Oct 5, 2015

Maximizing availability for industrial gas customers with dedicated services

Damien Ferrone
Damien Ferrone
Service Project Manager

The challenge in industrial gas production is to maximize uptime and uninterrupted supply of gases while ensuring safety, efficiency and profitability.

Oil refinery at night

Main industrial gas processes

When it comes to industrial gas we are dealing with several processes such as very demanding PSA (Pressure swing adsorption), VSA (Vacuum swing adsorption) and TSA (temperature swing adsorption) which require a perfect tightness with high cycle and fast response for the more demanding ones. Due to the high cycling process and shorts shutdowns special attention need to be put on maintenance programs and spare parts availability.

HyCO (Hydrogen & Carbon monoxide) plant produces hydrogen and carbon monoxide by reforming natural gas at high temperature. They are equipped with PSA to purify the produced hydrogen. Steam is also produced for process purposes. In this process valves are working in severe conditions, under high pressure and temperature and special attention is needed on steam, fuel, reformer feedstock and synthesis gas valves.

ASU (Air Separation unit) plant separates air into its primary components, end products being nitrogen, oxygen and several rare noble gases like argon, helium, krypton or xenon. The most common technology in this separation process is cryogenic distillation, which requires multiple stages of compression, purification, cooling and distillation. The major challenges of this multistage process are severe operational and environmental requirements, high range of temperature from very cold to hot and oxygen enriched atmosphere.

These plants are continuously supplying pure gas to refineries and chemical industries and need to be reliable at all times. Every unplanned shutdown has big consequences for product availability as well as financial profits.

The challenge in industrial gas production is to maximize uptime and uninterrupted supply of gases while ensuring safety, efficiency and profitability.

Reliable production is one of the fundamental parameters in fulfilling the contractual responsibilities for Industrial gas producers.

Industrial gas services

Today and more than ever our Industrial gas customers are challenging maintenance costs while improving efficiency and availability of the production tool.

As an answer to our customers needs, we are working closely with them by providing tailored services with high expertise and knowledge.

Optimized use of resources

Installed base audit: Assess and record installed base information with recommendations of upgrades

An audit is conducted on customer site, devices are visually checked and all information such as serial number and accessories are reported and kept for further use. Obsolete devices are identified and available device upgrades are submitted to customer.

Criticality analysis: Critical devices to the production process, spare parts needs and maintenance plan defined

Based on the installed base audit information, process conditions, device use and maintenance history are added. Criticality level of each device is defined based on the safety and production impact. Regarding the criticality level spare parts needs and maintenance plans are defined in order to prevent failures and reduce the downtime in case of a breakdown.

Inventory audit: Stock items checked and condition reported

Customer inventory is checked to estimate spare parts coverage. Condition of spare parts is verified and information are updated and recorded.

Reduced maintenance costs

Modernizations and upgrades: Correct installation and configuration of modernized or upgraded devices

Following the recommendations made in the previous step device upgrade are conducted following an agreed plan. Installed base is harmonized; obsolete devices are modernized or replaced by new. A lifecycle plan can be agreed to identify when a device need to be upgraded to ensure his efficiency and the availability of spare parts.

Inventory set-up: Stock items optimized according valve criticality and device lifecycle

Optimal inventory contents are defined according to criticality analysis recommendations and spare parts consumption history. The spare parts coverage is extended and costs are optimized by removing obsolete items and stocking just necessary spares.

Extended runtime between shutdowns

Service centers: Valve repair and maintenance to meet original performance

Skilled service technicians conduct an identification of the devices’ damages, the root causes and required repairs. Information is stored in the system to ensure traceability on the long term.

They follow a procedure to ensure the job is perfectly done according Neles’ and customer’s standards to maximize the equipment’s lifespan. The High quality repairs are supported by a 12 months warranty.

Repairs can also be done on oxygen devices as Services centers are certified for Oxygen cleaning.

Spare parts: Genuine spare parts replacement and related know-how for Neles products

Spare parts are manufactured according to original manufacturers’ processes and customer’s material specifications to meet the requirements set by authorities. Together with skillful repair work it is ensured that the product specifications will be met. The manufacturing process of the spare parts uses the same manufacturing methods as when the product was originally manufactured to guarantee the high quality. This will ensure safe and reliable operation and no costly rework is needed caused by counterfeit parts.

Maximum availability

Device management: Repairs and stock items are managed on a daily basis

Once the foundations have been settled and information is available from the previous steps a total management can be done. Spare parts stock and repairs are managed by Neles following the partnership concluded with the customer to ensure the availability and update of component/devices at all times. Total cost of ownership is optimized while maximizing plant operation.

No unplanned shutdowns

Intelligent maintenance: Maintenance actions are taken based on criticality and device condition 

Based on the device criticality and defined maintenance plan the intelligent maintenance goes deeper to determine the exact wearing condition of devices. Once the state of the device is known it is easier to conduct cost-effective maintenance by only maintaining equipment according to the needs. The maintenance plan is adapted to the valve's disturbing process and on preventive work to avoid failures.

Several tools are used to determine accurate equipment’s state, from on-site condition checking to automatic monitoring with smart devices. To support these tasks skilled Neles people conduct data collection from time to time or are present at the customer site for a required period to help customers preparing the maintenance operations for the coming shutdowns.

This blog post has been up-dated in July 2020, due to company name change to Neles.

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