The time and cost of plant shutdowns and major revamps are worrisome for business leaders like you
Focusing your capital and time is easy to do; focusing it in the right places is hard to do. All of your resourcesand moreare spent on day-to-day operations to keep the plant running and maintaining the plant.
But there are many different scenarios which require a plant upgrade -and typically that means shutting down at least a portion if not the whole plant for the project. It’s not a decision that’s taken lightly. That’s potential revenue you’re losing every second.
Maybe there is a need to:
Work smarter with your capital budget
With so many factors that come into play when running a plant, it’s often difficult to quantify the benefits and also to pinpoint where the upgrades should happen to have the greatest ROI on capital. Time can also play a factor; the distillation column could be replaced but it could take 6 months to install. Is there a way to consider all of the different options that weighs in time, capital AND even resources?
In all of these scenarios, you’ll likely want to use the shortest time window possible to get back and running again -without compromising in any area.
When a plant upgrade is clearly necessary, finding the best way to meet your plant upgrade objectives is not as straightforward as you might think.
Let’s take the example of increasing plant capacity. In one scenario, you might build a bigger reactor only to the find that you were actually limited by your storage tanks. Or maybe it was both but, either way, you aren’t sure. And you’ve completed the project only to find that it won’t meet your objectives.
It’s wasted time and wasted capital.
Smarter problem solving with a performance prediction model
Here aresevensteps you can take to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
Step 1: Define your objective or target
What are the critical objectives you need to meet? Typically, the objective will be directly related to revenue -more specifically, designing your system for optimum revenue.
Step 2: Identify study boundaries.
This is the boundary line that establishes the system to beanalyzedand is driven by the objectives established in step 1.
Step 3: Identify what KPI’s you will use to establish whether the identified objectives are met
Key performance indicators that are typically used include:
Step 4: Collect data
At this step you will gather as much data as possible, including any factors that may impact desired objective. This may include operating logic, design configuration, supply chain options, multiple product flows, buffer tank storage and, if applicable, variations of the weather on plant performance, and, of course, Reliability Availability and Maintainability (RAM) data. You can then construct a model yourself or use outside expertise to help fill in any gaps or for the creation of your model.
Step 5: Model Construction
This is where the rubber meets the road. All of the data and operating logic is used to build a model that accurately reflects your system and produces KPI measurements that allow you to establish the gap between current performance and objectives.
Step 6: Validate your system or reliability model
Run the base line configuration of the model to ensure that it reflects reality.For an existing system, KPI’s are compared to historical performance.For new systems, KPI measurements can be compared to similar systems.
Step 7: Quantify benefits and identify highest impact projects
With your newly constructed model, you can optimize for the previous identified KPI’s. You can compare plant availability with and without upgrades. You can evaluate and quantify the impact of different types of upgrades -whether it’s different equipment types or design configurations.See clearly what is impacting the KPI’s in your plant -in order of severity.
This model will enable you to be proactive instead of reactive when trying to meet your critical objectives -even when it comes to unexpected shutdowns. While a quick fix is tempting, you will be able to quantify the benefits of implementing a more robust solution to determine if it is worthy of further consideration. This can be done in just a few minutes using your system model. Should you repair existing equipment or invest in newequipment? Increase gasket changeout frequency or install a redundant pump? No extensive research is necessary when you’ve got a comprehensive system reliability model already built.
Pretty soon, you will find that you will habitually be focusing your capital and time in all the right places.