Process Safety Management

OSHA’s Process Safety Management

Unexpected releases of toxic, reactive, or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals have been reported for many years, in various industries using chemicals with such properties. Regardless of the industry that uses these highly hazardous chemicals, there is a potential for an accidental release any time they are not properly controlled, creating the possibility of disaster.

To help ensure safe and healthful workplaces, OSHA has issued the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals standard, which contains requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals.

Process safety management (PSM) is addressed in specific standards for the general and construction industries. OSHA’s standard emphasizes the management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices.

OSHA has been busy when it comes to monitoring facilities with highly hazardous chemicals (HHCs). Since 2010, OSHA has issued more than 69 enforcement cases regarding Process Safety Management (PSM). The problem is, many organizations don’t understand OSHA’s PSM standard or realize if it even applies to them.

Why Did OSHA Develop PSM?

In 1991, to help ensure safe and healthy workplaces, OSHA issued the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals standard (29 CFR 1910.119). This rule contains requirements of the management of hazards associated with processes using HHCs. Additionally, in January 2017, OSHA issued a new National Emphasis Program to further protect workers’ health and safety in certain industries that pose high risks to people and the environment.

To help minimize toxic occurrences, PSM was created. PSM aims to prevent the release of toxic, reactic, flammable, and explosive chemicals into the environment.

What Facilities are covered?

OSHA states that the PSM standard applies to “a process that involves a chemical at or above the specified threshold quantities (TQs) listed in Appendix A of the standard. The Appendix contains a list of toxic and reactive HHCs, which present a potential for a catastrophic event at or above the TQ. When evaluating chemicals on the list, it’s important to look at the TQ as well as checking and verifying the chemical abstract service number (CAS). This involves the entire chemical inventory, making an appropriate chemical inventory process crutial.

One important interpretation to note is that OSHA uses the phrase “on site in one location” in the standard to mean that the standard applies when a TQ of a HHC exists within an area under the control of an employer or group of affiliated employers. It also applies to any group of vessels that are interconnected or in separate vessels that are close enough in proximity that the HHC could be involved in during a potential catastrophic release.

Types of Industries Included

Any industry that processes chemicals could be included in OSHA’s PSM standard. Some examples of these industries include:

• Industrial organics and inorganics

• Paints

• Pharmaceuticals

• Adhesives

• Sealants and fibers

• Petrochemical facilities

• Paper mills

• Food processing with anhydrous ammonia over the TQ

Exclusions

A company is exempt from the requirements of PSM when:

• A TQ of flammable liquids is stored in atmospheric tanks or transferred without the benefit of chilling or refrigeration.

• Hydrocarbon fuels are used solely for workplace consumption as a fuel (e.g. propane used for comfort heating or gasoline for vehicle refueling).

• Fuels are not a part of a process containing another HHC covered by this standard.

Considering the severity of the consequences that HHCs pose to the environment and the past disasters that have occurred, we only see PSM continuing to become a stronger and stronger regulation.

Design for safety

System safety

System Safety is the application of engineering and management principles, criteria, and techniques to optimize all aspects of safety within the constraints of operational effectiveness, time, and cost throughout all phases of the system life cycle. It is a planned, disciplined and systematic approach to preventing or reducing accidents throughout the lifecycle of a system

Primary concern is the management of risks through:

  • Risk identification, evaluation, elimination & control through analysis, design & management

History of system safety

Design Safety arose in the 1950s after dissatisfaction with the fly-fix-fly approach to safety. Design Safety was first adopted by the US Air Force. It led to the development of mil-std-882 Standard Practice for System Safety (v1 1960s). The basic concept of System was rather than assigning a safety engineer to demonstrate that a design is safe, safety considerations were to be integrated from the design phase of the project.

