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LyondellBasel is a huge chemistry giant with 14,000 employees worldwide. The plant on the 1st Maasvlakte is the largest plant in the world for the production of propylene oxide - a raw material for an incredible number of products. The site is 3.5 km long and runs in a continuous process with its own deep-sea port and train yard. Once every six years there is a major turnaround, during which the production process is shut down and planned maintenance is carried out. Teesing supplied 170 air distribution blocks (also called airheaders) in stainless steel that supply the control valves in the factory with supply air.



Lucht verdeelblokken in barre omstandigheden

The instrument air, which must be clean, dry and grease-free, is distributed via airheaders. These manifolds have 6, 12 or 18 outlets with a tap to switch off specific parts in the factory. Much is demanded of these parts due to the moist air, salt and sand on the Maasvlakte. LyondellBasel knows that these types of distribution blocks need to be replaced more quickly at the Maasvlakte than in the Botlek factory. The current manifolds are made of steel and have been patched up with paint over the years. The new manifolds are made entirely of stainless steel 316L, including the cranes.

Old manifolds

New RVS manifolds


What is propylene oxide?

Propylene oxide is a chemical intermediate compound used to manufacture a number of everyday products ranging from chair seats and animal feed to antifreeze, lacquers and coatings. The propylene oxide produced on the Maasvlakte is sold to customers as a raw material via train or boat. Another part is transported by pipe to another plant of Lyondell for further processing. The plant is currently being expanded with a water incinerator to ensure that the plant processes its own waste and recovers energy from it.



Air distribution blocks are not very complex in nature. But at a chemical plant, the production process cannot be stopped as quickly as a defective component needs to be replaced. That is why these airheaders are subjected to thorough quality control. Three times to be precise: at the manufacturer, at Teesing and at LyondellBasell. Of course dimensions and material are tested. But also the used and packing materials during assembly are examined. Of these, specification sheets are also supplied.



The turnaround lasts 54 days, of which the technical stop takes 26 days. One of the Maintenance Engineers E&I at the plant is Ton Kuijpers, who says: "The turnaround team has been preparing for two years. The plant goes down briefly and a lot has to be done. Normally 140 permanent people work on the plant, but there are more than 1000 people walking around in the stop. For this purpose, 300 portable office units have been set up. An enormous operation." LyondellBasell has a special turnaround team that is continuously working on the preparations for her 2 Rotterdam chemical plants. When this turnaround is finished they will continue the preparations for the turnaround at the plant in the Botlek. The engineering team of the plant specifies the maintenance and gives input to the turnaround team.



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