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Szenerie Insel Felsen einsames Haus

Turnaround and TÜV inspection at a refinery (BP Gelsenkirchen)

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Ambitious projects demand an extraordinary performance from all those involved. And show exactly what is needed for such undertakings to be a success: expertise, quality and great teamwork.

Heroes in medieval suits of armour, fascinating locations and seemingly impossible tasks that are mastered with glamour and sophistication. Most fantasy films become blockbusters. For good reason, as there are very few other genres around that are quite so captivating. When the lights go on at the end of the film, it feels as if we have just spent time in a completely different world.

The people producing these successful films leave nothing to chance when creating the perfect film experience. Attention is paid to the minutest of details for every single scene; every shot is meticulously planned. The ‘Making of’ documentaries often show just how much work goes into making the films. Take a look at how your favourite film was made and you might view its box office success quite differently. And maybe you’ll discover some parallels between the filming on set and the everyday work during a turnaround at a large industrial plant. A bit far-fetched? No, not really, as there are several things that are very similar indeed.

Experienced teams side by side

For example, the teams – experienced crews that are often made up of several thousand people. A whole range of different specialists are needed for complex turnarounds and they are united by one common goal – just as is the case for those making a film. Their individual skills and their ability to work with the other team members help to make the project a success. Working to such a tight schedule, everyone must be in place ready to go at the exact moment they are needed. Internationality is another common thread. Just as on the film set, a turnaround involves colleagues from many different countries, who often have a small sticker on their helmets to let others know what language(s) they speak.

In many cases, the venue is gigantic. Actors taking part in monumental films have to walk several kilometres a day to shoot the scenes in outdoor locations. This is also true for those working on the extensive grounds of a major industrial plant. And yes, a day’s work at a turnaround is an exceptional situation just like a day’s work of filming – and, of course, involves day and night shifts.

It’s all about the preparation

It is difficult to put into words just how important meticulous preparation work is, no matter whether it is for shooting a film or carrying out a turnaround. Everything must be in place and on hand when the work starts – be it the costumes and props or the tools and materials. Months of preparation work and a reliable team in the background are needed for both cases. Close collaboration work on site is also a must. Just as actors have their all-important read-through, the turnaround experts consult with each other as soon as they arrive on site – at least once a day and sometimes even more.

Anyone thinking at this stage that auditions do not need to be held for a turnaround is mistaken. Clients often stage onboarding sessions ahead of major projects to test the specialists to see if they really are experts in their field. Turnarounds are simply a world of their own – just like the cosmos of successful fantasy films.

The project

BP had up to 2,500 external operatives working at its refinery in Gelsenkirchen during the TAR 2018, the largest inspection to be held in the European refinery sector that year. XERVON Oberflächentechnik was also involved – taking over classic corrosion control tasks that included applying a ceramic coating on a boiler so that it could continue to be used. According to the original plan, the company’s insulation experts were to replace 30 percent of the insulation material on one of the reactors. However, things can change quickly during a turnaround. After the reactor had been opened up and checked, the decision was made to replace the whole of the insulation. It is, therefore, essential to have sufficient personnel and corresponding technical capacities to be able to cope with such situations. Within a very short space of time, XERVON Oberflächentechnik had removed the four layers of old insulation and replaced it with four layers of new material with different properties – covering a total surface area of 500m2.


Working under turnaround conditions is always an exceptional situation. Thanks to our meticulous preparation work, experienced teams and extensive volumes of equipment, our services dovetail perfectly with the ambitious schedules.

XERVON Oberflächentechnik GmbH // A company of the REMONDIS Group