.

Turnarounds are becoming even trickier due to the impact of supply chain problems, staff shortages, lack of contractors and other COVID-19-related issues.

The author quotes John, who adds to this challenge.

“Moreover, economic uncertainty during the last two years has made organizations wary of spending capital, and even those plants willing to spend are seeing supply chain issues that make executing large projects more difficult.”

Given current supply chain shortages:

“…unplanned outages can exacerbate existing supply-chain issues, so organizations are focused on finding new ways to plan and complete turnarounds on time and on budget…

Emerson’s Aaron Crews stressed the importance of asset condition monitoring.

“The solution comes down to risk management, which itself is about eliminating surprises… Instead of scheduling based solely on criticality, plants performing the most-successful turnarounds use knowledge gained from predictive maintenance technologies that have been collecting and analyzing asset health data since well before the turnaround date.”

John highlighted the vital role mobile devices play in turnarounds.

“These digital tools rely on mobile devices to help new and experienced workers become more efficient by accurately navigating the walkdown process. Guided workflows provide procedural tools to take pictures and videos, along with voice and text notes, as personnel perform walkdowns. Many of these walkdown tools are created with specific assets in mind, automatically prompting users to check and record the most important and relevant data at every step…”

Read the article for more on how predictive maintenance technologies aid in the planning and execution of STOs and foster greater collaboration among the project team for greater chances of success. Visit the Shutdowns, Turnarounds & Outages section on Emerson.com for how technologies and services can provide scope and schedule assurance, minimize emergent & discovery work, reduce labor and materials costs by up to 10 percent, and shorten schedules by up to 6 percent.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.