Reliability Workforce

Third Annual Culture Awards Winner: Best Culture Start-Up

Gary Parr | March 1, 2022

By Gary L. Parr, Editorial Director, and Dr. Klaus Blache, Univ. of Tennessee RMC

As the manufacturing world addresses the realities and fallout of the global pandemic, it has become critical that enterprises work toward developing a reliability-oriented culture. From a maintenance perspective, that means minimizing reactive practices.

Success at reaching those goals is what earns the Torrance Refining Co., Torrance, CA, ( recognition as Best Culture Start-Up in this year’s competition. Torrance Refinery has built a collaborative team whose members are empowered and encouraged to take a proactive approach to identifying, preventing, and resolving operational issues.

In July 2016, the Torrance Refinery was acquired by PBF Energy and became the Torrance Refining Company LLC, an independent merchant refiner. As an independent, without a central technical organization, they had to prioritize and execute work with limited resources. Since the acquisition, the total routine-maintenance spend has been reduced from slightly less than $100 million in 2017 to approximately $58 million in 2020, and it continues to decline. Average cost per work order, in that same time frame, was reduced from $11,800 to $6,500.

Three main efforts contributed to their successful reliability journey:

• reliability analyses such as Reliability Availability Maintainability (RAM) analysis and Weibull

• preventive/predictive maintenance optimization

• improved maintenance work selection and process.

The RAM analysis conducted in 2017 identified electrical-system reliability as the highest vulnerability. The electrical system was jointly upgraded with the power supplier, Southern California Edison. Today it is nine times more reliable than it was in 2016 and twice as reliable as the typical U.S. refinery.

The effort to establish predictive/preventive maintenance practices initially focused on the refinery’s pump MTBF. It was at 63 months in 2016. As a result of engaging knowledgeable people and finding root causes, it is currently at 150 months.

In another effort, the refinery team worked to improve their maintenance work selection and process. As a result, reactive work orders were reduced from 50.2% to 38.8% in four years and they increased their PM/PdM work orders from 49.8% to 61.2%. These numbers don’t include additional PdMs, such as thickness monitoring using ultrasonic and radiography techniques, that make the results even more significant. 

One company Operating Doctrine principle states: “We are dedicated to achieving operational excellence through a relentless pursuit of reliability.” Not only have they demonstrated an absolute dedication to the mission, but they have learned that none of these activities can be completed alone. Collaborating across different refinery functions under the same vision has been a critical key to Torrance Refinery’s success. EP



Gary Parr

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