PRODUCTION unit turnarounds at a global chemicals company are being improved with innovative data capture technology developed by Terrington Data Management.

Chemicals manufacturing business, BP Acetyls, Saltend, Hull, has enhanced the speed and efficiency of its turnaround inspections, eliminated paperwork and reduced plant downtime by applying a bespoke adaptation of Terrington's handheld TAR Tracker software package, a version of its revolutionary web-enabled data capture system.

BP's plant turnarounds involve thousands of checks on vital 'hazardous area' operating equipment including control valves, relief valves, pressure vessels, columns and tanks.

The company previously managed the process through a paper-based system detailing the tasks required and their progress on centralised office spreadsheets but recognised that data capture technology could improve the speed, cost and efficiency of turnarounds and make vital stored data easier to access.

Mark Brunton, of BP Hull's maintenance breakthrough team, says: "Turnarounds are among the most challenging and complex aspects of our operation with up to 15,000 different items and procedures carried out and signed off in a short period of time.

"As, in the paper-based method, spreadsheets were completed at the end of each day - or sometimes later - we were often 24 or 48 hours behind and had reams of paperwork.

"The Terrington system uses a web front-end to display task lists, based on trade and location, throughout the plant. Our specialist engineers scan a barcode on each item to view their required work. When a task is completed they sign it off with an electronic signature."

The system also automatically prevents any piece of equipment's final sign off until all tasks have been completed and highlights any critical additional work which would prevent plant start up.

Mark Brunton adds: "The system allows us to operate in real time. This creates better management and planning and enables us to quickly identify and address bottlenecks.

"Task completion data is downloaded direct to our computer system eliminating risk of errors during a manual transfer. The Terrington system gives us an assurance and integrity of data which was unattainable with our previous paper-based method.

"One supervisor was initially sceptical but, when I saw him midway through the turnaround, he said it was fantastic. He did not have to carry paperwork around and could manage the entire process in the field."

Terrington Managing Director, Mark Williams, says: "TAR Tracker is faster, more cost-effective and far more accurate than paper-based records, enhancing the integrity of data recorded and improving efficiency and reducing costs.

"It has been rewarding to work closely with an innovative client like BP to customise our standard platform to meet their precise needs."