Palmer Tool - HVOF, Thermal Spray, ASME Welding, Contract Maintenance Provider
Tips For Managing a Plant Shutdown and Finding The Right Company To Help With Maintenance and Repairs…

When a plant shuts down, it is not a pleasant time for employees or the company as the business slows production at an extra cost. When a company needs to have their equipment inspected, it will need to be shut down. During this time, repairs and maintenance are done on the equipment. We help plants plan and implement their specific shutdowns using differing approaches.

Types of Shutdowns

  • Planned Shutdown – This is planned in advance and is considered an investment, not just a cost. It will be completed regularly, depending on what needs to be done.
  • Emergency Shutdown – This is not a good thing; it occurs when something terrible has occurred and the only way to fix it is to stop production for a time. If you keep regular maintenance, an emergency shutdown will be less likely. Shutdowns can either be full or partial. If a company doesn’t require a complete stop in production, you could shut down part of it while repairing the other.

Make A List Of Priorities

  • Is there a lockout plan?
  • Who oversees this plan?
  • What devices or systems need service?
  • Who needs access to the device or system? Can the workers work at the same time? Is there a certain order to work?
  • What is the scope of the repairs needed?
  • Provide a “Resource Package.”
  • List the safety requirements for your site.
  • Have a map of your site available.
  • List hotels in the area.
  • How can we help your plant save money during a shutdown?
  • Work orders are provided ahead of time. These should also contain instructions for the work that needs to be done.
  • Use safety teams to work as a hole watch and fire watch.
  • You can put a scaffold up before the shutdown to save time. It can be there for all inspections or any other needs.
  • Plan and schedule lifts and keep the cranes there when each contractor needs them instead of having each contractor bring their own and have them in each other’s way.

5 Phases To A Plant Shutdown

  • Phase 1 – Planning And Scheduling Are Done Pre-Shutdown: Gather the team. Include those from different departments to get a full picture and pick up things that could be a problem during the shutdown. These include engineers, QA, safety, procurement, manufacturing operations, validating operations, and QC. Make a list of everything that needs to be checked. Who will be the one checking, how long it will take, and what do they need to use? Send a notification to let the plant know what to expect. It doesn’t have to be detained completely, there can be more information forthcoming. Using the list, make a timeline for the scheduled events during the shutdown. Get the contractors and have them sign contracts. Have them be explicit about what is needed. Prepare for things that are not expected. Make it clear who will be handing it over to who. Have proper signs showing what is shut down in the plant. Have a plan for what to do with the garbage.
  • Phase 2 -Preparing The Plant For Shutdown By Declassification And Handover: Have a list of projects that need to be done to prepare for the shutdown. Clear the space if needed. Move things that need to be moved, if something cannot be moved, cover it.
  • Phase 3 – Monitor The Schedule And Daily Change What Does Not Work: Make sure your plant is set up for safety. Check the PPE that is required. The only people who get in are the ones that need to be in. Verify work when completed. Create a committee that manages the schedule and helps with problems that may arise. This committee should have a plan to make, a review, and an adjustment. At the end of the day, they should check and see if the timeline is being followed and what issues have arisen and what can be done.
  • Phase 4 – Prepare To Resume Operations As Soon As Possible: Double-check all work and clean the plant completely. Clean the HVAC system to avoid contamination that may have occurred during the shutdown. Perform an inspection of the whole plant. Sign off and hand the plant back to operation.
  • Phase 5 – Present The Report After The Shutdown: Make sure that all equipment is functioning properly. Some of the devices may be reset and need adjustments.

What Should Be Included In The Post Report Shutdown?

  • Executive summary: This should include a review of what problems occurred as well as what went well.
  • Completed checklists from the handovers covering all activities that passed.
  • Engineering status
  • Environmental controls
  • Validation status, all need to be verified.
  • Changes to the timeline and show why they were changed.
  • Environmental controls.

This report is submitted for final approval to the leaders of the shutdown, including the plant owner.

A Few More Crucial Things To Remember About Shutdowns

No matter the type of shutdown that is happening, the management needs to have the operating schedule as a top priority. This ensures that the shutdown doesn’t mess with other jobs. A detailed plan of the work needed to be done during the shutdown should be used in conjunction with scheduling so that the tradesmen and contractors can be a part of the planning process. This is especially important with plants that work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Make sure you have enough planning time before the shutdown occurs for it to be a successful shutdown. Some plants have safety concerns, they will need to have a specialist on-site to test for risk of exposure.

Plants shut down to give the operators a chance to repair and prevent problems from occurring before they do. If not, an unplanned shutdown may occur and cause high costs, or injuries to the workers. It is important to have the correct documents. This includes the lists of the work that needs to be done during the shutdown, the process, the permits, schedules, and budgets. It should also include all isolation and vessel-entry well as contact information for who is responsible for what.

How The Palmer Companies Help With Shutdowns and Outages

By leaning on our decades of experience, Palmer has become highly skilled at completing projects during plant shut-downs and outages. Whether you are shutting down a single machine, a production line, or your entire site, Palmer understands the unique challenges and time pressures inherent to outage work. When your company management is depending on your project to be completed safely, on-time, and to spec, you can depend on Palmer to make it happen.
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