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Products and solutions, 2005-07-07, 07:30 AM

Stop and go

The northern part of the Bayernoil refinery in Neustadt, which was completely shutdown for three weeks in April for routine maintenance, encompasses 25,000 square meters of surfaces and numerous columns, heat exchangers and tanks. For this project, about 1,200 employees from different firms and representing different trades were working on site - an extremely large number. To coordinate this volume of manpower and work smoothly and efficiently while observing the strict safety regulations, a good deal of experience and proven logistical systems were required. This task was entrusted to ThyssenKrupp Plant Services. For this shutdown, also known as a turnaround, the company was Bayernoil´s chief contractor.

The industrial service provider specializing in maintenance and the planning and implementation of shutdowns of oil refineries and chemical facilities can look back on 30 years of business experience. In its Southern Region, the Gelsenkirchen-based company has set up its own Shutdown Department under the management of Jürgen Schuh, who has just completed with flying colors the biggest shutdown undertaking in the company´s history with four parallel turnarounds. It is from here that all the turnarounds in Germany and throughout Europe are coordinated. With over 300 successfully accomplished major shutdowns in the chemical and petrochemical industries to date, ThyssenKrupp Plant Services is a company very much in demand in this field.

Flexible manpower deployment

As the main contractor, ThyssenKrupp Plant Services is responsible for the entire coordination of personnel. The special challenge for the service provider during such a shutdown is that of getting the right number of men to the right place at the right time. Planning this ad hoc is practically impossible. For this reason the Shutdown Department in Ingolstadt resorts to the planning software developed in the company itself, e.g. its own CAPMAN program.

To prevent workload accumulations, staff is usually taken on as required during such shutdowns. So that it can react quickly in tight situations, the Southern Region can fall back at any time on a pool of about five to ten permanent partner and manpower leasers. Project Manager Richard Wolfstädter and Regional Manager Andreas Freutsmiedl value this highly. "In the case of Bayernoil, we based our plans on 195 employees. However, as a result of unplanned and unforeseen work, we needed 356 employees on only the third day of the shutdown so that we could stay on target. In such situations it is hugely important for us to be able to rely on our partner companies."

Safety first

On site, safety has top priority - even eclipsing flexibility and quality. In the context of the safety management system (SCC), each employee is instructed by ThyssenKrupp Plant Services and also receives a detailed safety briefing before starting work at the Bayernoil refinery. In addition there are so-called toolbox meetings that take place every day and are obligatory. This is where the ThyssenKrupp Plant Services group leaders introduce their staff to current safety themes and devote about 10 minutes to training on them. Work procedures are clearly defined by recurrent rules. With the aid of a constantly present safety expert on site, the HSEQ Manager, ThyssenKrupp Plant Services can assure itself, its employees and the customer that all the applicable regulations are observed and any questions or problems that arise are settled and resolved on the spot.

PC-based planning

Efficiently coordinating about 360 workers and making sure that the time-scale set by the client is kept to during the project demands organizational skills and the right computer software. To this end ThyssenKrupp Plant Services uses software like the CAPMAN planning system, which it developed internally. With this program, the planning team is in a position to plan and record every work step and the personnel required for this in advance and to the nearest hour. The outcome is a huge master plan showing all the jobs involved in the overall inspection. These plans are highly detailed - every work step is precisely defined to the hour, weeks in advance of the start of inspection.

Only in this way was it possible in April, during the Bayernoil shutdown in Neustadt, to take responsibility for two more major shutdowns and one "short" of 120 hours concurrently. For the turnaround specialists, this was the biggest shutdown undertaking in the company´s history. Over a period of four weeks, a total of 800 employees were in action simultaneously at Shell in Heide and Cologne, at Basell in Münchsmünster and at Bayernoil in Neustadt. A huge logistical achievement - planned and successfully accomplished by the turnaround department in Ingolstadt. "We´re highly satisfied with the punctuality and quality delivered by ThyssenKrupp Plant Services," reports Günter Sachs-Weingärtner, Maintenance Manager at Basell. "Particularly striking is the flexibility of their staff. During the short shutdown at our plant, it was essential for production reasons to keep strictly to the tight schedule. Despite unforeseen events, the team did a magnificent job, working overtime and night shifts. A great achievement!"

At Bayernoil in Neustadt, Project Manager Richard Wolfstädter checks project processes every day with the CAPMAN software. All the work completed during the day is entered in the system and evaluated. The evaluation shows precisely whether the shutdown team is ahead of, on or behind schedule. If one team is ahead of plan, the staff is redeployed in those areas where a slower team is lagging behind, so as to get everything back on track.

ThyssenKrupp Plant Services can never afford a delay in the overall time-scale set by the customer. Every extra day that the inspection takes is enormously costly for the plant operator, and the shutdown team´s reputation would be ruined. However, in the 300 major shutdowns to date, this has never happened. This may well be due to the experienced shutdown team and the particularly careful selection of subcontractors and employees from manpower leasers. "For shutdown projects we are only interested in companies with whom we have had good experience over many years and most of whose staff we know," explains Andreas Freutsmiedl. "The refinery and petrochemicals sector is extremely sensitive. There´s no alternative to highly skilled staff."

All-round service for the customer

The customer Bayernoil can rely on ThyssenKrupp Plant Services not only for skilled staff. The shutdown specialist also handles the entire job scheduling. This includes among other things obtaining tools and the necessary machines. The service provider brings all this itself and sets up its own tool magazine on site where the workers can help themselves at any time. ThyssenKrupp Plant Services also has the task of supplying the necessary cranes and scaffolds. The customer is merely responsible for procuring the replacement and spare parts fitted in the aftermath of inspection of the installations. Everything else is part of the perfect, all-round service.

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