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Huntsman contacted Siemens when it decided to upgrade its operational safety through a tailored solution for a safety instrumented system (SIS).

Chemical Industry

Tailor-made functional safety

At its site in Pamplona, Spain, Huntsman has partnered with Siemens to raise process safety standards in one of the company’s process units through a tailored solution for functional safety. This project will make a small but significant contribution to achieving company-wide environmental, health, and safety excellence.

Huntsman Advanced Materials serves more than 3,000 customers in 80 countries with innovative, tailor-made solutions and more than 1,500 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 its business strategy and has launched a long-term initiative focused on achieving environmental, health, and safety (EHS) goals called 20:20 Vision.

All plants are monitored as part of a corporate safety program and need to comply with stringent safety procedures, says Alejandro Ayala, automation manager at Huntsman’s Pamplona operations: “It is the responsibility of both management and associates to operate safe, clean, efficient, and compliant facilities in a sustainable and environmentally and socially responsible manner. For this purpose, we have evaluated the safety performance of our operations here in Pamplona and identified several areas where we could elevate safety standards through the implementation of new systems and technologies.”

Safe, 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. “However, we need to make the best use of available resources, and that also involves utilizing expertise of vendors and partners in our projects,” says Ayala. That is why Huntsman contacted Siemens when it decided to upgrade its operational safety through a tailored 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 line with the requirements of the IEC 61511 standard for functional safety and safety instrumented systems for the process industry sector. Then Huntsman did 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 specifying the Safety Requirements Specification for the SIS. Further, Siemens helped Huntsman implement a management system for assessing and auditing Functional Safety in the plant.

We were impressed with both the professional manner in which Siemens executed the project and the performance of the functional safety system they delivered.
Alejandro Ayala, Automation Manager, Huntsman's Pamplona operations

Implementing the SIS

Following the analysis phase of the project, Siemens developed and engineered the SIS based on the 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 redundant configuration, and Simatic S7-300 systems for controlling several subsystems. After installing the systems, Siemens also provided training for staff at the Pamplona site and will continue to provide additional functional safety services to further improve operations in the plant. The entire project ran smoothly and the new system was started up according to schedule, so the feedback from the teams at Huntsman was very positive: “We were impressed with both the professional manner in which Siemens executed the project and the performance of the functional safety system they delivered,” confirms Ayala.

This project will serve as a blueprint for additional projects that are currently planned at the Pamplona site with the ultimate goal of implementing a robust process safety management system to proactively prevent process-related incidents. Huntsman is currently assessing which other plants can be upgraded in a similar manner. The customer’s positive experience with Siemens expertise and technology places the company in a good position to serve as a reliable partner for these future projects. 

Picture credits: Siemens AG