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Production Process Insights

How to Proactively Maintain Your Sampling Equipment

Posted by Paul Williams on 3/15/17 10:30 AM
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Sampling is important in any processing plant if it’s going to continue to operate safely and reliably. In chemical and petrochemical plants, obtaining representative samples that accurately provide the intelligence needed to ensure plant processes run smoothly is vital.

When processing stops due to a breakdown or when safety is compromised due to lack of inspection, maintenance or proper repair, it’s costly. Proactive and regular maintenance of your samplers is one of the best ways to maintain their peak performance and avoid malfunctions or breakdowns during use – which can lead to significant losses in plant productivity and efficiency.

Take a Proactive Maintenance Approach

It’s important to have a proactive maintenance mindset rather than a run-to-fail mentality. Maintenance and the technicians that perform it need to be viewed as an integral part of plant production. They provide more than emergency repairs to keep the plant going. They maintain your sampling equipment with the proper training and replacement parts. Follow the strategies below to maintain your samplers for continual uptime.

Inspect Before Breakdown

Have you ever been concerned that your sampling equipment will stop delivering representative samples for your process? Inspecting your sampling solutions regularly provides vital process information to help prevent a crucial breakdown. Take the following steps to inspect your sampling equipment:

  • Assess the process conditions such as temperature, pressure or flow rate to determine whether your current sampling method is designed to properly handle these conditions. Generally accepted best practice is to utilize a sample cooler for any sample that may exceed 140F°.
  • Check your current sampling equipment to determine whether it is delivering a true representative sample. Plugged samplers, particularly those used for viscous materials, are common. Also, identify whether your sample handling practices prevents contamination that could affect the accuracy of analytical results.
  • Check whether the sampling equipment is operating at optimal performance and whether it’s been properly maintained at an appropriate interval.
  • Periodically inspect for visual signs of wear, leaks, abrasion or chemical attack of components and seals.
  • Properly clean and lubricate components and replace seals, gaskets, or worn components when necessary to keep samplers operating safely and at their best.

 

Manage Replacement Parts to Ease Maintenance

Managing your sampling replacement parts inventory helps prevent unexpected headaches for operations. Be sure to keep gaskets and seal kit parts that wear on hand so they can be replaced as needed with no unscheduled downtime. Take the time to identify, inventory and organize parts, then remove obsolete parts and order new ones when necessary.

Utilize Properly Trained Technicians

Maintenance training needs to go beyond the transfer of tribal knowledge from veteran to new technicians. Every technician must be trained to become the next generation of highly skilled maintenance and repair experts. Assess your maintenance team’s knowledge or training deficiencies and then upgrade their skills as needed. 

Ineffective use of your maintenance technician’s time due to insufficient training results in excessive and expensive overtime. That cost could be used to bring in a sampling maintenance expert who is experienced and well-trained with the right tools and parts to properly diagnose, repair and maintain equipment right the first time. It can be more cost effective to hire the experts you need for certain repairs, maintenance items, and installation tasks, particularly when the current workload is challenging your team.

An experienced service technician that knows what to look for when inspecting your samplers for potential problems can save time and money. For example, Sentry® ProShield Services offers process sampling inspections where technicians will evaluate the condition of samplers and provide a summary and findings, along with estimates for any recommended repairs or upgrades.

Rebuild or Replace?

Sampling equipment is designed for long life, and when repair is needed, the equipment can be rebuilt when a full replacement is not an option. If your samplers are not working optimally, consider a complete refurbishment service for worn or damaged equipment, including: 

  • Complete equipment disassembly and inspection
  • Service repairs made by professional, factory-trained technicians
  • Factory certification and testing of samplers
  • Coverage by our standard warranty for any parts installed and work performed on your sampler

Each sampler rebuild follows an ISO-approved process, beginning with a thorough inspection of every component and ending with rigorous testing to ensure quality and performance.

It’s best to evaluate sampler operating and maintenance costs long term. In some cases, the costs to keep an old sampling panel operating effectively are better spent on investing in a new panel instead.  When a capital investment reduces costs long term, a new replacement sampling panel makes sense.

Sentry ProShield Lifecycle Services provide the technical support to ensure maximum uptime of sampling solutions. Our highly-trained, factory authorized service technicians can help you maintain safe, reliable and efficient sampler 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.

Learn More About Sentry ProShield Lifecycle Services

 

Topics: Hydrocarbon Processing

Written by Paul Williams

Paul Williams is Sentry Aftermarket Products and Service Manager. The aftermarket business encompasses three distinct operating units that provide technical maintenance services, installation and retrofit, product fulfillment and technical support. Williams relies on his 25-plus years of experience for strategic partnership development, market expansion and branding, with an unwavering focus on customer success.

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