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Best Practices – Maintenance


Process optimization and operator performance can get the most attention when trying to optimize the unit.  However, ensuring maintenance practices are well defined and ready at a moments notice can have a significant impact on the bottom line of the unit.  Preventative maintenance, planning and execution, turnaround planning, field execution efficiency and safety, and emergency breakdown preparedness have special considerations when dealing with a semi-batch process like the delayed coker.  If we couple this with a highly manual, fouling service, and cyclic loaded equipment, we arrive at the conclusion that the maintenance staff needs to be specially trained to deal with the nuances of the delayed coker.  Implementing maintenance related best practices will improve the overall unit performance.

An example that comes up in many facilities is jet pump (aka cutting or decoking pump) reliability.  Ensuring operators and maintenance are properly operating and preventatively maintaining this complex and typically unspared pump is mission critical to the unit.  There are only a few vendors who supply such equipment and generally can point to sites which are highly reliable.  What differentiates the reliable sites from the unreliable sites?  Operations and maintenance practices is a good place to look.

Each plant should consider the inevitable, the jet pump failure.  Are you ready?  The OEM vendors have designed their equipment so it can have a complete bundle replacement in under 24 hours with a warehouse spare.  But who among to the community has been able to pull this off?  Not many but it is possible with proper planning and practice.  The planning process can also extend to preparing for a temporary vendor to bring in back-up pumps.  By preparing for this scenario, the unit can be up and running again with less disruption.  These concepts are not limited to the jet pump but all the specialized equipment at the coker.  We have experience setting up this program for the jet pump and other coker equipment.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your plant improve its maintenance practices, please contact us at

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