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Texmark Chemicals ushers in the Refinery of the Future

A spotlight on IoT-enabled predictive maintenance

In an industry with a long history of reluctance to change, Texmark Chemicals, with the help of Deloitte, embraced digital innovations such as the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), a new technology in the chemical industry, to drive profitability and create a repeatable use case in predictive maintenance IoT.

Texmark Chemicals and the Refinery of the Future

Beginning the journey

For Doug Smith, chief executive officer of Texmark Chemicals, becoming a Refinery of the Future means a commitment to providing technological tools to employees that allow them to do their jobs more effectively, efficiently, and safely. To him the rewards for embracing digital disrupters outweighed the risks. “If you stagnate, you’ll be stuck,” he said. “By working within a change culture, it allows us to maintain a competitive advantage in how we do business.” That change culture is what spurred the deliberate decision to transform Texmark.

Through an existing relationship with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Texmark was introduced to the power of advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, edge computing, and industrial Internet of Things (IoT).

Their digital transformation to become the Refinery of the Future involved implementing five use cases enabled by these capabilities, starting with persona-based predictive maintenance. Having established an alliance relationship, HPE recruited Deloitte to lead the charge on developing an end-to-end predictive maintenance solution that would help lay the groundwork for subsequent use cases such as full lifecycle asset performance management, advanced video analytics, connected workers, and digital barrier controls and safety improvements.

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The importance of an ecosystem

In addition to Deloitte and HPE, six additional companies including PTC, National Instruments, OSIsoft, Allied Reliability Group, Sparkcognition, and Flowserve, came together to form an ecosystem team to bring the solution to life.

The team collaborated on key strategies that would impact and solve for:

  • Evolving the refinery’s existing maintenance processes, responding to immediate asset outages
  • Planned maintenance, performing updates on a routine schedule
  • Proactive maintenance, tending to certain pumps based on historical utilization patterns

Deloitte led the three-phase implementation, applying our deep industry experience in oil, gas, and chemicals to create persona-based predictive maintenance. These data-driven personas reflected the daily functions of different job types, creating a framework to allow immediate reductions in employees’ existing manual tasks. These personas also provided employees the opportunity to learn new skills by participating in the technical implementation of the project.

Phase one Focused on establishing a digital foundation by engaging edge-to-core connectivity and implementing location-based services using wireless sensors
Phase two Integrated HPE’s Edgeline Converged IOT platform, enabling high-speed data capture analytics
Phase three Engaged the ecosystem to deliver a turnkey IoT solution featuring predictive maintenance and asset monitoring


Rachael Goydan, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, added,

We do a great deal of research and development around new technologies and how they can be used in different operational settings, so that first-hand knowledge truly benefitted Texmark Chemicals during their journey.

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Leveraging the power of data

Throughout the phased implementation, Texmark employees were included from day one. Working with Deloitte at the outset to install the wireless sensors and digital enablers, they experienced firsthand how this technology would be integrated into their roles.

Harnessing the dual power of human and digital transformation allowed the refinery’s pumps to be wired to deliver actionable and personalized data to individual employees.

Data from the pumps fed into digital dashboards tailored to each persona that allowed access to real-time conditions.

Throughout the subsequent phases, Texmark continued to use Deloitte’s personas to shift toward smart, predictive maintenance. Data utilization drives their decision-making to predict and prevent asset failure, reduce risk, increase productivity, and lower costs.

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Innovating and improving never ends

Despite operating within an industry reluctant to change, Texmark plans to continue embracing new technologies as they emerge. While refineries will always house elements of the past—utilities, boilers, cooling towers, reactors, storage tanks—the Refinery of the Future will continue to evolve. But Texmark won’t be moving forward alone. Smith declares,

Deloitte was absolutely focused on business outcomes. They had such a wealth of knowledge of the economics of digital manufacturing, leveraging IoT, and what we’re trying to accomplish here at the Refinery of the Future. What we’re trying to do here was something that hadn’t been done before and they’re really well suited to do that.

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Impact

  • Predictive maintenance increases mean time between failures and helps identify root causes
  • Target zero safety incidents and unplanned outages
  • Expected 50 percent reduction in planned maintenance costs
  • Potential to reduce the 1,000 hours per year currently spent conducting walk-downs and vibration analysis to determine malfunctions

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