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Mining and metals refining
Feb 7, 2017

Outotec catalyst screening service reduces shutdown time for OCP

After servicing its converter with Outotec, the plant broke production records and reported a near 5% productivity increase. This daily productivity increase will add to OCPs annual tonnage in addition to the increase in production due to the shorter outage.

OCP Safi and Jorf Lasfar challenges

Both production sites include dedicated sulfuric acid operations as part of their fertilizer production, of which 90% is exported globally. Logistical and maintenance tasks are often subcontracted, while OCP focuses on production with 3000 employees in Safi and 4000 in Jorf Lasfar.

Over the years, OCP has faced increased shutdown durations and a need to improve safety. In the past, OCP used manual methods of catalyst screening in its sulfuric acid plants, all of which are located on the Moroccan coast within 230 kilometers of Casablanca.

“To meet these challenges, we decided to introduce the Outotec Catalyst Service. This decision was guided mainly by safety and environmental considerations. We were impressed by the expertise of the Outotec Catalyst Service in pneumatic loading and unloading with very low loss rates. For example, intervention at our Safi site proved to be very satisfactory with a loss rate of about 5%, which met our goals. Moreover, the Outotec team showed impeccable professionalism and was a model for all subcontractors, for example in terms of safety minutes, recording procedures and safety audits. For all the above reasons, Outotec was named Best Subcontractor for environmental and safety considerations. We are proud to have been part of this new experience and wish to renew it for the next shutdowns,” states Abdelaziz Lahmadi, OCP Safi Plant Manager.

The vanadium pentoxide catalyst used in the acid plant converters in both the Safi and Jorf Lasfar hubs needs to be periodically serviced to maintain plant productivity and process efficiency.

“Our experience with Outotec was successful in all aspects, and in order to comply with our continuous improvement policy within OCP, we are happy to open doors to new providers with innovative technologies,” states Youssef Lahmiti, OCP Jorf Lasfar Plant Manager.

Outotec Catalyst Service helps OCP achieve targets

The Outotec Catalyst Service includes mechanized equipment for removing, screening and pneumatic reloading of the catalyst. The Outotec team of technicians is internationally experienced in converter maintenance, and Outotec is an internationally recognized leader in sulfuric acid plant production technology.

“The Outotec Bearkat mechanized screening equipment removes the inert material and also removes and screens the catalyst. Dust, ash and other contaminents that cause pressure loss in the converter are removed without damage to the catalyst. In addition, the Outotec Bearkat operates safely at the fastest speeds possible, reducing the downtime required. It also decreases the risk of safety incidents, features dust suppression and reduces losses related to catalyst handling compared to manual methods. Once removed and screened, the catalyst is reloaded pneumatically from the ground into the converter. This method of loading is fast and safe while minimizing dust and handling damage to the catalyst,” explains Kevin Buchanan, Outotec Service Product Manager (Shutdown Services).

Outotec Catalyst Service offers shorter outages and increased productivity

In the past, servicing the catalyst at OCP’s Maroc Chimie unit required an operational outage of almost two months. The Outotec team, led by Mike Spourdalakis and comprised of shutdown services expertise from Canada and project support from Germany, was challenged to complete a similar scope in ten days. The Outotec team was actually able to surpass this target and complete the job in just nine days. These additional days of operation represent a direct production increase to the bottom line of OCP.

After servicing its converter with Outotec, the plant broke production records and reported a near 5% productivity increase. This daily productivity increase will add to OCPs annual tonnage in addition to the increase in production due to the shorter outage.

Outotec Catalyst Service responds to environmental challenges

OCP is facing enormous ecological challenges all along its industrial production chain. Outotec’s proposal for catalyst screening was welcomed by OCP as an appropriate answer to meet these environmental requirements, especially in terms of dust emissions.

“We have been able to deliver our promises to OCP when it comes to speed and safety. This has enabled the customer to reduce shutdown time considerably by implementing our catalyst services, as well as to improve dramatically safety standards. Moreover, we are committed to continue working with OCP in order to improve the customer's maintenance and productivity,” states Mondher Rjaibi, Outotec Project Manager.

OCP honors Outotec with Safety and Respect for the Environment Award

In recognition of this achievement and the fulfillment of the customer’s expectations, OCP rewarded Outotec with the first prize for “Safety and Respect for the Environment” among all supplier companies working at the Safi site in Morocco. The award was the result of the excellent safety and environmental policies applied during the delivery of the screening services.

Outotec has established a strong collaborative partnership with OCP that will allow us to increase business both for equipment and services.


*Metso Outotec was formed July 1, 2020 when Metso and Outotec merged into one company. This case study has been written prior to the merger under the old company name.

OCP honors Outotec with Safety and Respect for the Environment Award
OCP honors Outotec with Safety and Respect for the Environment Award
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