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Managing A Plant Shutdown

December 12, 2018

Managing A Plant Shutdown

Maintenance activities can be stressful for your operation and maintenance personnel. However, with thorough planning and a well-trained maintenance team, these activities can produce numerous long-term benefits.

Plant maintenance shutdown is important to keep your production processes up and running smoothly. It can result in a loss in production for the time being; however, scheduled maintenance of equipment can help decrease downtime and prevent devastating failures. So far as the non-shutdown maintenance is concerned, your operating schedule is the single biggest factor which impacts shutdown management.

Plant shutdown scheduling

Shutdown scheduling is relatively convenient in plants that operate five days a week or facilities that have seasons where a unit can be shut down for an extended period of time. On the other hand, production units which operate 24/7 and where the downtime cost can be as high as $100,000 per hour or even more, shutdowns must be scheduled and managed with the utmost care.

Process industries often experience infrequent shutdowns and it takes several days to conclude the shutdown maintenance work. Inspecting, identifying and repairing issues are some of the objectives of shutdown work. There are potential problems that can’t be identified during operation.

Starting the planning process early leads to a successful shutdown no matter the nature of your industry. It will help you plan each job in detail, manage the process inventory to get access to equipment for inspection and get competitive bids on contract work. Preparing a list of important activities with a deadline is also part of the process.

Assigning Roles

Roles can be changed depending on the situation. For instance, an engineer can be assigned the role of the owner’s representative who deals with various contract-related work. A maintenance supervisor could switch his areas of focus to take care of other critical tasks. Likewise, a project manager or planner can keep work schedules marked up to measure and display current progress.

Shutdown documentation and progress

A major shutdown may involve extensive documentation including various jobs: safety documentation, critical-path schedules, permits, budget estimates, procedures, the process inventory plan, resource allocation, etc. Listing the maintenance personnel for all aspects of the shutdown is also a part of the documentation process.

Conducting meetings to discuss progress should be held frequently. People who are managing the overall process should attend progress meetings to evaluate whether or not your shutdown project is progressing as planned. Frequent get-togethers is an effective way to identify issues which may affect the shutdown schedule or scope. If you don’t have the resources and maintenance expertise to manage shutdowns, hire a reputable company which provides dependable preventive maintenance and shutdown services.

Having a maintenance partner with the engineering support and a specialized shutdown team combined with state-of-the-art products will help you minimize overall production costs and improve future plant operation.

About Quality Millwright

Quality Millwright serves a broad range of industries with our preventive maintenance and shutdown services. From fabrication and machining to construction project management and maintenance, we provide comprehensive millwright services in Edmonton and across Canada. Feel free to discuss your project with us today!