Chemical plant turnarounds, or shutdowns, are planned or emergency events in chemical plants that stop all operations to address maintenance concerns such as cleaning, inspection, and repair. These periods of nonproduction are crucial for maintaining chemical plant effectiveness and, most important, safe operation.
Routine turnarounds are planned total or partial plant shutdown periods. These breaks are critical for allowing contractors and employees to perform regular plant upkeep to keep facilities running safely and effectively. Turnarounds are often necessary for personnel to perform tasks they can only accomplish during nonoperation periods. The official regulatory body governing each specific plant also often mandates shutdowns.
Occasionally, though, emergency situations also force chemical plant shutdowns. If one or more key plant elements break or are leaking or malfunctioning, an emergency shutdown may be necessary to protect the health and safety of employees and the environment. Emergency shutdowns are often imperative to prevent situations from worsening.
Shutdowns, while necessary, can be very costly in terms of the labor and expertise required to complete the work as well as production losses during closures. It’s crucial facility leaders avoid emergency shutdowns and plan turnarounds so they run as smoothly as possible to reduce any extraneous downtime. Plant managers should consider these key safety and regulatory components when planning for turnarounds:
- Planning — Before a routine shutdown, managers should plan and strategize to maximize the event for efficiency, repairs, and upgrades. If the plant must be nonoperational, it’s wise to take advantage of this opportunity to address any necessary updates or repairs.
- Safety — Safety must be the first and foremost priority in any plant shutdown. Just because the plant is no longer running, it does not mean the plant is completely safe. It’s crucial to be aware of safety concerns including chemicals, potential contamination hazards, and many other dangers that might be lurking in the plant.
- Education — During a shutdown, it’s likely many additional contractors and technicians will be entering the plant. It’s imperative to educate them on plant hazards and shutdown goals to ensure the turnaround runs safely and smoothly.
- Efficiency — Shutdowns are expensive and can greatly affect plant operators’ bottom lines. Make routine and emergency shutdowns as efficient as possible to get the plant up and running again in a timely fashion.
- Prevention — A shutdown is a perfect time to implement preventive measures to keep the plant safe and viable in the future. Double check safety measures, including corrosion prevention features, and make upgrades to improve the plant. Taking preventive measures can protect your plant from emergency shutdowns in the future.
Despite interrupting regular production and being a costly exercise, the shutdown is a very important piece of successfully running and managing a safe chemical plant. Implementing preventive measures, including safety checks, proper equipment inspections, as well as regular upkeep and maintenance can help plant leaders avoid emergency shutdowns.
For more information about how we can help protect your plant from emergency shutdowns and maximize your routine turnarounds, please contact us through our website or call us at 765.459.4194. At Moon Fabricating Corporation, every job we do is customized for you.