Founding principles

Safety should be designed in

  • Critical reviews of the system design identify hazards that can be controlled by modifying the design
  • Modifications are most readily accepted during the early stages of design, development, and test
  • Previous design deficiencies can be corrected to prevent their recurrence

Inherent safety requires both engineering and management techniques to control the hazards of a system

  • A safety program must be planned and implemented such that safety analyses are integrated with other factors that impact management decisions

Safety requirements must be consistent with other program or design requirements

  • The evolution of a system design is a series of tradeoffs among competing disciplines to optimize relative contributions
  • Safety competes with other disciplines; it does not override them

The main principles of Safe design are:

  • Inherent safety
  • Safety factors
  • Multiple independent safety barriers

Inherently safe design 

Inherent: belonging to the very nature of the person/thing (inseparable). It is recommended that Inherent safe design should be the first step in safety engineering. Change the process to eliminate hazards, rather than accepting the hazards and developing add-on features to control them, unlike engineered features, inherent safety cannot be compromised.

Minimize inherent dangers as far as possible by considering the following:

  • Potential hazards are excluded rather than just enclosed or managed
  • Replace dangerous substances or reactions by less dangerous ones (instead of encapsulating the process)
  • Use fireproof materials instead of flammable ones (better than using flammable materials but keeping temperatures low)
  • Perform reactions at low temperatures & pressures instead of building resistant vessels

Safety Factors

Factors of safety (FoS), also known as safety factor (SF), is a term describing the load carrying capacity of a system beyond the expected or actual loads. Essentially, the factor of safety is how much stronger the system is than it usually needs to be for an intended load. Safety factors are often calculated using detailed analysis because comprehensive testing is impractical on many projects, such as bridges and buildings, but the structure’s ability to carry load must be determined to a reasonable accuracy.

When the material used is under strength, factor of safety covers uncertainties in material strength. It covers poor workmanship. It also covers unexpected behavior of the structure and natural disasters. Stresses are produced which may be very high. Factor of safety may take care of these loads during construction. Presence of residual stresses and stress concentrations beyond the level theoretically expected.

Multiple Independent Safety Barriers

Safety barriers are arranged in chains. The aim is to make each barrier independent of its predecessors so that if the first fails, then the second is still intact, etc. Typically, the first barriers are measures to prevent an accident, after which follow barriers that limit the consequences of an accident, and, finally, rescue services as the last resort.

The basic idea behind multiple barriers is that even if the first barrier is well constructed, it may fail, due to unforeseen reason, and that the second barrier should then provide protection. The major problem in the construction of safety barriers is how to make them as independent of each other as possible. If two or more barriers are sensitive to the same type of impact, then one and the same destructive force can get rid of all of them in one swoop.

These three principles of engineering safety – inherent safety, safety factors, and multiple barriers are quite different in nature, but they have one important trait in common. They all aim at protecting us not only against risks that can be assigned meaningful probability estimates, but also against dangers that cannot be probabilized, such as the possibility that some unforeseen even triggers a hazard that is seemingly under control. It remains, however, to investigate more in detail the principles underlying safety engineering and, not least, to clarify how they relate to other principles of engineering design.

 

 

Cleanroom

Typically used in manufacturing or scientific research, a cleanroom is a controlled environment that has a low level of pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapors. To be exact, a cleanroom has a controlled level of contamination that is specified by the number of particles per cubic meter at a specified particle size. The ambient air outside in a typical city environment contains 35,000,000 particles per cubic meter, 0.5 mm and larger in diameter, corresponding to an ISO 9 cleanroom which is at the lowest level of cleanroom standards.

Cleanroom Overview

Cleanrooms are used in practically every industry where small particles can adversely affect the manufacturing process. They vary in size and complexity, and are used extensively in industries such as semiconductor manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical device and life sciences, as well as critical process manufacturing common in aerospace, optics, military and Department of Energy.

A cleanroom is any given contained space where provisions are made to reduce particulate contamination and control other environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity and pressure. The key component is the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter that is used to trap particles that are 0.3 micron and larger in size. All of the air delivered to a cleanroom passes through HEPA filters, and in some cases where stringent cleanliness performance is necessary; Ultra Low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters are used.

Personnel selected to work in cleanrooms undergo extensive training in contamination control theory. They enter and exit the cleanroom through airlocks, air showers and/or gowning rooms, and they must wear special clothing designed to trap contaminants that are naturally generated by skin and the body.

Depending on the room classification or function, personnel gowning may be as limited as lab coats and hairnets, or as extensive as fully enveloped in multiple layered bunny suits with self-contained breathing apparatus.
Cleanroom clothing is used to prevent substances from being released off the wearer’s body and contaminating the environment. The cleanroom clothing itself must not release particles or fibers to prevent contamination of the environment by personnel. This type of personnel contamination can degrade product performance in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries and it can cause cross-infection between medical staff and patients in the healthcare industry for example.

