Stocking Spare Parts for Your Oxidizer System
OXIDIZER SERVICE SERIES: PART 3
At the risk of sounding repetitive, the very same wording with which we began Part 2 of our Oxidizer Service Series -Crafting Your Oxidizer Maintenance Plan - applies to Stocking Spare Parts for your Oxidizer System as well. In other words…
Many will come to this article hoping for a one-size-fits-all list for stocking spare parts for an oxidizer system. As a company that provides service for any oxidizer regardless of style or original manufacturer, we at Anguil have long wanted the same. A set recipe for success would certainly make life easier. For those in need of a quick answer, or a starting point from which to grow, we do not wish to disappoint. Absent of knowing anything else about the operating context of a particular oxidizer system, our best recommendation for building a Spare Parts Program is as follows:
- From the documentation as listed in Part 1 of our Oxidizer Service Series - Better Maintenance Starts with Better Documentation - gather your P&ID and Updated Electrical Schematics, including panel layout diagrams.
- Compile a list of your Permit Requirements, especially as relating to allowable downtime in a given year.
- Sit down with an oxidizer service provider such as Anguil. Using the P&ID and Control Panel Diagrams as a guide, tag each system component as falling into one of several categories for your particular operation on that site. Anguil likes to use four categories: CRITICAL, RECOMMENDED, CONVENIENCE, and ORDER AS NEEDED. Colored highlighter markers work great for this.
- Do not forget to show the tagged diagrams to your maintenance personnel and get their feedback on whether their experiences agree with this analysis.
- Once the parts have been prioritized, they can be priced out and purchased according to the needs of your facility. Keep in mind that many oxidizer manufacturers do have OEM discounts with oxidizer component providers so they can be competitive on providing the right parts for your system.
- Once parts are purchased and on your shelves, don't forget to regularly inventory your stock. Tying this activity in to your regular maintenance routine helps.
Some may choose to take this basic recommendation for building an Oxidizer Spare Parts program and run with it. And honestly, we would agree that anyone complying with all of the steps as outlined above is indeed making a defensible effort at stocking the recommended spare parts for their oxidizer system.
Those familiar with Part 2 of our Oxidizer Service Series may be feeling déjà vu right about now. This is because the very same concept that prescribes an appropriate Oxidizer Maintenance Plan for your site can also dictate the proper approach to your Oxidizer Spare Parts Plan. That concept is your specific operating context.
Here's a story that illustrates the idea of operating context in regards to developing a spare parts plan for your oxidizer system. Several years ago, while presenting our final proposal for an oxidizer system to one potential customer, we included a recommended spare parts package valued at approximately $20,000.00. The potential customer was mildly put off by this. The retort at the time was, "You mean for the amount I am spending on this equipment, I have to buy $20,000.00 worth of parts just to make sure it runs right?!"
Later that very same week, we attended a pre-bid meeting for another potential customer. During the review of the bid specifications for that project, the presenter stated, "As part of your bid package for this system, we would like to see your recommended spare parts list. Fair warning - anyone that turns in a package less than $20,000.00 will get scoffed at. That would indicate that you just don't understand our production situation." So in the course of one week, we had met with two different potential customers, both somewhat offended by a $20,000.00 recommended spare parts package - albeit for different reasons.
The kicker is - both potential customers were considering the very same Model of RTO!
Happily both 'potential customers' did eventually become 'customers,' and although seemingly at odds with one another, neither customer was technically wrong. The first customer was in an area of the country where the oxidizer system was allowed to be turned off for several months of the year and also allowed oxidizer downtime of up to ten days during the run season. The second customer was located in a non-attainment zone and only allowed up to four hours to finish a current production batch upon an oxidizer upset. At that point for the second customer, all production had to stop until the oxidizer was running again. Clearly, although the model of oxidizer system was exactly the same, the approach to developing a customized spare parts plan was completely different for these customers - and very permit-driven.
Although we stress the importance of a well designed oxidizer spare parts program, we also consider thermal and catalytic oxidizers in their various forms to be relatively mature and dependable technologies. As manufacturers of these systems, we do take pride in the reliability of the oxidizers we build and fully expect there to be several years of trouble-free operation. As much as we want to sell large spare parts packages with every oxidizer system, continuously harping on the need for a large contingent of recommended spare parts can seem counterintuitive even to us at times. Getting a recommended spare parts program right-sized for a particular customer is often trickier than it is given credit for and, unfortunately, also often gets less thought than it deserves.
Why does your Oxidizer Spare Parts Program deserve significant attention?
Uptime: As reliable as oxidizer systems of today can be, upsets will happen with any class of industrial equipment. The downtime associated with any particular upset can easily be dramatically reduced if the right parts are immediately available on site. What is it worth to your company if you can look back over a year and say that downtime was cut in half - or cut even more?
Compliance: "OPERATOR will stock the recommended spare parts as determined by MANUFACTURER". Chances are that wording very similar to this may already be in your environmental permit. If not there, this type of wording is definitely making it into the safety regulations governing the design and operation of oxidizer systems. Stocking an appropriate level of spare parts for your oxidizer system may very well be a code compliance issue for your site.
Defensibility: As mentioned above, upsets will happen. When they do, you want to be in a partnership with your local regulatory agency. Regulators across the country are getting tougher and smarter. If you are making the case for leniency in a particular downtime situation, but you cannot demonstrate that you've taken steps to stock the spare parts recommended by your system's manufacturer, you may be seen as not holding up your side of the bargain.
Preparedness: Making the decision to have a well stocked spare parts inventory is comparable to the same decision that we make in our own personal lives in deciding to have adequate auto, home, or life insurance in place. Certainly nobody looks forward to sending in a payment every month to the insurance company as it is easy and potentially short-sighted to think you are not getting anything back for your money … that is until you need to use it. For spare parts, this is comparable to having the needed component available in your stock-room to get your system back up and on-line in a minimum amount of time as opposed to lengthy downtime, lost production revenue, and plant headache due to not having the proper "insurance" in place. After all, we would argue that having a stock-room full of "unused" spare parts is similar to having purchased several "unused" insurance policies. It is always better to have the appropriate insurance in place should it be needed and even better to not have to actually use it.
Mission: Anyone that owns and operates an oxidizer system has already made both a significant investment in, and a long-term commitment to, environmental compliance. Clearly, this is already part of your corporate mission statement. Stocking an appropriate level of spare parts for your system is just one part of that same long-term commitment.
At Anguil, we are eager to help you in the mission of designing an Oxidizer Spare Parts Plan that is right-sized for your operating context.
As stated earlier, this is the third of four parts in Anguil's Oxidizer Service Series. We encourage you to also view Part 1: Better Maintenance Starts with Better Documentation as well as Part 2: Crafting Your Oxidizer Maintenance Plan and Part 4: Oxidizer System Optimization. Anyone interested in subscribing to future newsletters can sign up on our website or email email@example.com.
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