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Implementing the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Many names have been given to the current state of technology in manufacturing including the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and Industry 4.0. No matter the name, what’s happening is garnering many headlines today.1 The general goal of the new methodologies is to use sensors, data, artificial intelligence and other current tools to increase manufacturing productivity and profitability.


Studying What Went Wrong

From time to time VALVEmagazine.com will open up the archives and re-publish some of our most popular articles from years past. This first appeared on April 25, 2017.

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In October of 2016, the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its findings into the tragic 2013 explosion and fire at the Williams Olefin Plant in Geismar, LA that killed two workers and injured 167.

The incident occurred during non-routine operational activities that introduced heat to the reboiler, which was offline and isolated from its pressure relief device. The heat increased the temperature of a liquid propane mixture confined within the reboiler, resulting in a dramatic pressure rise within the vessel. The reboiler shell ruptured catastrophically, causing a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion and fire (Figure 1).

17 spr failure 1

The CSB investigation revealed deficiencies in the plant’s safety culture that resulted (among other things) in failure to manage appropriately or review effectively two significant changes. These changes introduced new hazards involving the reboiler that ruptured. The first was installation of block valves that could isolate the reboiler from its protective pressure relief device. The second was the administrative controls Williams relied upon to control the position (open or closed) of those block valves.

Cycle Isolation: Monitoring for Better Usage

One of the largest controllable losses in power plants is leakage-based energy loss. These losses, which have been documented at more than 400 British thermal units per kilowatt hours (Btu/kWh) in some cases, are often overlooked because of the difficulty of spotting them in systems that have hundreds of potentially leaking valves.

Managing Valves in EPCM Projects

Engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) is a form of contract agreement between a client (end user) and a contractor. The EPCM contractor is responsible for implementing the various phases of a project, including design, procurement and construction, and providing overall project execution management. Because successful implementation of any project requires balancing cost, quality (scope) and time, successful EPCM means completing a project on time, on budget and with all project requirements met. That translates into a satisfied end user.

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