MT News

News of people and events important to the maintenance and reliability community

Rockwell Automation has named Christopher Zei vice president of its OEM initiative. A 21-year marketing, strategic development, operations and management veteran of technology-related companies, Zei was most recently the president/CEO of the North American operations at Schneider Electric’s ELAU group. There he was responsible for building the company’s reputation in North America. In his new role with Rockwell, Zei will be responsible for global sales, strategy and business development for all Rockwell Automation OEM-directed solutions.

QUALCOMM Incorporated, a provider of businessto- business wireless enterprise applications and services, has acquired Chicago-based nPhase LLC, a leading provider of machine-to-machine solutions that allow enterprises to manage and monitor widely dispersed, fixed machine assets. QUALCOMM has been a leader in machine-to-machine technology since 1991, when it introduced the first wide-area, wireless machine-to-machine applications offered with OmniTRACS®, the company's first mobile communication system for transportation fleet management. nPhase specializes in fixed-asset telemetry, a complementary area of technology. It is nPhase’s fixed-asset machine-to-machine technology, along with its experience and established customer base that are expected to complement QUALCOMM's success in the mobile machine-to-machine market and help increase both the breadth and depth of QUALCOMM's enterprise machine-to-machine solutions portfolio. nPhase, though, will continue to offer products and services under its own brand.

Emerson Process Management has announced that Gordon McFarland, senior power plant performance analyst with the company's North American Power & Water solutions division, recently received the ISA's Standards & Practices Award. The award recognizes McFarland for his leadership in the initial development of fossil power plant standards, and for 25 years of continuous support and direction of those standards. During his 37-year career, 26 of them with Emerson,McFarland has made significant contributions to the creation, development and application of technical standards and practices for the power generation industry.

Ferraz Shamut has announced two personnel appointsments. Mark Taylor has joined the company as its new vice president of OEM Sales, and Dean Cousins assumes the newly created position of vice president of Business Development.

Taylor will be responsible for all of Ferraz Shawmut’s OEM sales operations. Educated in the United Kingdom, Taylor holds degrees from West Bromwich College of Commerce & Technology,Aston University and Birmingham University.

Cousins, a Ferraz Shawmut employee for more than 23 years, will assist the company in defining and executing its new external and internal growth strategies. Additionally, he will continue his responsibility for the sales and marketing of Ferraz Shawmut’s Traction,High Power Switch and over voltage protection and system products.

The Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA) Board of Directors has approved a new Education & Training program, which will focus on basic valve training for new employees at valve and actuator companies. The first component of the program is expected to launch later this year.

The initiative came out of discussions with VMA members who are concerned that with many long-time industry professionals on the verge of retirement, a much basic knowledge about valves and actuators may be lost. In addition, many recently graduated engineering students are not receiving a comprehensive valve education, so VMA intends to share the introductory valve education program with colleges, universities and other educational institutions.

A newly appointed VMA Education & Training Committee— made up of experienced managers from a variety of valve and actuator manufacturers and suppliers, large and small—will guide the development of the program. For more information, visit

In the program brochure for the 2007 MAINTENANCE & RELIABILITY TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT, (MARTS), the terms “Maintenance Technician Effectiveness” and “Overall Maintenance Effectiveness,” as well as their acronyms, MTE and OME, should have been identified with the registered service mark symbol (SM). All of these terms are service marks of LAI Reliability Systems, Inc.

Planned Refinery Unit Turnarounds Will Continue To Decrease In 2007
According to research by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, TX), the number of planned unit maintenance shutdowns for the North American Petroleum Refining Industry will decrease in 2007, marking the second year in a row for declining planned maintenance. This trend is forecast to change in 2008 as refiners schedule maintenance shutdowns to coincide with the first wave of unit additions associated with an industry-wide plan to increase refining capacity.

A number of key issues have combined to reduce the number of planned refinery unit turnarounds over the past two years including, labor shortages, prolonged long-lead equipment delivery times, hurricanes, and strong profit margins. After hurricane Katrina shut down a good portion of U.S. Gulf Coast refining capacity in September 2005, the White House asked U.S. refiners to postpone scheduled maintenance in order to keep production at a high level. That trend has continued today. The number of units scheduled for planned maintenance repairs during the second half of 2006 at refineries located in North America is down by 8% as compared to the same period in 2005. This decrease in activity is arguably being attributed to several different events that occurred over the last year starting with hurricane Katrina.

Labor shortages play a role
Some maintenance projects are being delayed and rescheduled because of a shortage of labor coming from skilled craftsmen such as iron workers, millwrights, pipefitters and electricians. Companies that provide personnel for construction, as well as equipment service providers, are having difficulties meeting demand. Historically, slow petrochemical construction markets over the past decade led to a downsizing of the service industry.

Now,with industrial project activity picking up significantly, not only in the petrochemical sector, but across most sectors such as Power and Metals & Minerals Industries, equipment and service providers are having difficulty keeping up with increased demand. Long-lead delivery times are out as far as two years for some equipment such as pressurized reactors and vessels, and the labor pool is running thin. Deer Park Refining LP (Deer Park, Texas) rescheduled a $35-million fall 2006 turnaround to January 2007.


Other factors
Another factor that may have contributed to the decrease is that there were a significant amount of shutdowns scheduled earlier last year in order for refineries to upgrade process units to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) by the mandated June 2006 deadline. A majority of the refiners scheduled ULSD project tie-ins during this timeframe, resulting in some turnarounds that were originally scheduled for 2007 to occur in 2006. (Refer to the chart above for the breakdown of planned unit turnarounds by market region over a five-year period from 2003-07.)

For 2007, there are currently 257 units planned to be taken offline for maintenance repair and overhaul. That’s a decrease of 21% when compared to the 328 units that went down for repair in 2006.

Opportunities in unscheduled repair services
In addition to planned maintenance, there are also opportunities to provide services for unscheduled repairs. Since 2003, there has been an average of 65 process units per month that have been shut down for unplanned reasons. A majority of the units were shut down due to a glitch in the process, but other reasons include fires, hurricane preparation and economic slowdowns.

Looking beyond 2008, refinery maintenance activity is forecast to increase significantly. In a continentwide trend to increase refining capacity and improve unit efficiencies, the nation’s refineries are planning a large number of unit additions, expansions and upgrades. Over the past year, Industrial Info has reported 430 projects at U.S. petroleum refineries, with a total investment value of $19.8 billion. Scheduled construction starts for these projects range between November 2005 and April 2012.

About Industrial Info Resources
Industrial Info Resources (IIR) is a Marketing Information Service company that has been doing business for over 23 years. IIR is respected as the leader in providing comprehensive market intelligence pertaining to the industrial processing, heavy manufacturing and energyrelated industries throughout the world. For additional information, send inquiries to refininggroup@, or visit the organization online at