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Efficient Maintenance means Practice, Practice, Practice

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While diving down a YouTube hole last night, I came across this video, “Fastest Pit Stop Award: 2016 Formula 1.” Notice how everyone knows their position and actions down pat.

Then YouTube brought me to this video, “Pit Stop Fails of All Time”. I would bring particular attention to the one at 3:15. The link should jump you right there. Notice how one slip up can have disastrous consequences.

It got me thinking about my business, refining and in particular delayed coking. In the delayed coker, we have a very specific and often quite short maintenance time window during each cycle to get something fixed. If that wasn’t complicated enough, that time window is a moving target based on cut times or other unit conditions.

Some units we work with have detailed maintenance plans broken down by timeline, craft, spare parts, and tools required for certain critical jobs that we can expect on a DCU. It is literally a play book that has been practiced and sits on the maintenance planner’s shelf ready to be executed at a moment’s notice.

A perfect example of this is a broken cutting tool. Let’s say it sticks in the intermediate position or gets jammed with coke fines…. that could never happen, right? How long would it take to change at your plant? Best I have seen is less than 1 hour from the time it is diagnosed until cutting resumes.

We, Coker people, are good at breaking things. I think that is safe to say universally. We need to be equally good at fixing them and we can learn a thing or two from Formula 1.
See you all in Texas at RefComm Galveston 2016 in a couple of weeks.

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Posted by: Evan Hyde

Evan Hyde is the director of field services for He previously was president of C2 Nano Technology where they researched surface treatments to combat fouling & corrosion issues in cokers & other petrochemical process units. He was a Senior Engineering Advisor for Becht Engineering Co., Inc. and has consulted on processing improvement and reliability initiatives for coking clients around the world. Prior to joining Becht, Evan worked for ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, as a process engineer, with assignments in research, and troubleshooting for heavy oil upgrading equipment. He holds a B.S. of Chemical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.