Does Your Plan Have a Turnaround Manual?

By Robert J. Motylenski

In the process industry, plant and process unit turnarounds are major undertakings and have significant impact on the maintenance expenses and future plant operations. They also affect operating and maintenance performance metrics. The cost of a turnaround is the single biggest annual maintenance expense a process plant can expect to encounter. In addition to the maintenance expense, there is lost revenue because the process unit or plant is shut down during the turnaround. In order to minimize the business losses, it is important that the planning, scheduling, and execution for the turnaround is done in an efficient manner.

With the time period between turnarounds usually very long, the procedures for planning the turnaround are generally forgotten and the personnel doing the planning are usually different from the previous turnaround. Any lessons learned from previous turnarounds are generally forgotten if they are not documented. It doesn’t matter whether plant personnel or contractors do the planning. Documenting turnaround procedures can improve turnaround performance and ensure that consistent planning and Best Practices are implemented in each turnaround.

The purpose of the Turnaround Manual is to document procedures and practices that are to be used in planning, executing, and closing out a turnaround. Through the application of consistent practices, the plant will be able to plan and execute turnarounds more effectively and efficiently, resulting in lower costs and better overall turnaround performance. The Turnaround Manual includes sections for all aspects of a turnaround, from planning the plan, to work scope generation, contracting, and execution. Typically, nineteen sections are included in a Turnaround Manual. Each section includes key elements, plant procedures and practices, Best Practices, and actions required by the organization.

Carmagen Engineering has experience in preparing turnaround manuals and in populating them with proven Best Practices. All the practices included in the manual are based on experience and have proven to be successful in lowering turnaround cost
and reducing turnaround duration. While the typical Best Practices are universally applicable, information that is contained in the Turnaround Manual is also tailored to meet the specific needs and preferences of the plant location. As a result of preparing a Turnaround Manual with a European refinery, the refinery has improved its planning procedures by applying the Best Practices that are incorporated in the manual.