Through years of experience with power and chemical plant shutdowns, our experts understand that the process of successfully returning a plant to operation requires a well-executed plan, as well as the ability to respond to the unexpected. Processes that appear to be the most difficult to restart can immediately return back online without a hitch. Other processes that are seemingly simple to restart may require a unique approach or seasoned team to keep the overall schedule on track. Without a proper plan, the most mundane things seem to raise their ugly head and cause headaches of unimaginable proportions. For example, without a verification plan to ensure blanks or "fry pans" are not left in secondary flow lines, unseen problems may surface after the system has been restarted. As part of the plan, inexpensive technology such as RFID tags on every blank can be used to ensure that each one comes back out prior to starting up the process.
When faced with the unexpected, our engineers expand beyond the execution plan with a keen eye to identify anything that has changed. On one occasion, an insulation contractor had removed a few actuators to repair some piping insulation. When the contractor replaced the actuators, the butterfly valve and actuator were turned 180 degrees out of phase, causing the closed position to appear closed at the shaft and actuator hat, but actually reversing the butterfly against the backside of the seat. This caused the valve to leak at about 20% of normal flow while appearing as if the valve was completely shut. Since removal of the actuator was not part of the planned scope, the initial test plan did not look closely at the valve functionality. Expanding our view to "anything that has changed" revealed this error. When problems occur, the first question to ask is "What Changed?" Experience and the mindset of a detective will lead to solving these issues on startup.
As an integration firm with over 500 years of total engineering experience, we provide our customers with peace of mind knowing that we bring the experience of hundreds of plant startups to reference when restarting a facility. If you have an upcoming shutdown or automation system upgrade, let us bring this knowledge to your facility and assist your team with a successful startup.