Regular maintenance is crucial to keep an oilseed processing plant at peak efficiency and optimal performance. Over time, the constant crushing action of abrasive materials can gradually wear down even the highest quality equipment. In addition to routine daily, weekly, and monthly upkeep, oilseed processing plants typically shut down their operations once or twice a year for scheduled maintenance, known as a maintenance turnaround. Scheduled maintenance turnaround planning can minimize downtime and prevent unexpected breakdowns to get facilities back up and running with fewer delays or unforeseen costs.

Most oilseed processing facilities shut down in the spring and fall for semi-annual turnarounds, which may last from a few days to a full week or more. Any downtime—even when planned—can disrupt oilseed processing operations. But with careful planning, plants can make the most of this period to conduct major repairs, rebuilds, replacements, and other tasks that can’t be done during normal operation.

Preparing for a maintenance turnaround can take months of coordination. Here are some best practices for scheduled maintenance turnaround planning at oilseed processing plants.

  1. Plan ahead. With so many moving parts (literally) involved in equipment maintenance, you need as much time as possible to coordinate your turnaround schedule. The earlier you start planning a maintenance turnaround, the smoother the shutdown will go. Start planning your pre-shutdown checklist at least four to five months ahead of time. Better yet, as soon as you complete a turnaround, begin planning the next one.
  2. Expect the unexpected. With any turnaround, unexpected obstacles are inevitable. Don’t get caught by surprise; always plan for unforeseen delays and circumstances beyond your initial scope of work. Build contingencies into your turnaround schedules and budgets to account for these unexpected changes.
  3. Develop strategic objectives. Define specific tasks that need to be addressed during your scheduled maintenance turnaround and develop schedules and budgets around them. As you perform routine daily and weekly maintenance checks on equipment throughout the year, make note of any strange noises, vibrations, or other signs of wear and tear that require closer inspection.
  4. Coordinate and communicate. Involve your internal team and external partners in the planning process by giving them plenty of heads-up before a scheduled maintenance turnaround. Engaging your suppliers early on can ensure that you’ll have the parts you need ahead of time, and notifying your customers in advance can prevent surprises and keep contracts on track.
  5. Order spare parts. Certain parts may require long lead times, so start placing orders far in advance to make sure you’ll have everything when you need it. Waiting until the plant is shut down to order parts could seriously set you back. The same goes for any tools or equipment you’ll need to rent to complete your scheduled maintenance. Having everything on hand can help you avoid costly delays—especially if components need to be replaced unexpectedly between planned turnarounds.
  6. Prioritize safety first. Safety should always be a priority when dealing with mechanical oilseed processing equipment—especially during turnarounds when accidents are more likely to happen because people are out of their element and processes differ from normal operations. Read all instruction manuals thoroughly before servicing any equipment. Ensure that staff and contractors have completed safety training and that everyone wears appropriate personal protective equipment.

When a processing plant is offline for repairs, every minute matters because production and profits are paused. However, a keen scheduled maintenance turnaround planning strategy can help minimize downtime, improve safety, and reduce the costs involved in a shutdown.

Also read: 4 Oilseed Processing Trends to Watch in 2024

Support for scheduled maintenance turnaround planning

Although your maintenance turnaround tasks will be unique to your processing plant, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel regarding turnaround planning. Your trusted team at Anderson International can lighten your maintenance workload with support and guidance every step of the way.

Anderson provides a range of maintenance support services for oilseed processors. We can help by:

  • Setting up preventative maintenance routines and guidelines tailored to your operation.
  • Training your team on what to look for during maintenance inspections and how to replace certain parts.
  • Rebuilding equipment components for you, whether you send us your parts or bring us on-site.
  • Supplying spare parts made to our exacting tolerances and high manufacturing standards.
  • Optimizing your overall oilseed processing system to extend the life of your parts and keep your equipment running at peak performance.

Learn more about the resources Anderson offers that keep our clients set up for success year-round.

With Anderson’s support throughout your scheduled maintenance turnaround planning process, you can navigate through your shutdown smoothly with minimal downtime and fewer delays, so you can get back online sooner to keep the oil—and the profits—flowing.

Get in touch with a representative today.