Refinery Turnarounds: Selecting the right partner for your operation

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It’s no secret that preventive maintenance practices can drastically improve the overall efficiency and reliability of a refinery or any other  industrial operation. However, while some types of repairs can be made while the equipment is operating, many times a major overhaul of the plant, or a turnaround (TAR), is necessary in order to keep production moving.

Occurring every four to six years, turnarounds are an essential part of continuous operations in the refining industry. Companies invest thousands of dollars in resources to support these maintenance activities, making it vital for all parties to pay close attention to each stage of the program. However, choosing the right partner to assist in this process can often become a challenge within itself.

Stemming from our experience in the TAR space, we’ve outlined several key differentiators that have put MPW Industrial Services ahead of its competition on previous turnaround projects.

Project involvement

Effective planning is perhaps the single most important piece of maintaining an efficient, profitable refining operation. It’s what keeps a refinery running smoothly, and helps avoid unnecessary delays in production. Refineries are in continuous operation, which means any maintenance must be carefully structured to ensure day-to-day plant activity is not interrupted, or is only interrupted for a planned window of time.

Look for a partner that gets involved in every phase, including the pre-turnaround phase.  Many industrial cleaning contractors do not insert themselves into the early planning stages of a TAR, as we do at MPW and we find this to be a major oversight for such projects. When every partner is involved from the beginning, they have a better understanding of the company’s goals, and can align their solutions accordingly.

For instance, MPW’s project managers and planning teams start by attending meetings with plant personnel before a turnaround event begins. This allows MPW to predict the customer’s needs through innovative research and planning, and then develop the necessary solutions. Our team is also involved in the development of job cards to ensure each component of the TAR has the required manpower, equipment and time allotted to get the job done. MPW also utilizes a proprietary tracking system to monitor every aspect of a project from start to finish.

Available engineering resources

Turnarounds typically utilize various third-party contracting companies, primarily for their expertise in a specific area. At MPW, our expertise is cultivated by our brand-new, state-of-the-art engineering and technology center, located at our Hebron, Ohio headquarters.

Spanning 86,000 square feet, the facility was designed to house MPW’s growing engineering, fabrication and IT teams. As part of this new center, MPW designs, maintains and provides custom solutions for the most vexing demands from any North American industry – especially in the refining and petrochemical markets. Chemical, electrical, mechanical, civil and industrial engineers work together for system design and commissioning.

The facility’s fabrication shop takes up nearly half of the facility at 40,000 square feet, making it the largest of its kind in North America. Fabricators and trained assembly technicians manufacture and assemble all mobile and automated equipment. The shop’s cutting-edge features make it simple to design easy-to-disassemble modular tools, while still maintaining standard safety features.

To accommodate the steady and/or emergent activity at this high-tech assembly space, the shop has a shipping and receiving dock, a grand door for outside inventory and 13 trailer docks. Technicians staff this facility 24 hours per day, continually assembling and overhauling industrial equipment.

Innovation and advanced automation

Automation is constantly changing the way industrial companies operate. Greater precision, reduced safety concerns and faster results are helping plant operators cut costs and improve productivity—especially during a refinery turnaround. Selecting MPW as a partner with our vast resources and automation capabilities will help you accomplish nearly any task using less manpower, while improving efficiencies.

At MPW, we provide the experience, customization options and expert engineering to allow for a safe and efficient TAR process. With a special focus on automated industrial cleaning solutions, our team works 24/7 to support every plant’s unique needs.

Our blast pad service specializes in the latest automated technology for exchanger ID and OD cleaning applications in the refining and  petrochemical markets. Equipment such as the cab-operated multi-lance machine and dual-stage, shell-side machine allows MPW to get customers’ equipment back to optimal running conditions in a fraction of the time. All MPW equipment is remotely operated, keeping employees out of harm’s way and ensuring a safer work place with reduced risks to the company.


Ultimately, turnarounds are a necessary evil of the refining business. Although they can present a major disruption to operations, they also play a crucial role in sustaining the overall health of a plant.  A partner like MPW will assist in the TAR process and is fully invested in all projects, with the appropriate time, skills and resources to get the job done right.

With more than 45 years of experience in the industrial space, MPW has the talent and technological expertise needed to support our customers’ most challenging application requirements. For more information on our industry-leading experience on turnaround projects, click here.


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