Lost production time due to air emission control equipment problems, especially with a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO), can be expensive, unless the unit is designed to minimize and/or expedite maintenance.
An RTO requires several hours to cool down and heat back up after a maintenance issue or problem. Typically, 10 to 18 hours are required for cool down in order to get inside for inspection and/or to complete maintenance tasks. Another three to four hours are required to heat the unit back up to operating conditions, so a full day of lost production is required just to prepare the RTO for potential maintenance before any maintenance can be completed.
To achieve a company’s need to engineer a strategy for reducing downtime, the strategy needs to define which downtime events to target and associated cause. There are two types of downtime categories:
Controllable downtime, which can be further categorized as planned and unplanned. Planned downtime includes things like scheduled maintenance, whereas unplanned downtime may be due to unanticipated system failures such as software bugs, etc.
Uncontrollable downtime. Many of these reasons are considered force majeure, which is a French term meaning greater force or unforeseeable circumstances. A good example of force majeure is a downtime event caused by severe storms.
Because force majeure downtime is beyond our control, efforts to reduce downtime must necessarily focus on controllable unplanned causes. There are several steps to start the process of reducing downtime.
First is to establish a corporate strategy for reducing downtime. Begin tracking downtime and set reduction goals. A preliminary step here is to organize the data collection process. Data needs to be collected on the reason and sub-reason for each downtime event.
For example, under the reason of RTO internal components or control failure, there are multiple sub-reasons:
- Burner malfunction
- Cycle time adjustments
- Cold face media support failure
- Internal insulation failure
- Excessive valve leakage
- Excessive media plug gauge
- Equip/repair maintenance, etc.
To collect this data in the field, many of our clients use NESTEC’s mobile field data gathering program. It enables RTO users to upload data directly from the field, including downtime event data.
NESTEC’s assistance will help provide superior preventative maintenance programs, highly trained operators, detailed equipment inspections and accurate troubleshooting via the phone and internet.
If a problem occurs, the customer can contact NESTEC’s service and an engineer / technician can connect the equipment through a secure connection, while keeping your corporate network integrity secure, and immediately analyze and resolve the issue remotely, limiting costly downtime and travel expenses while providing immediate assistance.
- With faster and more detailed reporting the downtime duration can be significantly reduced.
- Regular remote system analysis by NESTEC can identify potential problem areas and/or reduction in thermal and destruction efficiency, with recommended correction
- Periodic equipment checks by NESTEC’s experienced engineers/technicians can detect potential developing problems and/or provide corrections to improve the operating performance of the equipment, saving thousands of dollars per year in operating costs.
After your data has become organized, a reporting analysis can follow. Proper analysis can help management decide what they should target when determining how to allocate capital.
NESTEC’s system analysis program offers analytics on the number of downtime events, top downtime causes, estimated production loss and downtime trends all on one view making this information easily accessible, understandable, and actionable to everyone.
For assistance, call or e-mail NESTEC for a free evaluation of your application and/or assistance in establishing a solution for the best and most economical approach.
Jim Nester, president: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rodney Pennington, vice president of special projects: email@example.com
Jeremy Redcay, services manager: firstname.lastname@example.org