Productive downtime

Extraordinary and extreme: After years of preparation, every step taken in a general inspection has to be just right

Anyone who has an opportunity to experience a general inspection finds themselves in an impressive setting. The scene is generally a hive of activity – even though production is at a standstill. Tall cranes and scaffolding are the main features of a project in which – depending on the size – hundreds of specialists are at work. A well-orchestrated checking, screwing and welding. Increasingly, the tight time-frame for the shutdown is also used for the implementation of modifications and expansions. This raises complexity and the demands on technical service providers. General inspections, often called turnarounds, are therefore referred to as the ultimate maintenance discipline.

Notable customers

As an international industrial services provider with extensive expertise and its own personnel resources, Bilfinger is well positioned to set standards in this demanding field. Customers such as Borealis, BP, Essar, Exxon Mobil, Huntsman, Ineos, Neste as well as Syngenta and Total are among those who rely on these services. The list of regions where turnarounds are regularly planned and executed ranges from European countries like Germany, Belgium and the UK as well as the Middle East and the USA. The scope of services delivered by Bilfinger comprises planning in the preparation and follow-up, support in the shut down and start up of the plant, services in the execution phase as well as management services, including management of subcontractors. Logistics matters also demand empirical knowledge and concentration when it comes to implementation.

Flawless record

This includes planning of the construction site installation, the cleaning and storage of plant components, provision of the necessary personnel resources, tools, materials and equipment, safety instructions or the organization of required work permits in the plants. Occupational safety is of utmost importance, particularly for turnarounds and the associated risks. With this focus, the Germany-based company Bilfinger Maintenance has mastered its turnarounds over the course of ten years without a reportable accident.

One particular aspect, and this may seem odd in light of the enormous planning efforts, is the flexibility needed to solve unexpected difficulties. Based on experience, this relates to only a small percentage of tasks that arise only in the course of the inspection work.

Here, the focus is on finding short-term solutions and making sound decisions. As an experienced service partner, Bilfinger helps its customers take this into account in the capacity planning. Only in this way can it be ensured that major projects such as turnarounds can be successfully implemented on time and within the planned budget for all concerned.

3 questions for Herman Holme

Explained briefly: What is the Bilfinger Turnaround Concept?
With the Bilfinger Turnaround Concept (BTC), we optimally implement the general inspection of plants in the process industry. Our customers save time and a great deal of money. With BTC we are setting the next standard after our Bilfinger Maintenance Concept (BMC).

What is special about it?
The flexibility of the concept and the tested standard are based on collected knowledge. All of the experience gathered from turnarounds completed in recent decades flows into the BTC.

How does it work in practice?
In addition to a manual, we have developed an app to monitor the progress of the project and for interface management. In combination with a web application, deviations to the plan are visible at all times and the coordination of the various trades is guaranteed.

Hermann Holme is Managing Director at Bilfinger Maintenance GmbH.

published in issue 04.2018

Further articles from issue 04.2018