be discouraged if your first plan is shot-down. Instead, the
best fallback position may be to add a simple connection or
instrument that can be used to collect data during startup and
or production. Even simple changes need to be planned far in
advance as a maintenance or shutdown activity.
Alternately, some tests can be done without disrupting
operation at all. Learn when and where non-contact
measuring devices can be used to gather data. Remember that
where rental equipment or instrumentation is required, more
scheduling and lead-time may be involved as well.
Insightfully Navigate Gaps In
Documentation And Data
Complete documentation is essential for an effective
assessment, but “perfect” data does not exist. When gaps in
documentation exist, a field assessment is often the solution.
While project teams outline requirements and identify
missing links, the biggest challenge for field assessments is
Find the keepers of equipment and maintenance records
and their schedules. Think about how to minimize the impact
on them. When the project team makes the effort to gather
99 percent of the required information, the keepers are more
likely to assist with the last one percent.
Even the best “real world” plant data is never 100 percent
correct or legible. Sometimes the gap is one percent,
Sometimes equipment vendors can help fill-in gaps as
well. Although online documentation on new equipment
is generally good, data on existing equipment can be
spotty. Distributors and factory reps often have access
to older documentation that is not available online.
Likewise, market consolidation in the last 20 years means
the manufacturer of the equipment being analyzed may
be part of a much larger company and experienced reps
can provide the bread-crumbs needed to find-out who
that is and whether any additional legacy documentation
or support is available. Remember, making phone calls,
sending emails and waiting for replies can take time, so
Also, if operating data is being collected, whether from
field instruments or from a data collection system, be
sure to determine what variables might compromise that
data or make it inappropriate for the intended purpose.
The collected data should be representative of “normal”
operations, with adequate attention to production,
seasonal and daily/nightly swings. Identify enough data
points to close heat or material balance or complete a
pressure profile. Check if there is at least one additional
data point that can be used to help check the assessment and
identify instrument problems.
Careful, timely planning and thorough data management
will go a long way in keeping track of your facility’s