By Sphera’s Editorial Team | August 8, 2019

Turnarounds are the cornerstone of any plant’s maintenance strategy. But getting them right is tough.

A turnaround is defined as a scheduled event where an entire process unit of an industrial plant is taken offline for an extended period for a revamp and/or renewal.

The numbers paint a vivid picture of the complexity: Tens of thousands of separate jobs, durations that can last between 20 and 60 days for process plants, and thousands of contractors. It’s daunting to complete a large portfolio of maintenance tasks with potentially new contractors, planned g and the subsequent loss of production in a tight timeframe. And planning cycles can take years.

As important as they are to profitability, according to industry research organization TA Cook, 82% of turnarounds do not satisfy performance expectations with about half experiencing delays and 80% going over budget. And even more daunting, studies show that about half of all work-related accidents at manufacturing plants occur during planned maintenance outages.

While it’s tempting to see the solution as solely an exercise in planning, scope creep (uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope) is one of the main reasons why turnarounds fail to meet performance expectations. For staff and contractors, the problem occurs when the plan meets dynamic execution, in real time. Even the most sophisticated maintenance plan has gaps, and without the right tools, making dynamic adjustments to a turnaround plan to satisfy emerging work can result in increased risk, unexpected delays, prolonged downtime and costly overruns that can run into millions of dollars per day in lost production from asset downtime.

On the other hand, effectively managing a turnaround can lead to tremendous savings. For example, deferring work until the next turnaround could save hundreds if not thousands of staff hours and dramatically reduce asset downtime. And eliminating the need to order and ship new parts could further reduce costs. But it’s difficult to make those decisions without the right tools and insights.

Where digitalization and the adoption of automation technologies based on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) have allowed Oil & Gas and Petrochemical manufacturers to make strides in improving operational performance, Industry 4.0 developments are also changing the way operators plan and execute major turnarounds. By connecting disparate data and business processes, digitalization can provide teams with a complete view of the risks and activities involved in the turnaround scope so the trade-offs can be clearly understood and managed with proper care to ensure turnarounds come in safely as well as on time and on budget.

5 Ways Digital Can Transform Plant Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages

  1. Achieve scope assurance with predictive analytics, which enables managers to do the right work on the right assets at the right time.
  2. Ensure adherence to schedules, operational effectiveness and safety by leveraging connected industrial worker mobility as well as location awareness technology.
  3. Perform digital walkthroughs with data analytics prior to each turnaround to correctly prioritize the scope of work and to create an up-to-date electronic record.
  4. Standardize processes and procedures to help streamline work and increase the efficiency of critical workflows.
  5. Safely manage the transition to and from daily operations.

Want to learn more? Join us for the upcoming webinar, “An Industry 4.0 Approach to Transforming Turnaround Performance,” which takes place Aug. 20, 2019, at 10 a.m. CST. You will learn:

  • Why turnaround planning and execution needs to be disrupted.
  • Why operators need to enable a holistic approach to turnaround management.
  • How to leverage Industry 4.0 technologies to deliver safe, efficient and effective turnarounds.
  • How technology can help you gain a competitive advantage.