Maximizing plant availability

At LINDE PLANTSERV®, our aim is to maximize the stability and continuity of your operations. Our experts offer a number of engineering services to increase production capacity and plant efficiency over the entire asset lifecycle, leveraging the potential of big data and virtual reality to benefit your operations. Moving back to the real world, LINDE PLANTSERV® experts also have vast experience in the management of plant relocations.

Revamp success stories

Economic developments such as changes in raw material pricing often call on plant managers to rethink their strategy. In many cases, small changes such as recovering energy or reusing gases as feedstock are sufficient to enhance plant efficiency. Sometimes, however, more complex restructuring work is required, and operating companies may need to consider revamping or modernizing their plant to keep pace with changing market dynamics. 

We work closely with our customers to plan these projects in as much detail as possible so they can look forward to timely, cost-efficient execution. Our experts perform a thorough health check on site, engaging at length with the local operatives to gain an in-depth understanding of the plant’s specifics and the project requirements. After all, every revamp project is as individual as the plant being modernized. Based on this thorough “as-is” assessment, our specialists work out exactly what can be achieved and how much effort this would involve. Our engineers use various data analysis tools to develop a tailor-made solution. Customers know they can rely on our long-standing plant engineering experience, our detailed understanding of process flows and our execution excellence to efficiently manage their revamp project and keep unavoidable downtime to a minimum. At the end of the day, we know the plants we built inside out – making us the partner of choice for the successful management of revamp projects. 

Revamp of a Linde air separation plant.
Regional Operations Centre, LLH Taichung, Taiwan

Condition-based monitoring with big data

As we continually expand our knowledge base, we can keep industrial plants up and running smoothly and cost-effectively for ever-longer periods of time. This wouldn’t be possible without data – valuable insights captured by sensors that continually stream information about a plant's condition. An average of five hundred sensors are installed in every air separation unit. The number for petrochemical facilities is much higher. Data from plants owned and operated by Linde is fed into our five Remote Operations Centers (ROC), which act as central monitoring hubs. And so we know just how important it is to proactively monitor asset health. We have gathered vast hands-on insights from the operation of around 1,000 own plants, enabling us to precisely analyze plant health and respond early to any potential issues. Analysis of this data also allows us to continuously improve plant performance and maximize plant availability. In addition, our team of experts has developed an asset health check tool (asset health checks) that uses the wealth of data we have collected to analyze a wide range of operational indicators with great precision. This tool can be used, for example, to look specifically into causes of increased pressure losses and efficiently avoid these. All of which helps maximize plant availability and our customer’s bottom line.

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Live streaming expert support

Customers can also rely on our engineers for a rapid response in more acute cases thanks to new technologies such as our LindeGO remote service. Using a practical app, customer technicians can immediately establish a live audio-visual connection with our LINDE PLANTSERV®remote service team. Alternatively, they can contact us using smart glasses combined with a headset, a microphone and a wireless Internet connection. Both technologies allow our support team to see the plant through the operator’s eyes, enabling our engineers to assess the situation and provide advice in real time. They can also screen-share important information such as piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), photos and other documents with local technicians. Especially for industrial plants located in remote regions –where deploying experienced specialists would be time consuming and expensive – the LindeGO remote service is a rapid, uncomplicated solution. Created specifically to maximize plant availability.

Thanks to virtual reality (VR), safe remote training of field operators is now possible for various critical operation and emergency scenarios.

Virtual training for day-to-day operations and emergencies

To minimize the risk of outages, operators have to be thoroughly familiar with every last detail of their plants – limits included. Linde developed the Operator Training Simulator (OTS) to prepare employees in control centers and ROCs for the complex task of plant management. The simulator can be used to mirror routine operating procedures and emergencies. Enormous amounts of data are used to simulate dynamic processes in the virtual world. Employees can then learn how to operate plants as efficiently as possible, minimizing energy consumption and component stress for a long service life. At the same time, the virtual training sessions mean that employees are better prepared to deal with real-world emergencies and can respond more effectively. Our customers only need a laptop and an Internet connection to work with the OTS. 

While the OTS simulates the plant control system and is aimed at panel operators, the Linde Virtual Academy is ideal for operatives looking for more hands-on experience. A virtual reality (VR) headset enables trainees to immerse themselves in almost any operating scenario or part of the plant – as if they were actually there in the real world – and familiarize themselves with the situation. Employees can even practice extremely risky or hazardous situations in completely safe surroundings. We have prepared a wide range of scenarios in the Linde Virtual Academy and are continually expanding our catalog. The aim is to give operator employees the opportunity to familiarize themselves with routine tasks and emergencies such as fires. Virtual reality delivers huge benefits especially with training scenarios that cannot or are extremely difficult to replicate.

Successful plant relocation

Plant relocations are another specialized service that we offer to operators. In simple terms, we transport existing, technically functional industrial plants or core components from one location to another, also looking after any modifications that this may entail. The majority of these mammoth projects are driven by economic developments in a global marketplace that is changing faster than ever. In many cases, it may well be more cost effective to move a plant than build a new one, making plant relocations an attractive option for global customers looking to manage production capacity more effectively. Our engineers, for example, relocated an air separation plant from China to Malaysia. Before undertaking the 3,000-kilometer journey, however, they made sure that the plant components were adapted to the new product requirements and any new parts required were added. Our engineers also modified all equipment to ensure it complied with the relevant standards in Malaysia, which were different to those in China. This preliminary work laid the foundations for a seamless and efficient relocation process. The Linde team also mastered the biggest technical challenge of all: assembling all the relocated, retrofitted and new parts to create a functioning unit that could be brought back on stream and handed over to our customer at the new site in Malaysia.

Plant relocation of an air separation plant in Malaysia.

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