25 Mar 2021

Want to Know How to Get More Benefit From Your Planned Maintenance Outages?

Want to know how to get more benefit from your planned maintenance outages_2688x1215

We get it. Downtime is a pain. You want production to be up and running at all times to maximize your profits. But you know that at some point a planned maintenance outage is necessary so you can avoid longer, unplanned outages in the future. So roll up your sleeves, get the work done, and get operations restarted as soon as possible.

But what if you could make more use of these outages? What if you could see them as a benefit rather than an essential hindrance?

It’s all about the planning

The difference between an unplanned outage and a planned outage is huge. If you think about it, a planned outage gives you the knowledge of hindsight before an event. Almost like a superpower.

An unplanned outage is going to take some or all of your operations offline for a period of time. By planning ahead, you can keep at least some systems running and reduce disruption to the absolute minimum. If necessary, you can also adjust your production schedules and liaise with external partners to ensure you continue to meet all your customers’ needs.

And once your maintenance plan is in place, you can also schedule in time to see if there are any opportunities for increasing efficiency in your operation.

The right solution for you

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to maintenance outages. Every organization has its own unique requirements depending on how much work will continue or if sensitive products or materials could be affected.

If production is going to continue, you’ll need to consider how the maintenance will affect your power usage and availability. It may be necessary to bring in temporary generators so that all bases can be covered.

And even if production is partially or completely stopped, you have to take temperature control and humidity into account, as if they’re not maintained that can lead to disastrous results. This can be a particular issue depending on the time of year and the current weather conditions. And especially if you are in the food and beverage industry.

You’ll almost certainly need to think about compressed air too, as virtually all manufacturing operations rely on it in some way. Just as with power, temporary solutions can be brought in to see you through your downtime window. It’s an area well worth spending more maintenance time on as hundreds of thousands of dollars can be saved by fixing leaks in compressed air systems.

Don’t cut corners

Safety and risk control are critical aspects of the day-to-day running of any manufacturing plant. Not only do you need to ensure correct procedures are followed to avoid any fines, but proper implementation will protect the health of all your workers and equipment, and increase long-term efficiency.

There might be a temptation to pay less attention to these details during a planned outage but, if anything, it’s even more important during this time. Industry standards like NFPA-70e are there to protect your workers and prevent injuries. And this is the perfect opportunity to check all your wiring and cabling and replace as necessary to avoid any potential issues in the future.

Unless it’s completely unavoidable, your power distribution system for normal operations should be kept separate from that for your maintenance project. Otherwise, there is simply too much risk of an overload causing extended downtime and outages. Invest the necessary resources into designing and modifying your sitemaps, generator schedules, and power load demands to avoid any problems.

And don’t forget to discuss your safety and risk control standards with any temporary utility providers who are assisting you during your maintenance window. They should be more than capable of sticking to all your requirements, but it’s important you talk it through with them in advance so there is no room for error.

Don’t be afraid

There’s really no need to be apprehensive of planned maintenance outages. With thorough planning and scheduling, they can run just as smoothly as your normal production operations. And if you choose the right temporary utilities provider they will work with you to not only ensure that all your required maintenance is successfully completed, but also to look for opportunities for increasing efficiency without the need for extra downtime.