10. The control-room operator pings the plant maintenance manager requesting an estimate of earliest pump repair and expected outage of Reactor C.
11. The maintenance manager, upon seeing the request from the control-room operator, calls up the repair history for the catalyst feed pump and e-mails it to the control-room operator. The manager estimates that the repair, if it only involves the seal, will require six hours after turnover of the pump to maintenance.
12. The control-room operator calls up the production plan for Reactor C and observes that it’s scheduled for three more batches, back to back, over the next five shifts. He enters an eight-hour outage for Reactor C into the plan (two hours to prep for maintenance and six hours to repair the seal).
13. He reruns the plan. The result shows that all reactors are scheduled at full capacity and that at least two customer orders will be delayed by the eight-hr. outage for Reactor C.
14. The control-room operator pings the plant-floor operator to check on the condition of the pump seal.
15. The control-room operator also notices that catalyst flow rate still is erratic.
16. He activates the catalyst-flow-rate prediction model, which shows that Reactor C will reach the critical minimum flow in six shifts. In addition, process prediction models indicate that production will be at 50% of maximum on Reactor C until it is repaired; decreasing linearly with catalyst flow over the next six shifts.
17. This result from the model automatically triggers an alert to the operator, to the master production planner, and to the maintenance manager indicating that the catalyst feed system for Reactor C will need to be shutdown for cleaning and pump repair in six shifts.
18. The alert also indicates three options for repairing the pump and cleaning the catalyst feed system:
a. only repair the pump, four hours;
b. replace the pump and perform routine maintenance on the feed system, six hours; or
c. replace the pump and compete cleaning of the feed system, 20 hours.
19. The alert to the master production planner automatically triggers a rerun of the production plan for Reactor Train 1 using each of the three alternatives and compares it to the current plan.
20. The master production planner also reruns the production plan for Reactor Train 2, to double-check available capacity, using an eight-hr. outage for Reactor C.
21. The results identify two customer orders that will be delayed.
22. The master production planner pings the sales representative for the customer whose orders may be delayed with a request as to whether the customer would entertain a change in shipping schedule.
23. The sales representative is on the road and receives the message on his Blackberry.
24. The sales representative runs a query for the customer in question and finds that these product shipments are part of a biweekly shipment schedule. It’s possible that the customer may be able to take a one day delay.
25. He clicks the auto dial for the customer and is connected to his customer’s voice mail.
26. He leaves a voice mail for the customer to contact him either by mobile phone or e-mail.
27. The customer responds via text messaging that he’s available at his mobile phone number.
28. The sales representative calls the customer, discusses the situation and gets approval for up to a three-day delay in shipment.
29. The sales representative e-mails this information to the production planner with copies to the control-room operator.
30. With the customer able to allow a three-day delay, the production planner reruns the production plan. The results indicate that Reactor C can be shut down for up to 28 hours with no further product delays. Eight hours is required for the catalyst feed pump replacement and cleaning of the feed system, during which time routine impeller maintenance also can be completed. The planner questions whether the shutdown should be extended to do a complete impeller replacement.
31. The planner pings the maintenance manager with the question.
32. The maintenance manager pulls up the maintenance records for the impeller on Reactor C and finds that the impeller isn’t due for replacement for five months.
33. He responds to both the production planner and control-room operator that he recommends proceeding with only routine maintenance during the outage.
34. He also responds that he has contacted his maintenance team, alerting them to the pending shutdown and repair. They have responded that they can be in position for the repair in four hours with all parts and labor available.
35. The production planner reruns the production plan and schedules the shutdown to begin at the conclusion of the current batch in Reactor C, estimated in seven hours. This reduces production rate losses and shortens the two identified customer delays by 12 hours.
36. The modified production schedule is automatically sent to the control-room operator and the maintenance manager.
37. Appropriate maintenance orders, production orders, etc. are also automatically updated and issued.
38. Notification is automatically sent to the sales representative, who notifies and confirms the change with the customer.
Fred Reever, recently retired from DuPont, is a Delray Beach, Fla.-based member of CISUG. Frank Kochendoerfer is director of the chemicals industry business unit for SAP Labs Inc., Newtown Square, Pa. E-mail them at FreevAceed@aol.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.