Since January, 2008, the Kothari team has implemented numerous processes to encourage collaborative problem solving, Kaizen, and innovation. Below is a case study of a recent success in this effort
 
Innovative Techniques in Problem Solving – A Case Study
 
Issue
Operation Team had observed a gradual deterioration of vacuum in "Vacuum Flash Column" (T-116). After many deliberations with the Operations and Maintenance team, our Tech Service Engineer Arumugam examined the situation to determine the cause.
 
Impact
Flash Point of the final product started seeing a downward trend. Vacuum level of the column was reported to be 15-20 mm hg as against 3-5 mm hg normal level. 
 
Root cause
Stem Ejector Condenser (E-119) of this column was found out to be performing poorly due to fouling. Pl. see the attached drawing for better understanding.
 
Immediate Proposal made by the Team
It was suggested that the Plant had to shutdown and go for mechanical cleaning of the condenser, which could have easily taken 2 days. We explored innovative ideas to clean the condenser online and hence, formed a team to study the opportunities.
 
Team formation
A team was put in place and A.R.Ashok Kumar, Arumugam and A.R.Sridhraran led from the front with others supporting them in their endeavours.
The team identified 'Online cleaning' using solvent as a solution and immediately utilised the services of Sical Logistics Ltd - a third party which provides cooling water treatment program.
 
Online cleaning commenced on 5th April 2008
Sical Logistics provided the required chemicals and man power to support Kothari Team. Cleaning activity was carried out for 24 hours.
 
Good news in the end
The team had successfully cleaned the condenser online and within 24 hours the process condition was re-established. With improved product quality, we are continuously exporting to Infinium. There has never been any stoppage for a minute considering the situations that were precarious. The vacuum level is maintained below 5mmHG.