Cleanroom garments include boots, shoes, aprons, beard covers, bouffant caps, coveralls, face masks, frocks/lab coats, gowns, glove and finger cots, hairnets, hoods, sleeves and shoe covers. The type of cleanroom garments used should reflect the cleanroom and product specifications. Low-level cleanrooms may only require special shoes having completely smooth soles that do not track in dust or dirt. However, shoe bottoms must not create slipping hazards since safety always takes precedence. A cleanroom suit is usually required for entering a cleanroom. Class 10,000 cleanrooms may use simple smocks, head covers, and booties. For Class 10 cleanrooms, careful gown wearing procedures with a zipped cover all, boots, gloves and complete respirator enclosure are required.

Cleanroom Air Flow Principles

Cleanrooms maintain particulate-free air through the use of either HEPA or ULPA filters employing laminar or turbulent air flow principles. Laminar, or unidirectional, air flow systems direct filtered air downward in a constant stream. Laminar air flow systems are typically employed across 100% of the ceiling to maintain constant, unidirectional flow. Laminar flow criteria is generally stated in portable work stations (LF hoods), and is mandated in ISO-1 through ISO-4 classified cleanrooms.

Proper cleanroom design encompasses the entire air distribution system, including provisions for adequate, downstream air returns. In vertical flow rooms, this means the use of low wall air returns around the perimeter of the zone. In horizontal flow applications, it requires the use of air returns at the downstream boundary of the process. The use of ceiling mounted air returns is contradictory to proper cleanroom system design.

Utility System Qualification for the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceutical equipment manufacturing is a highly regulated industry. Given the stress on product quality and the widespread impact of substandard production on public health and safety, utility system qualification is a critical step that companies must take towards ensuring that all their products comply with federal laws and regulations.

In pharmaceuticals, critical utilities like water and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems form the backbone of the manufacturing process. As a result, these are treated, as products that need to satisfy FDA regulatory requirements and pharmaceutical manufacturing standards, just like raw materials and other equipment used in the industry.

The primary use of a utility system is to help pharmaceutical companies check the quality and safety of their products and to ensure they comply with the laws and statutes in the FDA dossier. Without meeting these requirements, a product may fail to be cleared for marketing.

To pass inspection, utilities must pass a string of qualitative and quantitative specifications. Different utility systems have different quality and standard criteria, designed on the basis of inputs from relevant departments and organizations as well as manufacturing and engineering provisions.

When a validation program is set in place for utility systems used in pharmaceutical, critical utilities should be first on the list. It’s important to focus on the design, qualification and monitoring of each utility system used in pharmaceutical or biotech companies, so their end product fulfills all pharmaceutical quality standards.

Utility system qualification is designed to ensure that utilities in use conform to health and safety regulations, as well as pharmaceutical manufacturing standards and cGMP guidelines.

Current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) are FDA guidelines that check the design, control and monitoring of manufacturing facilities and processes. To comply with cGMP regulations, drugs and medicinal products need to be of the right quality, strength and purity, by way of adequately controlled and monitored manufacturing operations.

Steps in utility system qualification include implementing strong operating procedures, establishing extensive quality control systems, procuring a consistent quality of raw material supplies and maintaining dependable testing labs.

If such a broad control system is implemented in a pharmaceutical facility, it can help to control instances of mix-ups, contamination, errors, defects and deviations during the manufacturing process. Such pharmaceutical products are better able to meet public health and safety laws established by the FDA.

Pharmaceutical cGMP guidelines are flexible enough that all manufacturers are free to decide how to apply FDA controls in ways that fits their unique requirements. They can make use of a variety of processing methods, testing procedures and scientific designs to adapt their manufacturing processes to meet the laws.

Because of the flexibility of these laws, companies can use innovative approaches and sophisticated technology to implement a system of continual improvement in order to achievement a consistent quality of pharmaceutical supplies.

All pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities need to adhere strictly to FDA-approved regulations. There is a lot of stress on the compliance of facility design with cGMP regulations as well as the various procedures associated with pharmaceutical production, so drugs are manufactured under conditions that meet FDA approval.

