Emerson Exchange

LyondellBasell Claims 'Reliability Program of the Year' Honors

LyondellBasell's Mission Is to Provides Engineering and Maintenance to the Site and to Proactively Maintain All of the Assets to Achieve Equipment Reliability

By Mike Bacidore

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How much would a 10% savings in maintenance and operations at your plant be worth? At the LyondellBasell chemical plant in Channelview, Texas, it merited recognition as the Emerson Reliability Program of the Year. "Our budgets have not increased since 2009," explained Christopher Ryan, reliability engineering manager of the award-winning facility. "Avoided downtime is estimated between 3% and 5% annually. This is a chemical plant. Everyone knows you have to do turnarounds. This plant's going on 11 years without one."

LyondellBasell's program is one of four semifinalists presented live this week at the Emerson Global Users Exchange in Orlando, Florida. Initially, 84 companies submitted entries, which included a 15-page questionnaire about their reliability programs. "We evaluated those and narrowed it down to a list of eight," explained Augie DiGiovanni, vice president, reliability strategic accounts, at Emerson Process Management. "Those eight companies then got a one-day, on-site assessment visit from the Emerson team, which then determined the 'Final Four,' who came to the Exchange to present their programs."

The other semifinalists included Celanese in Narrows, Virginia; Consolidated Edison in New York; and Praxair in The Woodlands, Texas. The program participants were judged on criteria including demonstration of an integrated maintenance philosophy, documented return on investment, effective work process flows, effective use of technologies and good communications.

LyondellBasell met those requirements and more. "We have 2,000 acres, more than 600 employees and over 77,000 pieces of equipment," said Ryan. "Our mission is to provide engineering and maintenance to the site and to proactively maintain all of the assets to achieve equipment reliability. We don't treat reliability as just our department. It's a team function with operations, maintenance and reliability all involved."

The plant's diagnostic technology includes Emerson's AMS Suite software, valve signatures, infrared thermography, oil analysis, vibration analysis, risk-based inspection, ultrasonic leak detection, radiography and nondestructive testing. "For failure analysis, we use root cause failure analysis and materials analysis," said Ryan. "You have to have a good work process. Our SAP CMMS [computerized maintenance management system] is fully integrated, and we use best practices in work order notification and management. We're looking to integrate AMS Suite software with Meridium. We're going to pilot it in one of our other plants and then roll it out across the company."

The Channelview facility has more than 10,000 pieces of equipment that have been classified as safety-critical, regulatory-critical, accounting-critical and/or quality-critical.

"For planning and scheduling, everything is prioritized by criticality," explained Ryan. "For every failure, we want to bring those codes into SAP. Then we can use Meridium to sift through them, so we know where the systemic issues are. We perform formal root cause failure analysis and failure mode and effects analysis when required, especially where we're implementing new, large systems."

When it attempted to optimize its lubrication preventive maintenance (PM) activities, the LyondellBasell plant found 202 unnecessary ones that were deleted and 459 missing ones that were added. And yet, PM hours decreased by 50%. "The execution and scheduling are where we made those up," explained Ryan. "We optimized our electrical PMs and achieved a 30% reduction in high-voltage PM hours. Instrument PM optimization took us from 35,000 PM hours to 25,000, a 28% reduction, which is a million dollars in cost savings."

Yearly reliability at the plant rose from 93.26% in 2011 to 99.49% in 2013. An example of how the plant increased reliability and availability is with mean time between repairs on pumps, which increased by more than 42% over the past three years.

"AMS Suite software is key," said Ryan. "Since we've implemented it, we've improved our PMs by another 35% and improved calibration efficiencies by 15%. In 2014, we identified a problem with a boiler control transmitter that avoided an estimated production impact of $5 million, as well as potential equipment damage."