A recent case study involving a large chemical processing facility provides useful perspectives on the value of a comprehensive facility instrument audit. It will also give you a good idea of how WIKA’s Full Audit Service Team can help you reduce the complexity of your gauge configurations to improve reliability, and lower costs at your plant.

Older Chemical Processing Plant Case Study

The challenge: A chemical processing facility was experiencing pressure gauge failures caused by a host of problems. Numerous changes in ownership and processes over five decades of operation produced an unnecessarily large number of gauge configurations. Moreover, the facility addressed gauge problems on an as-needed basis. And, in-kind replacement was common practice. This haphazard approach to instrument maintenance led to gauge failures and consumed a great deal of valuable maintenance staff time. Furthermore, the complexity of the gauge population at the facility was increasing inventory costs. It turned out the plant was working with more than 30 vendors supplying products from more than a dozen manufacturers. WIKA’s FAST engineers noted 149 gauge configurations at the facility.

WIKA FAST audit

The FAST engineer first conducted an instrument audit, which involved a visual inspection of gauges in operation. The audit revealed that that more than 30 percent of the gauges in the facility required replacement either immediately or during the next maintenance cycle. The substantial cost of replacing all those gauges at once would have required capital project approval and funding, so plant managers and FAST engineers opted to address the highest-priority gauge problems first and then shift their focus to correcting gauge inventory and management processes, to curtail further misapplications. To begin, the FAST engineers provided recommendations for standardization, consolidation, and improvement of the gauge configurations. This helped reduce the complexity of ordering gauges and selecting parts when replacements were needed… FAST engineers were able to help the plant reduce their gauge SKU count by 70 percent. Jason Deane, a FAST senior instrumentation engineer, points out that an audit typically results in around a 30 percent reduction in carried inventory. “Reducing this complexity not only cuts inventory costs, but it also reduces the frequency of gauge failures. With the right gauges in place, we’ve found gauge maintenance time is reduced by 25 percent.”

Sustainable results

To help the plant transition to the new population, the FAST engineers provided support with ERP data and MOC documentation. They also developed procedural and engineering controls, such as stainless steel tags, to establish a sustainable gauge maintenance process at the facility. To learn more about the results, read the full case study: Addressing 50 years of gauge proliferation. Or, contact a FAST representative for an estimate of how much you could save with a FAST audit – fast@wika.com.



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