Failure to meet FDA regulations can result in responsive action by the authorities against the product or the responsible facility, depending upon the seriousness of non-compliance. The company may have to recall the product under orders of the FDA, to ensure it does not cause additional harm or risk to the public.

cGMP requirements can be useful in ensuring the efficacy, quality and safety of pharmaceutical products by making sure facilities are in good operating condition, with sufficiently calibrated and well-maintained equipment, trained and experienced staff and reliable and efficient processes.

While a utility system cannot affect product quality on its own, it forms an integral part of the manufacturing process. Panorama helps you set up validation processes as per your needs.

Validation

Validation Protocols for Pharmaceutical Industries

For pharmaceutical industries, product quality is paramount. Minor inconsistencies can lead to major disasters. To maintain quality assurance, consistency and risk assessment, industries conduct a validation of processes and equipment. A validation is a documented evidence of the consistency of processes and equipment. Design Qualification (DQ), Installation Qualification (IQ), Operational Qualification (OQ) and Performance Qualification (PQ) are an essential part of quality assurance through equipment validation.

DQ IQ OQ PQ protocols are ways of establishing that the equipment which is being used or installed will offer a high degree of quality assurance, so that manufacturing processes will consistently produce products that meet predetermined quality requirements.

Design Qualification (DQ)

Design qualification is a verification process on the design to meet particular requirements relating to the quality of manufacturing and pharmaceutical practices. It is important to take these procedures into consideration and follow them keenly. Along with Process Validation, pharmaceutical manufacturers must conduct Design Qualification during the initial stages. For DQ to be considered whole, other qualifications i.e. IQ, OQ and PQ need to be implemented on each instrument and the system as a whole.

DQ allows manufacturers to make corrections and changes reducing costs and avoiding delays. Changes made to a DQ should be documented which makes DQ on the finalized design easier and less prone to errors. By the use of a design validation protocol it is possible to determine whether the equipment or product will deliver its full functionality and conform to the requirements of the validation master plan.

Installation Qualification (IQ)

Any new equipment is first validated to check if it is capable of producing the desired results through Design Qualification, but its performance in a real-world scenario depends on the installation procedure that follows. Installation Qualification (IQ) verifies that the instrument or equipment being qualified, as well as its sub-systems and any ancillary systems, have been delivered, installed and configured in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications or installation checklist. All procedures to do with maintenance, cleaning and calibration are drawn at the installation stage. It also details a list of all the continued Good Manufacturing Procedures (cGMP) requirements that are applicable in the installation qualification.

Conformance with cGMP’s requires, that whatever approach is used, it is fully documented in the individual Validation Plan. The IQ should not start with the Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) or Commissioning tasks, but it should start before these tasks are completed; enabling the validation team to witness and document the final FAT and commissioning testing. The integration of these activities greatly reduces the costly and time consuming replication of unnecessary retesting.

These requirements must all be satisfied before the IQ can be completed and the qualification process is allowed to progress to the execution of the OQ.

Operational Qualification (OQ)

Operational Qualification is an essential process during the development of equipment required in the pharmaceutical industry. OQ is a series of tests which of tests which ensure the equipment and its sub-systems will operate within their specified limits consistently and dependably. Equipment may also be tested during OQ for qualities such as using an expected and acceptable amount of power or maintaining a certain temperature for a predetermined period of time. OQ follows a specific procedure to maintain thoroughness of the tests and accuracy of the results. The protocol must be detailed and easily replicated so that equipment can be tested multiple times using different testers. This ensures that the results are reliable and do not vary from tester to tester. OQ is an important step to develop safe and effective equipment.

Performance Qualification (PQ)

PQ is the final step in qualification processes for equipment, and this step involves verifying and documenting that the equipment is working reproducibly within a specified working range. Rather than testing each instrument individually, they are all tested together as part of a partial or overall process. Before the qualification begins, a detailed test plan is created, based on the process description.

Process Performance Qualification (PPQ) protocol is a vital part of process validation and qualification, which is used to ensure ongoing product quality by documenting performance over a period of time for a certain process.

