Plant Shutdowns – An Important Safety Measure To Take

Scheduled maintenance of machinery can help prevent future machine failure and unscheduled downtime.  During a plant shutdown, the plant will be completely out of service so that the maintenance can be performed.  Shutdowns are usually planned and it stops all processing and operations.  This is done for general maintenance, renovations, or upgrades to the plant facility.  When these shutdowns are scheduled, they are more commonly known as turnarounds.  Typically these turnarounds are only set every three to five years.  Each time a turnaround is scheduled, the company still needs to ensure safe practices and make sure that skilled laborers are still available, even though the plant is not in operation.

Turnarounds can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the type of maintenance or work that needs to be performed.  Plant shutdowns can cause a lot of stress and can also cause certain supply and demand restrictions, depending on the industry.

If proper maintenance is not done it could result in extra costs and lost profit.  It needs to be done quickly and efficiently in order to preserve the plant’s overall integrity and performance.  The phases involved in a plant shutdown include strategic and detailed planning, organization, execution, and closeout.  The planning phase is an overview of what will take place and will outline what is to be expected.  Tasks are then distributed, and when the work is finished the reports are drawn up and outline and analyze the results of the shutdown. The planning stage is essential to the process.  Maintenance usually cannot be done while the plant in in operation.  Shutdowns are the ideal time to fix, upgrade, or even overhaul the plant’s systems.  While the plant is not operational, additional safety practices can also be put into place while increasing productivity and efficiency.

Periodic maintenance is extremely important to maintain processing systems and lower the costs that could be associated with any machine failure that could arise due to neglect.  Scheduled maintenance is done to improve equipment, apply any updates to the systems, and eliminate any future shutdowns.  A shutdown is also the opportune time to ensure that all backup generators are in proper working order, along with the plant’s power systems.

Maintenance is often overlooked.  People tend to put it in the back of their minds if everything, at the time, is working and no problems have been found.  People perform regular maintenance on their cars to ensure the vehicle’s longevity; the same concept should be applied to a plant or any other business.  Regular maintenance ensures that your business continues to run smoothly and seamlessly.

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