Empowering Decision Makers with a Proactive Analyzer Plan

Benjamin Taylor

BENJAMIN TAYLOR is the Control Systems Department Manager for Anvil Corporation. Taylor has more than 16 yr in the oil and gas industry, based out of Bellingham, Washington. He holds a BS degree in chemical engineering from Montana State University-Bozeman.

Article Originally Published Sep. 2022 - HYDROCARBON PROCESSING

Empowering Decision Makers with a Proactive Analyzer Plan

 

For most refinery facility managers, the demands of running plants efficiently, meeting environmental regulations and maximizing returns on product specifications challenge even the most disciplined of professionals. Managers whose schedules are consumed with urgent matters needing immediate attention are challenged to find time for proactive preventive maintenance, especially for necessary and mandated analyzers.

Despite their vital role in plant operations and protecting health and safety, most analyzer systems do not receive the resources they deserve. Decisionmakers may be hesitant to make large-scale investments in the operations, maintenance and upgrades of analyzers; poor (or no) business cases showing long-term returns on investment or lack of defined risks connecting analyzer failure to financial cost are usually the underlying culprits. As a result, complex analyzer systems often run deep into obsolescence with multitudes of band-aid fixes and are upgraded only at last resort. Projects are then executed with rushed schedules and shoestring budgets because they were never part of the master plan.

Ironically, these installations end up costing the plant more money than if the system upgrade had been scheduled and planned. Reactive maintenance always costs more than proactive maintenance. Any plant manager can probably relate to the ever-present threat of being snake-bit by an emergency analyzer upgrade project with limited options, high cost and high visibility, such as an emergency replacement of continuous emissions monitoring systems replacement.

If your plant has numerous process and regulatory analyzers, there is a better way. If decision makers can be convinced of the value in an up-front effort to perform holistic surveys on analyzers and related equipment and establish a long-term upgrade schedule, facility managers can reverse the cyclical pattern of putting out fires and begin to reap the long-term benefits of a carefully calibrated maintenance plan.

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