Equipment qualification through DQ IQ OQ PQ practices is a part of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), through which manufacturers and laboratories can ensure that their equipment delivers consistent quality. It reduces the margin for errors, so the product quality can be maintained within industry standards or regulatory authority requirements. When qualification of equipment is not needed very frequently, performing it in-house might not be feasible, so smaller laboratories might benefit from scheduling external equipment validation services on a regular basis instead.

Energy Audit

Energy Audit – An Overview

Energy Audit is the first step in Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Projects for Industrial Plants. Energy Audit is a periodic exercise undertaken by a plant to assess its energy consumption and identify opportunities for Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency. It also helps plant personnel in modernizing the plant with new technological solutions. It benefits plants cut down production costs.

In India, Energy Audit is quite popular in an Industrial or Commercial Facility. Many companies have realized the potential of energy saving in their plant. However one must realize that Energy Audit is only the first step in the direction of energy efficiency and energy conservation. The recommendations made as part of the energy audit have to be implemented to achieve the energy saving targets.

The energy saving recommendations doesn’t require much investment. In some high cases, the investment may be higher. The plant then takes up the investments in a phase-wise manner, which result in delayed energy saving for the plant. In fact the plant may never take some of the recommendations up. This renders the entire energy audit exercise futile.

Energy Audit works for every single Plant or Commercial Facility, as there is always scope for Energy Optimization through Energy Conservation & Energy Efficiency. Every plant goes through some changes over a period of time. Moreover an external Energy Audit team works across departments and brings in rich experience gained from Energy Audit of several plants. This not only results in gaining fresh perspective of Energy saving possibility by an external team also results in bench-marking based on similar parameters.

Energy Audit gives a positive orientation to Preventive Maintenance, Safety and Quality Control programs thereby improving the overall efficiency and output of existing system.

Nearly all the Industrial Units and Commercial Complexes have a potential to save 10-15% on Energy Bills and additional savings in Thermal Energy.

The evident reason why a plant goes for an Energy Audit is the saving of energy. This saving translates into monetary saving and hence can have a direct impact on profitability of a Company. It is also a step towards sustainability.

However, Energy Audits should look at a more comprehensive approach than just reducing cost. Industries should focus more on reducing their carbon footprint as necessitated by Governing Environmental Laws. Energy Audits must go beyond the conventional approach and adopt newer technologies for Green Power Generation.

With increased environmental awareness the pressure on Industries is mounting to reduce their Carbon footprint by adopting Greener Methods wherever possible. In such as scenario Energy Audit would play a crucial role in offering Industries a comprehensive approach towards a Greener Plant.

There is no specific answer as to how much energy a plant could save post an Energy Audit. An estimate could certainly be provided and in all cases Energy Audit could prove to be useful and economically viable. This is especially true in the present day scenario when Energy costs are ever rising and are expected to rise further.

Each Industrial Plant must carry out Energy Audits for reducing their energy usage by adopting energy conservation and energy efficiency measures.

Temperature Mapping for Pharmaceutical Industry

Temperature mapping is important for verifying the efficacy of temperature controlled storage systems such as cool rooms, fridges and warehouses. It is vital for businesses that work with temperature sensitive products such as pharmaceuticals or warehouses.

The process of mapping outlines the differences and changes in temperature that occur within a single temperature controlled system. This is due to influences like opening doors, proximity to cooling fans, personnel movement, and the quantity of products being stored at any given time. Temperature mapping locates the points of greatest temperature fluctuation and difference then analyses the causes of these. Conditions are created to verify that a system maintains the correct temperature in all situations when influenced by external factors such as weather and internal factors such as airflow restrictions and the operation of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems. The effects in difference of temperature are calculated to ensure the systems meet industry standards.

The temperature of different spaces within cooling rooms, industrial fridges and other controlled temperature environments can vary by up to 10°C. Generally, the central space within a chamber maintains constant temperature, however the corners and areas surrounding the fans will fluctuate. External seasonal weather must also be taken into account especially for warehouses.

Temperature mapping is important for businesses and organisations dealing with temperature sensitive products, like biochemical products such as medications and vaccines. Verifying that the refrigeration systems maintain an acceptable temperature level for each specific product at all times is what temperature mapping is all about, and this is supported using ongoing monitoring systems.

