Safety of analyser houses

24 February 2016

This week EEMUA is at HazardEx 2016 (24-25 February, Runcorn) where we are presenting a paper on the safety of analyser houses.

The petrochemical and chemical industries need to control continuous or batch processes to ensure safety and environmental compliance and to optimise operations for maximum profitability. On-line process analysers are a valuable tool to help achieve these objectives as they can provide frequent continuous or cyclic analytical information on key process properties to allow on-line optimisation of the plant and rapid identification and correction of off-spec or undesirable operating conditions. Analyser precision is also usually better than laboratory reference methods so closer control and targeting to product specification can be achieved using an on-line analyser.

On-line process analysers are frequently grouped together and installed in enclosed walk-in environmentally controlled analyser houses to ensure optimum conditions for performance and maintenance. However, this creates some specific additional safety risks as flammable, toxic and potentially asphyxiating materials (process samples and utilities required by the analyser) continuously flow into an enclosed space where electrical equipment is operating and which plant personnel frequently need to enter for the checking and maintenance of the analysers. The correct design and operation of the analyser house is essential to mitigate these risks.

The EEMUA paper will address the specific approaches and considerations used for the design to reduce the risks to acceptable levels. It will examine the specific design criteria, monitoring, alarms and operating procedures required to achieve this together with other mitigating steps that are used.

EEMUA representatives are available over the two days of HazardEx 2016 to discuss EEMUA’s automation, control and electrical related activities – call +44 (0)207 488 0801 to make an appointment.

An EEMUA article addressing the topic recently appeared in the HazardEx magazine and highlighted a number of useful sources of information that provide full details on the potential hazards and mitigations for the design of analyser houses and on other aspects of the safe design and operation of analyser systems and installations. These sources include EEMUA Publications 138 (Design and installation of on-line analyser systems), 187 (Analyser systems - a guide to maintenance management) and 209 (Guide to the development and implementation of on-line analyser applications).