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Turnaround maintenance – looking for solutions across industries

Helena Kortelainen, Antti Rantala & Pasi Valkokari

Novel technologies and software solutions could help turnaround managers across industries to optimize the shutdown processes and to cope with communication challenges.

Turnaround maintenance is a major maintenance activity in which plants are shut down to for a certain period of time to carry out inspections, repair work and upgrading or replacement investments. Major shutdowns, which typically are carried out annually (or even more seldom) may involve hundreds or even thousands of professionals from a number of contractor and service provider companies. The external workforce must be familiarized in a shortest time with the plant assets, safety issues and the jobs to be done. Before the shutdown starts, huge amount of working hours have already been spent to plan and schedule the activities to the last detail, and to acquire necessary resources.

Majority of the commercial turnaround maintenance software build on project management methodologies and provide the basic functionalities for planning, schedule management, cost management and reporting. The most comprehensive software solutions provide advanced solutions for communication, and solutions are modular and they can be customized. Solutions for improving and streamlining the communication, sharing relevant information for all professionals and stakeholders, sending announcements and reporting are commonly applied in some industries. For instance, seamless operations in a construction site call for capabilities to manage various subcontractors and to coordinate a variety of simultaneous tasks. The construction industry has made use of both structured software solutions and various free-of-charge applications for informal communication.

In process industries, optimizing and scheduling the work with the external companies, contractors and service providers remains a challenge. The turnaround process would benefit from more visual technologies to illustrate the properties and maintenance needs of an asset. In this area, several technologies could provide means to bring in external expertise. Often delays in schedule and budget overruns are attributed to miscommunication between different stakeholders – developing novel solutions together and sharing good practices across industries will benefit all. We have collected more information on the Solutions for information sharing within turnaround maintenance in a State-of-Practice report. The report is available here.