Once mapping has established where temperature variation points lie within the control system then monitoring can be installed. It is important to re check any back up systems to be sure that the chambers will work in other circumstances.

Different mapping equipment gives different results. It is important to ensure that the equipment being used has sufficient accuracy ratings to give reliable data. For example, better equipment will provide readings that are accurate within plus or minus 0.3°C, whereas budget equipment may only have accuracy ratings of within 2.0°C. For products that must be stored within a limited temperature range, this budget equipment cannot provide sufficiently specific temperature data.

Warehouses must have information regarding the building’s external conditions, as it is vital for effective mapping and monitoring. Warehouses are generally mapped for a full year to ensure all external conditions are accounted for in the data. This also helps to determine placement of monitoring systems due to influence of external conditions.

Temperature-controlled rooms such as fridges or cold rooms can be mapped once as their external environment is controlled. However, it is advisable to make sure that other external forces that could change their temperatures significantly do not heavily influence the HVAC systems of these buildings or environments. The mapping in warehouses should take into account the fluctuation in the warehouse temperatures and conduct the tests during its most extreme levels.

Load testing is important aspect of the temperature mapping process. It investigates how expected product levels interact with individual temperature controlled chambers. This testing takes into account whether the product will arrive in the required condition or if cooling is necessary. Testing should verify whether the chamber could cope with the maximum specified load arriving all at once to then be cooled. If it can operate properly in this situation, as well as operating effectively at full capacity, the chamber can be considered sufficiently load tested. It is also advisable to test the system’s performance by simulating failures, to ascertain whether the system could be used even while experiencing some equipment failures.

Once the mapping process has been completed, sensors should be installed to allow for continued surveillance of the areas that have been identified as being most influenced by temperature change. The stable areas should be monitored to help with any troubleshooting.

Monitoring systems should be planned and documented according to the scientific rationales shown by the temperature mapping procedure. This development strategy should then be reviewed and approved by the system owners as well as by an independent quality unit before being installed. Sensors should be placed around the products, around major potential temperature influences such as doors and cooling fans, and at different heights, especially in larger chambers.

Sensor equipment can be split into zones according to the area affected by similar influences. For example, in a square or rectangular chamber, the zones in corners away from doors will behave much the same as each other, as will the zones adjacent to doors or fans. If the monitoring devices are zoned, data can be compared to provide overall information on how the system usually functions.

To summarize, temperature mapping provides information on warmer and colder areas within temperature-controlled environments. They supply details on the overall operation of the systems. After temperature mapping a system, monitoring equipment can be installed to provide real-time feedback on system operations and its stability for product protection.

Chemical Engineer in a plant

Why Chemical Industries Need Process Engineers

Large chemical and manufacturing plants convert raw materials into products. This conversion requires meticulously designed processes and systems. That’s where the role of Process Engineers comes into play. These plants employ chemical process engineers to create, modify, and monitor the chemical and biochemical processes used to make these goods. Process engineers choose or develop the materials and manufacturing methods that will convert materials into the desired good. Those final products can include chemicals, fuel, plastics, food and drinks, clean water, and bath and hygiene products etc.

Process engineers do not provide theoretical consultation rather they are involved with the daily operations of a commercial or industrial enterprise.
Process engineers are entirely capable of using their expertise to help companies improve profitability and efficiency. Working with one of these professionals can be a great asset for a business.

Many times production suffers due to inefficiency in the process or systems. Most companies do not know how to deal with it. Process engineers are experts at coming up with solutions to these kinds of problems.

At times product defects may pop up frequently. Such an issue can cause significant damage to a company’s reputation. The knowledge of a process engineer allows him or her to identify the issue causing the defect, allowing them to be rectified. Even if there are currently no problems with a company’s product, any opportunities to enhance overall quality should be taken. A process engineer can take a look at what is being used in production and make suggestions for methods of improvement.

The amount of products a company is physically able to produce in a given period of time is always of concern. In order to increase profitability, process engineers analyze a company’s processes and make recommendations for amplifying their effectiveness. Any major upgrade for a company’s facility must be managed with great care. A process engineer can make suggestions for areas that would result in greatest possible return.

Labor is a significant part of the operation of any large facility; it is also a large expenditure for companies. Fortunately, process engineers are able to analyze how people are working and find ways for them to be more efficient. Process engineers’ skills can be useful in many areas of a company, from material moving to labor to production. All areas have ways, large or small, in which they could be more efficient.

