Plant Construction & Process Technology

SIS to Increase Acid Gas Handling Safety

Tailored Process Safety Solution Helps Raise Safety Levels in a Specialty Chemicals Plant

27.10.2017 -

Huntsman Advanced Materials serves over 3000 customers in 80 countries with innovative, customized solutions and more than 1500 products that address global engineering challenges. In addition to being a research-driven company, Huntsman also sees operating safe, clean, efficient facilities in an environmentally and socially responsible manner as an essential part of their business strategy. They have launched a long-term strategy called 20:20 Vision for achieving environmental, health, and safety (EHS) goals.

Sustainability is a core value within Huntsman's corporate and business strategy. The company strives to achieve excellence in environmental protection, health and safety in all aspects of its businesses, which focus on researching, designing and producing specialty chemicals. Huntsman operates a network of plants all around the globe, providing for example customers engaged in the automotive and textile industries with advanced epoxy, acrylic and polyurethane-based polymer products. Huntsman's senior leadership is committed to driving and supporting continuous improvement in process safety across all divisions and sites within the Huntsman conglomeration. This top-down approach has helped Huntsman make solid progress in implementing a robust process safety management system, designed to proactively prevent process-related incidents. All plants are monitored as a part of a corporate safety study and need to comply with stringent safety procedures, says Alejandro Ayala, Automation Manager at Huntsman's Pamplona facility: “Safety is one the major parts of our 20:20 Vision, and it is the responsibility of both management and associates to operate safe, clean, efficient and compliant facilities in a sustainable, environmentally and socially responsible manner. To achieve this goal, we have evaluated the safety performance of our operations here in Pamplona, and identified several areas where we could elevate safety standards through implementing new systems and technologies.”
At their site in Pamplona, Spain, Huntsman has partnered with Siemens to raise process safety standards in one of their process units based on a customized solution for functional safety, which will make a small but significant contribution to achieving company-wide EHS excellence.

A safe and sustainable solution
The site at Pamplona is producing specialty chemicals for the company's advanced materials business, and is a core asset for the company, as Europe is currently one of the strongest growing markets for Huntsman. “However, we need to make the best use of available resources, and this also involves utilizing the expertise of vendors and partners in our projects,” says Ayala. This is why Huntsman contacted Siemens when they decided to upgrade their operational safety based on a customized solution for a Safety Instrumented System (SIS). “We needed a partner who could build a system based on our specific safety procedures and guidelines – and who had the required know-how to support us in the design, implementation and commissioning.”
The plant in question was an acid gas handling unit that purifies the process gas before it is transferred to the process for Lewis adducts. The entire process has a high risk of explosion, so process safety is paramount. In order to ensure that the system would meet the requirements of plant operations and process safety, Siemens first performed an extensive hazard and risk assessment. This approach is in conformance with the requirements of the IEC 61511 standard for functional safety and safety instrumented systems for the process industry. Huntsman then performed a hazard and operability study (HAZOP) and layer of protection analysis (LOPA). Siemens allocated the safety functions to the corresponding protection layers, and supported Huntsman in drawing up the safety requirement specification for the SIS. Siemens also supported Huntsman in implementing a management system for assessing

Implementing the SIS
Following the analysis phase of the project, Siemens then developed and engineered the SIS based on their proven Simatic PCS 7 process control system. On the hardware side, the solution consists of a fault-tolerant Simatic PCS 7 automation system with a 412-5H CPU, Simatic ET 200M distributed systems in a redundant configuration – as well as Simatic S7-300-based systems for controlling several subsystems. After the systems were installed, Siemens also provided training courses for staff at Pamplona and will continue to provide additional Functional Safety Services (FSS) to further improve plant operation.
The entire project was very well executed in just four months – a short time for a project such as this – and the new system was commissioned on time in January 2016, which was reflected in the very positive feedback we received from the Huntsman teams: “We are really impressed both by the professional manner in which Siemens executed the project and the performance of the functional safety system they delivered,” confirms Ayala. With the acid gas handling project completed, Huntsman is now assessing which other plants can be upgraded in a similar way. Having such a good reference for their expertise and technology, Siemens is in a very good position to win future projects – and again prove themselves as reliable partner.

Safety as a key part of sustainability
Process safety has always been a Huntsman core value, and an integral part of the company's global EHS standards. As a consequence, Huntsman's executive management is committed to driving and supporting continuous improvement in process safety across all divisions and sites. As part of this corporate strategy, the advanced materials plant in Pamplona, Spain, has recently upgraded their process safety systems in one of their plants, utilizing expertise and technology from Siemens. The project went smoothly and has helped raise safety standards in the process, which involves an acid gas conditioning unit that has a high explosion risk. This project will serve as a blueprint for more projects that are currently planned at the Pamplona site. With the experience gained, the Pamplona facility will contribute in achieving the goal of implementing a robust process safety management system to proactively prevent process-related incidents throughout the complete Huntsman conglomeration.


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