Reducing and managing downtime in any process operation is vital to ensuring uninterrupted production and the safety of your plant operators. You need to obtain representative samples reliably to assess plant and product condition to control your process effectively.
Regularly scheduled maintenance keeps your sampling solution operating at peak performance and extends their life. Over time, however, the efficiency of samplers and sampling systems decreases. For example, in a steam and water analysis system, sample coolers lose capacity due to calcification and wear. Analyzers may not deliver consistently accurate measurements which can compromise regulatory compliance. Wear and leakage of valves and safety devices can cause unnecessary risk to operator safety. While much of this can be a result of normal operation, it is often a direct result of improper maintenance, calibration or obsolescence.
As your sampling solution ages, it requires ongoing maintenance, service, and in some cases refurbishment, with replacement of components or at worst, complete replacement. You need qualified technicians to service your equipment and recommend the correct course of action. Operator safety and protection of production is not something to take lightly. While some organizations have in-house capabilities, many don't and under these circumstances, you need to look to an outside service partner.
Finding a Service Partner Who Meets Your Needs
When looking for a sampling service partner it is critical to understand the objectives of the sampling solution and the scope of the service work required so you can identify partners who can fully meet all your needs, not only today but in the future. Some of the questions you need to consider are:
- Which partners offer a service solution for the variety of process materials within your plant that you sample – such as steam and water, liquid and slurry, gas, or solid and powder materials.
- Do they service hazardous material applications? Low or high pressures?
- Are there different applications based on the process environment?
- Can they service individual samplers and fully integrated systems within your plant such as a steam and water analysis system?
- Can they provide preventative maintenance programs such as safety audits, operational inspections, or system shutdowns?
- If ongoing service is needed, do they offer service agreements?
- Is equipment lifecycle management an interest? If so, a single partner that can install, commission, provide ongoing maintenance and support as well as repair and retrofit might be an option.
- If you have multiple plants, would using a single service partner give you understanding of what is happening with equipment across all of your facilities? A single service partner makes preventive maintenance, anticipating equipment life span and capital planning easier and can ease replacement parts inventory control across multiple locations, too.
- Location: when your sampling equipment is down, do you need local "feet on the street" for quick, critical response?
It’s important that you step back and choose which partner can meet all of your facility needs to maximize the benefits you receive from your partner. As you begin your search for the ideal partner, here are four areas you should consider.
Technician and Plant Safety
Safety is a top priority when evaluating service organizations. Avoid unnecessary risk by choosing a partner with an excellent safety record and a top ranking in an organization such as ISNetworld, a global resource for connecting customers with safe and reliable contractors. Scheduled safety or operational inspections can help to ensure any issues that could impact plant safety are addressed and documented so that they may be corrected during planned shutdown or immediately, if necessary. For example, a power plant inspection should include all primary and secondary valves, insulation, coolers, pressure relief valves, thermal shutoff valves, seals and bearings, and all electrical wiring and connections for signs of wear that could present a safety concern.
There is no substitute for experienced service technicians who are factory trained on all of the leading brands of sampling equipment and operation of the system as a whole and individual components in your sampling solution. They will be able to provide the most insight to your equipment and its potential pitfalls and commonly worn parts that need replacement and components that need adjustment or rebuilding. Don’t be afraid to ask about the organization’s training program and safety procedures they should be an extension of your organization sharing the same philosophy for training, education and most importantly safety.
Choose an organization that employs experienced technicians with an excellent safety record. Seek qualified technicians who can properly assess the condition of your sampling solution according to current regulations so that you can conduct regulatory compliance reporting with confidence.
Unfortunately within the industry there are third party replacement parts available which may not adhere to the stringent OEM standards. Using quality replacement parts is vital to maintaining your sampling solution. Select a service partner that uses only factory OEM or authorized parts in all repairs. These parts will help maintain warranty coverage of equipment. Find a partner that helps manage inventory and order replacement parts and consumables to keep your sampling solution up and running between maintenance visits. Don't compromise; make sure your partner is only using factory OEM parts. Plant and operator safety is not worth the risk.
If training your team is of interest, what and where are you looking for it? Look for customized training specifically, either on site or another location for your sampling equipment. You should expect this training to be complete with reference materials for ongoing operation and maintenance. Obtain the training your team needs to gain the knowledge and technical insight to fully understand required maintenance, while following safety guidelines.
Find a service partner that has your best interest in mind that is committed a long-term relationship of service and becoming a strategic partner.
Sentry Equipment can be your sampling service partner. Sentry ProShield Lifecycle Services, formerly known as AquatiPro, expands on the AquatiPro service offered for the past decade. Sentry ProShield Lifecycle Services provide chemists, engineers, plant managers with the technical support they need to ensure maximum uptime of their sampling solution. Our highly-trained, factory authorized service technicians apply over 90 years of technical expertise to help you maintain safe, reliable and efficient performance. We offer complete lifecycle management services from installation or routine maintenance to system replacement to safely maintain your sampling equipment in any process environment.