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Aspects of Shutdown Planning - Scoping, Kick-off & Identification

Plant Shutdown for a manufacturing or an energy company means a complete halt of operations which means the production lines are closed, hence no produce. But what does a plant shutdown mean to the maintenance function? Does plant shutdown mean that the maintenance operations also come to a halt? -No. On the contrary, plant shutdowns are planned to carry out maintenance and this activity is carried out in full swing. This needs to be carried out in a short time, as the production needs to be restored. To achieve this proper planning is required, as it takes production capacity off-line. Phases in shutdown planning can be broadly classified as PEP Planning, Execution and Post Execution.  This blog focuses on key factors to be considered through various phases of shutdown planning and execution that are put into use for effective plant shutdown.

Scoping: Shutdowns are not standalone and are of high impact on a cost front; hence the purpose of taking the plant to shutdown should be clearly known. To arrive at it, shutdown committee should be formed and the committee has to identify and appoint one person. This person's responsibility will be to collate the need for shutdown from across plant/department and present the scope to the committee. The scope should justify the need for shutdown, execution process, expected duration and health & safety measures that would be practiced. Note that the ultimate aim of shutdown should be to increase the Overall Equipment Efficiency and increase the Mean Time between Failures of critical equipment. Committee has to work around targeting the increase in OEE & MTBF. Any failure in shutdown would lead to negative business impact and show cases the execution strategy over a period of many years.

Kick-off: All the activities in the shutdown work around the execution dates. So, the activities should be scheduled in a manner in which all the parties involved should agree on the dates i.e., the team responsible (internal), the engineering team and the external contractor hired for this activity. All the main stakeholders have to determine and understand the scope of work that is required to be accomplished, the activities for pre-shutdown that are necessary, and the general logistics. Schedule is arrived after negotiation and all the stakeholders have to be informed to plan for the required resources. Miscommunication within the stakeholders can lead to shutdown failure. Hence proper communication between the stakeholders has to happen to know the status of progression of each stakeholder.

Identification: Once the schedule has been frozen determine the equipment's for shutdown. It is not that all the equipment can be brought down for service, but only the one's that are required can be serviced. Consider the below points to choose the right equipment
1. Does the equipment have a standby?
2. Can the internal team do the service/maintenance?
3. Does it directly impact the production?
If the answer to the above question is 'No' and it is 80% then the equipment can be considered for the shutdown activity. On identifying the equipment list down the activities to be performed on each equipment, identify owner/responsible for what and the order of execution. Order of execution should consider their complexity in bringing down the system and start up. As an example, we can consider food & beverage, pharma and most chemical manufacturing company's plant shutdowns, it is imperative to initiate systems that supply water for injection, then the one's that convert the supplied water to high-pressure steam and finally the one's that produce clean steam.

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