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Maintenance in the Chemical Industry

Posted under Blog by Kristin Smith, Content Marketing Specialist

The chemical industry is more diverse than virtually any other asset-intensive industry. The industry produces a variety of products, not usually seen or used by consumers, but that are essential components of other consumer and industrial products. Without overtly realizing it, consumers rely on chemical organizations for many of their everyday items and services.

Proper maintenance of chemical processing facilities is key to ensure continuous, uninterrupted operation, as well as safe manufacturing of chemicals. Chemicals companies are evolving their operations’ business models to drive new revenue streams and to control costs. Ever-changing environmental and regulatory requirements add more complexity. Using technology to optimize maintenance practices, manage downtime and to control work management process is vital to maintain safe operations and drive profit.

Strict regulations and tight margins can result in increased pressure on maintenance departments to:

  • Improve efficiency and field excellence
  • Boost operational intelligence and decision-making
  • Achieve high compliance standards and be prepared for regulatory audits and internal reviews

Like most asset-intensive industries, the chemical industry is extremely reliant upon the uptime of revenue producing assets.  By minimizing the downtime of assets, it allows companies to consistently produce output, which results in increased revenues.  This is where maintenance plays a key role.

By maximizing asset performance through effective processes and tools, chemical organizations can control costs and meet distinct maintenance requirements.

When focusing on budget performance issues, management seldom looks to maintenance as an area with the potential for significant gains. It’s often a “necessary evil”. However, in the chemical industry, maintenance management ineffectiveness generates a significant financial loss for the company.

Chemical maintenance EAM practices can mean the difference between profitability and loss. Continuous production means equipment is constantly in use, so scheduled maintenance must be brief and effective.

How to improve maintenance in the Chemical Industry – Chemical Industry Requirements

The chemical industry has unique maintenance needs related to safety and regulatory restrictions, equipment performance and quality standards and complex work crews.  These needs pose an interesting challenge for maintenance teams striving for more optimized practices.

  1. Identification of changes in asset health – The identification of changes to asset health, or an impending failure is critical for profit margins in the chemical industry. In order to better control their maintenance costs, maintenance teams need the ability to better access and monitor machine data. When maintenance teams can easily identify an asset issue, they can react immediately and swiftly resolve the problem, preventing unexpected and costly breakdowns.
  2. Strict safety and regulatory compliance requirements – Safety remains a critical issue in the chemical industry. Companies are not only responsible for the health and safety of their employees, but also of any customers or suppliers visiting their plant. The impact of a failure on people, the environment, company reputation, and revenue can be extreme. Reducing risks and maintaining safety standards needs to be at the center of all maintenance related projects. Asset condition monitoring, as well as effective production control and predictive shutdown systems, are fundamental to safe and secure chemical operations.
  3. Strict requirements on Equipment performance and Quality Standards – Chemical organizations have strict product quality standards, and in turn, equipment performance requirements. Maintenance teams need to ensure equipment is well kept to quality standards can be maintained. Asset condition monitoring, as well as effective production control and predictive shutdown systems, are fundamental for this process.
  4. Identify and manage production critical work orders easily – When a critical production asset requires maintenance, it is necessary for the maintenance to be completed as quickly as possible. Additionally, this work cannot take place during critical production periods. Maintenance teams need the ability to easily plan, schedule, assign, execute, and complete work orders.
  5. Maximize uptime of production equipment – A chemical organization’s operation is highly dependent on the state of its capital assets. Leveraging the availability of key production assets is critical for organizations to meet their production requirements. Maintenance teams need to work within these demands to ensure assets are available during critical production periods.
  6. Continuous improvement with effective reporting – As the saying goes, knowledge is power. When maintenance teams can analyze their maintenance practices, they can improve their planning, scheduling and execution, and in turn, can optimize their processes. Maintenance teams need access to accurate data to ensure analysis is correct.
  7. Complex maintenance shifts and work crews – Chemical maintenance planners and schedulers need the ability to handle various groupings of resources for their specific work units. Flexibility to manage crews by craft, team, or a combination is critical for successful planning and scheduling of maintenance tasks.

Looking Ahead…

It’s no easy feat creating efficiencies within a chemical organization. It’s even harder to do so when safety and regulatory compliance requirements are strict, assets are critical for production, and shift and work crews are complex.

VIZIYA’s WorkAlign® Suite was built on the premise of helping maintenance organizations to create efficiencies by connecting and optimizing every step of the maintenance workflow. VIZIYA has worked collaboratively with the largest and most sophisticated maintenance organizations to enhance their asset performance.

To learn how VIZIYA’S WorkAlign® Suite can help your organization combat the unique requirements of the Chemical IndustryRequest a Demo with one of our experts now.

 

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