Stop and full speed ahead

On 27 November 2020, after 46 days and 8,000 activities with no accidents and not one single person being infected with COVID-19, a turnaround was completed at the Nynas refinery in Harburg.

During the shutdown, the refinery’s process units were closed down in order to enable all scheduled measures so that the equipment could be certified in accordance with current legal requirements.

The reason for the shutdown is that a refinery, like any other production facility, is subjected to wear and tear and needs regular maintenance. Government agencies also require a more comprehensive turnaround at regular intervals — every five years in Germany — so that plants can be opened up and inspected.

In connection with the turnaround, the opportunity was taken to carry out improvements that cannot be done during normal operation. These included the installation of a new column head — weighing 60 tonnes! — in the upper section of the central vacuum distillation column.

Another project that was recently completed in Harburg is the updating of the IT system for loading bitumen. Participants in the project, working remotely across several countries, followed a detailed schedule with ongoing activities and daily meetings on Teams. The entire update and implementation took place virtually. This is a good example of what can be achieved with joint efforts, collaboration and engagement combined with effective digital tools.

Projects

Gothenburg, Sweden

The Älvsborg Bridge spans the estuary of the Göta Älv river at the entrance to Gothenburg and the biggest port in Scandinavia. The bridge, officially opened in 1966, has a total length of 930 m and a suspended span of 418 m. To guarantee the bridge's functionality and extend its useful life, extensive maintenance work has been under way since 2019, the third and final stage being completed this summer.

Talking point

Road infrastructure in North-Western Europe

Even though many successful road projects have been completed in Western Europe in recent years, the durability and availability of the road infrastructure needs to be improved.

Interview

Paving the way for asphalt 4.0

Digitalisation is making inroads in the asphalt industry. The latest Eurasphalt & Eurobitume (E&E) Congress was held virtually in June. It was a success, but the next E&E event will allow industry stakeholders to meet face-to-face.

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Sustainable Development

The way forward for Wales

Over ten years in the making, the Welsh Government’s new surface course specification centres around stone mastic asphalt (SMA) and hopes to significantly increase the service life of the road surface materials.

Noted

All the key players are working together to achieve the best possible result.

Katri Eskola, Specialist Road Maintenance Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency

Talking point: The COVID-19 pandemic


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