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Refinery Operations Streamlining for Shell

Shell boosts efficiency, cuts environmental impact with heavy machinery data collected through MachineMax's IIoT solution.

One of the Shell Manufacturing Centers located in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, faced a lack of visibility into the usage of the machines on-site. The facility is a key part of Shell's integrated chemical business and is also home to a number of research and development projects focused on improving the efficiency and sustainability of chemical production processes.

Having a perfect understanding of how the machinery runs is key to creating a safe environment for everyday chemical production processes.


The Sarnia Manufacturing Centre is an industrial facility owned by Shell Canada Limited, a subsidiary of Shell plc., where a significant number of contractors work on-site annually.

The facility faces one big hurdle: the center covers 540 acres (220 hectares) and utilizes over 100 pieces of machinery, but has a lack of insight into the machinery's utilization and its impact on the facility's operations.

Because of this lack of visibility, the team had no understanding of where the machines were, their utilization, the CO2 impact, or hours worked. This absence of data impaired the center to make informed decisions on the maintenance, repair, or replacement of their equipment and consequently, incurring unnecessary costs and losing productivity due to inefficient operations.


To tackle this challenge, the team of Shell Sarnia required a solution that could provide real-time information on the machinery’s performance, location and utilization. That is where the MachineMax solution came in.

The solution provides real-time tracking and analytics for heavy machinery, with the goal to test the value that this technology could bring to their operations. Based on that, the center started by connecting four machines to the system.

Data is collected from sensors located on the machines and transmitted via the LoRaWAN protocol to LORIOT carrier-grade LoRaWAN® Network Server, which forwards it to MachineMax's monitoring system. The data is then processed and displayed to Shell's facility managers.

After receiving the first sets of data, the team was surprised to discover that none of them were meeting their expectations. This discovery led the team to expand the solution across the entire 220-hecatare site by connecting over 100 pieces of machinery.

"The amount of vehicle idling, underutilization and emissions was a lot more than anyone expected, but we never had the visibility of that so there was no data to implement changes on site, but now we have irrefutable proof with MachineMax to make those changes." said Jason Kimball - Maintenance, Construction and Turnaround Manager at Shell.

MachineMax-Shell use case

The Return

Upon analyzing the data provided by the system, the team found out that some of their machines were being utilized for less than an hour each month. This finding highlighted a significant opportunity to streamline operations and reduce maintenance costs.

In response, the team made the decision to remove the first five vehicles from their fleet entirely and reassigned other Shell vehicles to different sites.

With the implementation of the solution, they:

  • Minimized machine downtime
  • Reduced number of underutilized machines
  • Improve equipment reliability
  • Decrease maintenance costs
  • Streamlined operations
  • Improve overall efficiency

Overall, the insights provided by the solution played a crucial role in optimizing the Sarnia Manufacturing Center's machinery operations. By taking proactive measures to address inefficiencies and underutilization, Shell Sarnia was able to reduce costs, increase productivity, and ultimately improve its bottom line.

Moreover, as is often the case with IoT, this solution contributes directly to the achievement of some of the united nations' sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Sustaibale Development Goals logo
No Poverty
Zero Hunger
Good Heath and Well-being
Quality Education
Gender Equality
Clean Water and Sanitation
Affordable and Clean Energy
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Reduced Inequality
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Responsible Consumption and Production
Climate Action
Life Below Water
Life on Land
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Partnerships for the Goals


This innovative solution has facilitated real-time tracking and analytics for heavy machinery, allowing the team at Shell Sarnia to optimize their operations and minimize inefficiencies.

With the ability to monitor and analyze data in real time, the facility has been able to reduce idling times, improve the sustainability of its operations, enhance overall efficiency, and enable the team to identify areas for improvement and take corrective action quickly.

"This is still a process, we are trying to erase many years of inefficient behavior and this is not the operator’s fault, but it will take continuous follow-up and at least we now have complete visibility on the situation, the progress and we can actually measure the change and impac", said Jason Kimball.

In conclusion, the resounding success of the solution paved a way for a more efficient and sustainable future.

Head over to the MachineMax website to learn more about their solution.

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About MachineMax

MachineMax is an award-winning equipment management platform and universal telematics sensors for off-highway fleets, that work with customers to measure key metrics.

The metrics providing the biggest initial impact include: utilisation, idling time, fuel consumption, emissions, location, and operating hours. This ensures that sites maximize their productivity, efficiency and profitability.

Their customers, across all industries, have used these metrics to identify patterns in operational inefficiencies including: too many equipment onsite resulting in under-utilisation, incorrect equipment used for the job resulting in lower productivity, ineffective site layout resulting in idling and excessive travelling, suboptimal operator behaviour resulting in dangerous, and inefficient utilisation.

The MachineMax approach ensures data collected by heavy equipment can be communicated in real-time to technical teams and management. Focused on learning-based outcomes; we specialise in building secure and cutting-edge products that solve daily challenges and improve industry practice.

Learn more at machinemax.io