Metso’s Device Management business solution proves a true success at Norilsk Nickel refining plant in Finland.
In 2009, Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta and their maintenance provider ABB Service deepened their cooperation and teamwork with Metso by signing a Device Management business solution which transferred the storage, maintenance and assembly of valves and accessories at Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta to Metso.
The service agreement was a part of Norilsk Nickel maintenance improvement program. And improvements are indeed remarkable: Device coverage or spares availability for the installed base has increased from the initial 40% to 90% while achieving a 60% reduction in inventory value. Device harmonization and Metso’s optimized selection of spare parts is now reaping excellent rewards with 50% savings in capital cost and stock operation costs.
Moreover, during the continuing agreement better device coverage together with the streamlined ordering and delivery process has eliminated unplanned downtime and enabled a continuous improvement of process performance with minimized risk of production or quality losses.
Outsourcing warehousing operations is always an emotional change, but the expertise brought along by Metso has made it much easier. Petteri Särkiniemi, a service engineer in ABB’s team, has been pleased with the expertise brought along by Metso and also surprised by how easy it was to make the change.
Reliability and system control have improved. There are fewer problems, and even fewer doubters. Valve management is all about response time. When the service is running as it should, a remote warehouse is actually closer than the warehouse that used to be next door.
Harmonization is at the core of Device Management Business Solutions
The agreement was preceded by an Installed Base Audit that covered the plant’s installed valve base. This ensured that valve types and codes were correctly listed in the plant’s maintenance system. Of the 1,600 valves installed, roughly half were Metso Neles valves and the remainder from other manufacturers.
Older production facilities typically have equipment from a wide array of manufacturers, and plenty was expected from the harmonization effort that is at the core of Device Management. At first, the harmonization focused on Metso valves and then over time concentrated on the whole valve base. As the harmonization process continued the more the benefits of the agreement become visible. Harmonization was based on what was most efficient for Norilsk Nickel with valves from Metso and third parties covered by the service agreement.
Improved availability and lower costs right from the start
Over the first five months of the contract, the amount of money tied up in Norilsk’s inventory dropped by 37%, a reduction even faster than originally calculated. An Inventory Audit by Metso enabled better utilization of spare parts already on site and the removal of obsolete parts, with contractual stock held by Metso gradually increasing to ensure availability (Fig 1).