It's no secret that many industrial facilities have an annual outage period, also referred to as a shutdown or a 'turnaround', during which production slows or ceases entirely and maintenance repairs take place across the entire facility.
This can be an extremely stressful time for everyone involved in facility maintenance, operations, and even management. As the single, most expensive operating cost that the company will typically incur in a year, there is always pressure to reduce costs, and the outage’s time length is a critical factor. No production means no revenue, so it is understandable that companies want down time kept to a minimum.
Since there is little or no production to worry about interrupting, it is tempting for many employees to add projects to the shutdown period that they were unable to complete earlier in the year. If this were a single occurrence, it might not be a big deal, but when multiple people start adding projects, it can very quickly extend the size and scope of your shutdown to the point where it delays getting the facility back online. Again, the more time that the plant can be generating revenue, the better, so any non-essential projects that are lumped in with the shutdown will extend the outage time and could therefore be considered wasteful.
If your facility uses steam or hot water, then performing maintenance on your boiler is probably considered a big item that is included in the shutdown. It is true that—like anything else mechanical—boilers need maintenance, and most jurisdictions require that your pressure vessels be inspected & have the safety valves tested on an annual basis, so the shutdown can also be the designated time to check these items off the list. However, if you are pressed to decrease your down-time or avoid tasks that could be completed later, then there is another option available to you: renting equipment. By running your connections to a suitable outside location in advance, a rental boiler (or a deaerator, condensate return tank, etc.) can be set in place and quickly connected, allowing production to continue while you take care of maintenance or inspection items on your own equipment. Outside of your shutdown period, if you have a problematic part that is giving you cause for concern, the option to quickly tie in a rental unit while you take care of your service issues will also give you a means to keep everyone happy: you can perform your desired maintenance and the rest of the facility can keep on running as usual with no down time.
No matter what your role is within the organization, identifying and reducing waste is a responsibility that everyone shares, and making things run more efficiently pays off. Simply put, at the end of the day the goal is to keep production running so that your business can make money. So if you have the option to remove some stress & reduce down time during the planned shutdown periods, all while simultaneously ensuring that the necessary work on your equipment can get done, you may find that you save yourself a lot of trouble in the long-run. Consider all of your options and implement a solution that works best for you and your company.
Check out WARE's video on rental contingency, here.