Efficient Plant May 2019 - 11

feature | operating strategies
Don't overlook the value reliability engineering can deliver to your
shutdown/turnaround/outage events.

MAY 2019

really comes down preparedness, including
governance, coordination, scope freeze,
control, planning, and scheduling. Frequently,
dedicated teams of STO managers, planners,
schedulers, and coordinators oversee such
events. However, other personnel should
also be involved-specifically members of
a plant's reliability-engineering team. That's
because risk management, which is a reliability
engineer's specialty, provides the analytical
foundation to ensure that an STO is optimized
and well planned.
A plant's reliability engineer(s) can play a
pivotal role in de-risking an STO, assuring that
the event achieves its objective, and helping
avoid a scenario where, to put it bluntly,
"the wheels come off." They possess detailed
knowledge about the facility's design and
configuration, and the context and history of

maintenance and operations. They also possess
special skills in risk management, including
FMEA and RCA (failure mode and effects
analysis and root-cause analysis, respectively), as well as the physics of failure, reliability
analytics/metrics, and other skills that enable
these engineers to intervene before, during,
and after the STO.
Let's examine the key elements of the reliability engineer's role at each stage of the STO
process. The goal is to ensure that the event
delivers operational reliability; comes in safe,
on time, on budget; and results in a smooth
startup with minimal work-quality issues.
(See Fig. 2 on p. 16.)

PRELIMINARY PLANNING
A reliability engineer should be involved in
defining the mission, strategy, and premise for

STO Preparedness: Key to Cost and Schedule Control
170%
160%
Actual performance relative
to Preparedness Index

150%

Actual vs. Projected Cost

THE PLANT shutdown/turnaround/outage
(STO) is an occasional maintenance event
intended to restore the facility to "like new"
performance. It's also the time to execute
major plant upgrades and expansive capital
projects that add new production capabilities.
When the STO goes well, the objectives are
met at an economically justified cost to the
business. When things go wrong, however, significant cost and time overruns are incurred.
Research on STOs suggests that the
best-prepared organizations come in at or
under budget, while those who are unprepared
see cost and time overruns of 60%. As an
example, for a major STO with a projected cost
of $100 million, the difference between the
best- and worst-prepared plants could be as
much as $81 million (see Fig. 1). Here's where
the money goes:
 excessive labor due to poor wrenchtime performance
 expediting premiums for parts and
tool hire
 additional manpower and overtime
premiums to avoid schedule overruns
 poor anticipation of emergent and
contingency work.
STO-cost overrun, though, is just the
tip of the iceberg. A poorly executed event
leads to schedule overruns and a bevy of
startup and work-quality-related failures
that can plague the site for months-or
even years-after the STO. In some cases,
the STO is so poorly managed and executed that it can't reliably deliver in the plant's
expected operating window. This could
then require the organization to schedule
another one of these disruptive events
sooner than desired.
The difference between the best and
worst performance on STO events

140%
130%
120%
110%
100%

Project +/- 10% Range

90%
80%
70%
0%

10%

20% 30%

y = 0.317ln(x) + 0.8624

40%

50%

60%

STO Preparedness Index

70%

80%

90% 100%

Fig. 1. Cost-control results are starkly different when comparing the best- and worst-prepared STO events.

EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM |

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Efficient Plant May 2019

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