While saving energy is great for helping the natural environment, it also helps out with the monthly costs of running a company. Process engineers have the ability to find areas that can contribute to lowered costs.

If a company is to stay in business for a long period of time, it is crucial that the products it creates are of a consistent quality for its customers. The process control solutions that process engineers can offer are of tremendous assistance in this regard.

Just about every industrial undertaking has some sort of waste in the manufacturing process. A process engineer can find ways in which the waste can be minimized, thereby helping to better control costs.

Many companies work with tight deadlines on a regular basis in order to keep their customers satisfied. By improving the efficiency of daily operations, process engineers make meeting these deadlines a much easier task. Outdated systems need to be replaced. Process engineers can ensure that the right systems are chosen.

In conclusion, Process Engineers are required to overlook every aspect of a chemical or manufacturing plant. Panorama provides skilled process engineering services for Chemical Industries that help build and maintain the plant for increased profitability.

Fire Protection and Safety

Irrespective of its occupancy status, a fire can happen at any time and any place.
Fire has the potential to cause harm to its occupants and severe damage to property. Fire doesn’t only interrupt the whole process of manufacturing and production but also can cause major damage to the building and plant. Much work will be required in order to restore the entire production process.

Successful prevention of fire depends solely on the management who must survey the operation of the business and determine where the loss potential lies.

Inadequately maintained machines can be fire prone. The overheating of bearing, due to insufficient lubrication or the presence of dust, and heat caused by friction are common causes of fire. Frequent inspection and regular maintenance will reduce risk and make the general tidiness of premises easier to achieve.

Major fires start in storage area and warehouses than production areas. Poorly stored goods, even though they are not flammable, may help to spread fire and hinder fire fighters gaining access to the seat of the fire or reduce the effectiveness of sprinkler systems. Goods tidily stored with gangways may help to inhibit the spread of fire.

Fire Safety Audit

Fire has been rated as the 5th largest risk in the Indian Industry. Electrical defaults are the major causes of fire in India. Fire Safety Audit is found to be an effective tool for assessing fire Safety standards of an organization. In other words, it is aimed to assess the building for compliance with the National Building Code of India, relevant Indian Standards and the legislations enacted by State Governments and Local Bodies, on fire prevention, fire protection and life safety measures.

Though fire safety audit is found to be an effective tool for assessing fire safety standards of an occupancy, there is no clear cut provisions in any of the safety legislations in India, regarding the scope, objective, methodology and periodicity of a fire safety audit. Therefore, Fire Safety Audit should be made mandatory for all over India and the work should be entrusted to independent agencies, which have expertise in it. It is reasonable to have a fire safety audit in every year.

Clean agent suppression systems

Clean agent fire suppression systems make the use of inert gases and chemicals in extinguishing a fire.They are also known as gaseous fire suppression. In these systems, fire is suppressed manually or automatically by reducing heat rather than reducing oxygen, reducing fuel or preventing the chain reaction effect of fire. These systems work on a total flooding principle where the agent is applied in a three dimensional method within the enclosed space to deliver a concentrated, highly focused dose of fire suppression.

Clean agent systems are able to suppress fires without causing additional damage unlike water. This drastically reduces the costs incurred for repairs and replacements. This makes these systems the fire suppression systems of choice for commercial and public enterprises that want fast, effective fire suppression that minimizes damage to structures, electronics and other assets.

The agents are non-toxic, they cause no breathing problems for people and won’t obscure vision in an emergency situation.

Automatic Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems are among the most useful tools in firefighting. Automatic sprinklers often are one of the most important fire protection options. The successful application of sprinklers is dependent upon careful design and installation of high quality components by capable engineers and contractors.

A sprinkler system must be installed in compliance with the building’s need. Wet pipe systems offer the greatest degree of reliability and are the most appropriate system type for most heritage fire risks. With the exception of spaces subject to freezing conditions, dry pipe systems do not offer advantages over wet pipe systems in heritage buildings. Preaction sprinkler systems are beneficial in areas of highest water sensitivity. Their success is dependent upon selection of proper suppression and detection components and management’s commitment to properly maintain systems. