Emerson: Reliability Means Safety

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 @ 02:10 PM gHale

By Gregory Hale
Reliability means many things to many people, but one of the vital areas remains safety.

“Safety is job one,” said Jim Nyquist, group vice president PlantWeb Solutions at the Emerson Global Users Exchange 2014 in Orlando, FL, Monday. “A reliable operation is much safer than an unreliable operation. Reliability increases safety by reducing unplanned events.”

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Emerson unveiled a complete reliability package to usher in its full commitment to this growing area of the industry. They were saying reliability means safety, availability and profitability.

When talking about reliability, there are some numbers that quickly come to mind. Reliability means systems stay up and running and industry estimates found as much as five percent of production capacity is lost each year as a result of unplanned shutdowns. Along those lines as much as 43 percent of unplanned downtime is the result of equipment failure.

In addition, a typical refining or petrochemical facility will spend less than 10 percent of its time in transient operations, yet over 50 percent of process safety incidents occur during these operations. Piping failures, start up and shut down events lead to the most significant incidents, Nyquist said.

“If you are able to drive safety incidents down and maintenance costs down, that is a double benefit. If you can increase availability and shareholder value, I call that a double-double,” Nyquist said. “Reliability is a business strategy. The value of business improvement is now documented.”

Reliability is a perfect example of companies learning from those that implemented a program early on.

“Early adopters spawned other companies to get into opportunities in reliability,” said Robert DiStefano, vice president and general manager of reliability consulting process systems and solutions at Emerson. “There is a lot of money at stake.” DiStefano was also the president and co-founder of Management Resources Group (MRG) before Emerson purchased them in May. MRG diagnoses reliability issues, and then has the tools to take action and monitor the program.

Companies that have a solid reliability program means they have a leg up on its competition. When looking at maintenances costs, poor performers spend 3.5 times more than that of solid performers. The global maintenance cost savings potential is $50 billion a year while the capacity increase could be 5 percent.

Like creating a solid security program, there needs to be a culture change where workers need to understand the value, and importance, of reliability.

“Emerson may not be known as a reliability company, but I am here to say we are now,” DiStefano said.

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