In summer 2018, for the first time at the Zofingen site, the entire production plant including pilot was shut down for maintenance work. The aim was to carry out maintenance and inspection work of our facilities as consistently as possible.
The utility network plan of all operations comprises some 70 items for large inspections that needed to be completed in a period of two weeks – including 1st of August, the Swiss national day.
In addition to technical activities, such as changing mixing elements, lip seals, drives and dryers, advantage was taken of the timeslot to carry out ventilation inspections on GMP and non-GMP installations while maintaining all monoblocs. Subsequent requalification work of ventilation equipment rounded off the complex work.
The subsequently determined schedule for the micro-biological sampling was discussed in detail.
Maintenance work begun on 29 July 2018 when steam was shut off for the entire site. This permitted the exchange of existing valves for new ones on the main steam network.
Furthermore, the thermal air purification plant and Siegfried’s disposal center were inspected. These plant segments provided by EBM were maintained on schedule.
On each of the maintenance days, Luigi Mangieri carried out an 8:00 a.m. meeting attended by members of production, SHE and Quality Assurance (QA). Issues affecting safety, quality of work, network plan activities and auxiliary work provided in-house by operations were meticulously recorded and tracked. Consequently, clarity was provided in the early morning concerning daily activities that required attention in addition to the work planned earlier.
With the escalation topics, Luigi Mangieri subsequently attended the daily BIS coordination meetings as Siegfried’s representative. At these meetings, each time bar and every activity was followed-up in detail and discussed with the BIS engineers. One of the aims of these meetings was to estimate and prioritize the additional work as tracked in SAP.
The challenge of temperature
In addition to expected and even unexpected challenges, problems were identified with nearly each pure-water plant. The problems were in no way connected with the maintenance shutdown. Yet, the high inlet temperature of the factory water and reduced consumption caused warming of pure-water loops and, consequently, alarm signals went off.
Safety training/Information boards
In a first-time application, training documents concerning safety issues were mailed to external companies prior to the shutdown. The contact persons of these companies were asked to acquaint those employees on site with our safety regulations during the maintenance shutdown. Confirmation of training as well as goal verification in writing had to be presented each time when entering the Zofingen site.
In order to obtain an impression of safety and work progress, every afternoon a group of Siegfried employees (SHE, TC) and BIS employees completed a safety walk. The goal thereof was to enter into conversation with all internal and external employees about safety and the current state of progress, thereby gaining an impression of the critical worksites.
The feedback on safety topics was accepted favorably by both internal and external members of staff. The challenge was clear, namely to maintain PPE discipline despite outside temperatures of about 34°C.
The maintenance shutdown was completed on Friday, 10 August 2018. All of the installations were successfully taken into operation on Monday, as planned. Careful preparation and early provision of safety regulations to external workers made it easy to integrate external safety culture into the shut-down activity.
We would like to express our thanks to all Siegfried employees and external individuals who contributed toward the successful completion of the maintenance shutdown. It is particularly pleasing to know that no events occurred during the maintenance phase.
Several conclusions can be drawn from the maintenance shutdown which have been reported following completion and will be taken into consideration when planning subsequent shutdowns.