Buddy Creef and I spoke at the ARC Industry Forum earlier this month about HIMA’s new safety shutdown system: HIQuad X. The big thing in automation is to have a separate safety shutdown system that guarantees the plant will be shutdown safely after a critical upset. This is a controlled and planned process, better than just pulling the plug and letting the chips fall where they may.
Buddy explained to me how important it is to have a completely separate and independent shutdown system in contrast to a shutdown that is integrated into the distributed control system (DCS). The shutdown system should run on different hardware, use a separate operating system, and even have its own signal processing network. In an integrated system, anything that takes down the DCS also pulls down the safety system as well. Therefore, signals from items like automatic shutdown valves or compressor surge control systems should not go to the DCS but rather the independent shutdown system.
If you are operating a blue jean manufacturing facility, perhaps an integrated system is acceptable – the process is not really dangerous. But if the process is a world class ethylene cracking facility, Buddy recommends you have a completely independent shutdown system.
HIMA Americas Inc.
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