Cream of the Crop

How one fertilizer manufacturer's top-notch boiler and machinery program helps put food on your table

Boiler and Machinery Expertise: Mosaic and FM Global

Boiler and Machinery Expertise: Mosaic and FM Global

Chemical client The Mosaic Company speaks of FM Global's boiler and machinery expertise.

Leading phosphate and potash fertilizer manufacturer The Mosaic Company knows just what it takes to nourish crop plants. FM Global visited their Riverview, Florida, USA, location—one of Mosaic's six phosphate crop nutrient manufacturing facilities in the USA—to speak with Property Loss Control Manager Tyler Steffes and Maintenance Strategy/Services Director Kay Bourque about how well they manage their boiler and machinery risk to produce crop nutrients and help the world grow the food it needs.

Learn Mosaic's secrets to boiler and machinery success, and how exceptional care for their equipment ensures the world's food supply remains abundant and nutritious.

Tyler Steffes

Steffes is the liaison among Mosaic's corporate staff, phosphate and potash business units, facilities and insurers—FM Global being a key primary strategic partner on the company's property insurance program.

Tell us about your facility here in Riverview (Florida, USA) and what machinery is in operation.
At this granulation plant, we produce and distribute phosphate fertilizer through our agricultural network, which is then applied to crops to make them grow better. We operate rotary vessels (granulators, dryers and coolers) to combine phosphoric acid and ammonia to make finished phosphate fertilizer. We also recycle the steam coming off our sulfuric acid production to drive our turbine generators and produce power. This captures energy that would otherwise be wasted.

What challenges do you face?
From an industry standpoint, the world's population is growing rapidly, but there are fewer acres of arable land, requiring us to grow more on the limited acres available. We rely heavily on the operational excellence of our equipment so that we can produce finished product at the great rate we need.

We're also faced with having to provide consistent risk reduction guidance to facilities that are specialized in unique areas—surface mining, underground mining, solution mining, sulfuric and phosphoric acid production, ammonia production and handling, and distribution.

What has been your experience selling risk improvement across the Mosaic organization?
There will always be competing priorities for capital and, many times, it's hard for folks to see the need to replace equipment when the exterior looks perfectly fine—even if it's the inside that's having problems. We have had to be persistent in keeping the value of risk improvement on the radar with our facilities and management teams, so it is not forgotten or overlooked when allocating funds for improvements.

Fortunately, our senior management is fully behind our asset integrity culture. They provide direction for us to win and grow, and support keeping our equipment healthy.

What role does equipment maintenance play in fulfilling Mosaic's mission?
To be successful, we must provide crop nutrients at a reasonable price and to do that, our facilities must operate well and reliably. By investing in risk improvement and practicing preventative equipment maintenance, we reduce unplanned outages, and identify and avoid potential failures.

What's an example of the good risk management you're practicing today?
We know that we have a vulnerability around a transformer at another one of our facilities. Through our partnership with FM Global, we've quantified that risk by identifying the actual dollars and cents associated with a potential transformer failure and the resulting cost to fill the gap during downtime. This recently helped us prioritize risk management against other investment opportunities within the company, and we now have approval to purchase a spare transformer.

We'll use this piece of equipment in case our current transformers fail, and it will be available for use at our other locations as we need it. Conducting preventative maintenance is key, so the transformer is ready if, and when, we need it most.

What value do you find in your relationship with FM Global?
Our facilities look to FM Global as an engineering resource. They bring extensive loss history from their client network and real-world equipment scenarios to help Mosaic avoid similar issues. And, their field engineers have great training and industry experience. We're happy with how our relationship has grown and that, ultimately, FM Global is protecting Mosaic's dollars.

Kay Bourque

Bourque sets the strategy for Mosaic's phosphate business unit's equipment maintenance and reliability activities.

Mosaic's phosphate business unit has several formal programs in place to manage equipment. Can you tell us about them?
We follow a formal Asset Integrity Program that is built on four pillars: reliability, mechanical integrity, workflow and turnaround management. The program brings consistency across all our phosphate facilities to reduce unplanned outages and increase equipment uptime. We also have a Mechanical Integrity Program and comprehensive asset strategies for our most critical equipment.

What role does FM Global play in these programs?
FM Global partners with us in many ways. Their engineers are involved in our inspections, repairs and testing, and they have helped identify improvement opportunities that we would not normally see. A very good example of this is when they identified ways to enhance our preventative maintenance through nondestructive examination [NDE] of our rotary vessels.

How do you prepare for the unexpected?
We have preventative and predictive measures in place for most of our equipment. We use all sorts of different technologies—from vibration to infrared to thickness testing—to ensure we know the condition of our assets. Once we know the condition, we can make sure we're managing it well so we don't end up with a failure.

We also rely on FM Global's predictive analytics tools to help develop our risk improvement plan and prioritize our facilities' risk reduction recommendations.

Tell us more about your asset strategies.
The asset strategies are developed according to industry standards and Mosaic experience, and are reviewed by FM Global's boiler and machinery engineers as they're being developed. They bring their [FM Global Property Loss Prevention] data sheets and corporate subject matter experts into the conversation to strengthen our assets.

What do you find most rewarding in your role?
It makes me proud to see people's mind-sets changing from 'How do I fix what's broken?' to 'How do I keep things from breaking?' That's huge. To move from a reactive approach to a proactive one has taken many, many years. But now, with our Asset Integrity Program, I believe we will continue to move forward and be sustainable for the long term.


Find out more about FM Global's Boiler and Machinery services.