Conditioning and Testing

Conditioning and testing generally mean preparing lines and equipment for operation for initial use or after maintenance for start- up. There should be regular procedures for clean- out and conditioning of each kind of equipment, following the manufacturers ' documents and internal best practices. All safety procedures should be performed for pressure, temperature, leaks, refastening joints and so forth.

Addressing energy efficiency some points deserve special attention. Before lighting any fire or turning anything on, do check if all insulation is properly installed and refractory is cured. If they are not attended from the beginning, energy is wasted to the environment at a higher rate than designed. Especially if the refractory is not cured, it breaks at the start of operation, and does not performs its tasks so more energy is lost. On initial pressurization, check if any leaks listed to be repaired really are secure. Verify thoroughly all repairs and equipment parts replacement that are related to energy performance, if they were accomplished and how effectively the renewed piece is working. Big differences from previous or expected performance should eventually postpone start-up for additional verification or at least be recorded for monitoring during the following operational cycle.

Beyond this phase, optimized warm-up procedures must be followed to reduce supplementary energy use and this is particular applicable to thermal processes such as combustion, fired heaters, furnaces, boilers, heat exchangers and steam systems.

This step tells a lot about gap reduction from the pre- to post- maintenance condition, and helps forecast what can be expected over energy performance and problems for operation.

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