• Agrium, Inc.

    Agrium Vanscoy Potash Operations Reliability Improvement Project

    Saskatchewan, Canada

Project Summary


Agrium introduced a CAD 2 million reliability improvement program in 2011 with the goal of improving plant reliability by 50 percent by 2015 at its potash mine and mineral processing facility in Vanscoy, Saskatchewan, Canada. Previous efforts to improve asset and plant performance had not achieved sustainable gains as there was a poor understanding of the failure mechanisms undermining equipment performance, and no targeted approach to detecting and predicting deteriorating conditions.

Bentley’s AssetWise APM solution was deployed to drive the reliability improvement program that changed Agrium’s culture from a reactive to proactive approach to maintenance. Company-wide reliability teams focused on root cause analysis of past equipment and process failures. Present-day conditions were monitored, ranked by criticality, and scheduled for maintenance and corrective action. AssetWise APM determined equipment criticality, performed reliability centered maintenance analysis, and developed maintenance routes. Work orders were created and tracked through the SAP lifecycle.


Plant inspectors were equipped with handheld devices that access a cloud-sourced failure modes library for Agrium facilities. This significantly improved condition monitoring, problem identification, and reporting. As a result, proactive repairs have reduced maintenance costs on a dollar-per-ton basis by 32 percent at the Vanscoy plant over past three years. The project has improved plant uptime and helped reduce the number of missed shipments and lost sales during peak fertilizer season, which is a key requirement of the business. Also, by reducing the number of unexpected failures Agrium have reduced the risks of environmental releases and the need for rushed hazardous repairs that put staff at risk.


AssetWise APM tracked inspection route compliance, alarm acknowledgement, and other performance metrics to ensure the tools were actively used. The networked solution allowed team members across the organization to use templates for results analysis on common equipment, reducing these efforts by 50 percent. They new systems and tools helped Agrium achieve its goal of changing the facility culture and creating sustainable improvements.

  • Early detection and mitigation of equipment failures increased plant up-time and reduced maintenance costs by 32% on a dollar-per-ton basis.
  • AssetWise APM reduced inspection route development time and associated personnel costs by 50%, saving more than CAD 150,000 at one site.
  • In 2014, Agrium avoided 4,102 potential failures thanks to reliability improvements at the Vanscoy potash operations.
User Quote:
  • “Use of Bentley's AssetWise APM tool has allowed us to increase operator engagement in monitoring the condition of equipment, and reduce unplanned failures and the associated costs and risks of emergency work. This tool has also contributed to an overall increase in plant performance.”

    Keith Berriman P.Eng, CMRP Director of Engineering & Reliability Agrium Inc.