Mitigating Challenges in Plant Shutdowns, Turnarounds, and Outages (STOs)

Plant shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages (STOs) have grown more complex lately due to labor shortages and parts procurement issues. In the Processing article titled “Rethinking shutdown, turnaround, and outage planning,” I explore these challenges and offer strategies for smoother STO execution.

STO Overview STOs involve sizable staff and condensed maintenance work into a short span. Intricate planning is crucial, yet complications arise in our post-Covid era, demanding innovative strategies to avoid major disruptions.

Supply Challenges Supply chain disruptions have led to irregular lead times and fewer stocked parts. Unexpected damage discoveries during STOs now risk halting production until replacements are found or alternate solutions devised.

Additionally, securing skilled contractor teams for STO tasks has become a challenge due to their bookings months in advance.

Strategic STO Adjustments Foreseeing challenges, proactive plants have adopted strategies like stocking more spare parts, standardizing part makes/models, early planning, what-if analysis, and shorter, limited outages.

STO Pitfalls Certain mistakes can lead to startup delays and unreliable operation, such as purchasing counterfeit parts or hiring uncertified contractors for repairs beyond their expertise.

Effective STOs in a Changing Landscape Advance planning and deploying these strategies are crucial for successful STOs. Engaging knowledgeable partners helps in evaluating plant needs, identifying required parts, and overseeing work within their expertise. For valve services, explore Emerson’s service network and Accredited Service Providers.

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