Posted under Blog by VIZIYA's STO Team
July 24, 2019
Shutdowns, turnarounds and outages (popularly known as STOs) are a critical part of maintenance strategies for most manufacturing and production facilities. These activities help to ensure the continuous and reliable operation of assets so that there are no unplanned stoppages in production. A production facility ceases normal operations for significant periods during these activities so efforts can be focused on preventive maintenance and repair of assets.
It is common to use the terms shutdown, turnaround and outages interchangeably but there are subtle differences between them.
For the most part, shutdowns and turnarounds mean the same thing: planned maintenance work with a clearly defined objective and work scope, start date, and significantly longer durations than day-to-day preventive maintenance work.
Outages, however, may be forced rather than planned. An outage may require only a partial shutdown of production so maintenance crews can carry out the activities required to get assets reinstated and contributing to the production flow.
Shutdowns and turnarounds differ from routine maintenance in a number of ways, often including lengthy production stoppages and a much larger scope of work.
Shutdowns and turnarounds are very different in nature from other types of maintenance in that they require extensive planning many months in advance of the actual event. It’s true that planning and prioritization of work are keys to the success of any maintenance program and done properly will lead to greater efficiency. Check out our white paper “How Johnsonville Redesigned its Maintenance Prioritization and Planning Process” for a real-life example of how one of VIZIYA’s customers found success with this approach.
However, planning is even more essential when it comes to shutdowns and turnarounds. This is so simply because it’s required to ensure that the project is delivered safely, on time, and within budget.
Effective planning and scheduling are essential parts of a successful STO project. The shutdown turnaround process will cost the company money, both in terms of the cost of the project itself and in terms of lost production. It’s up to the STO project leader and their team to make sure it costs as little as possible while still achieving the goals that have been set out.
Shutdown and turnaround at a large facility, such as an oil refinery, could easily add up to a total of 100,000 work hours. To be clear, that’s just the execution of the work itself. Preparing for a shutdown takes much longer. For example, if the shutdown will take between two and four weeks, then you can count on needing at least 18 months of planning. This is part of why it’s important to have a project team that’s focused primarily on planning and leading the shutdown operation.
STO projects are inherently different from regular maintenance and other projects. This is largely due to the impact it has on the organization and its method of delivery. Outlined below are some of the factors that make shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages unique:
A successful STO project relies on successful planning. VIZIYA has heard the call from our customers, and we’re working on a solution that will help you to manage your own shutdown with a minimal amount of disruption. Keep an eye out for more news on this, coming soon.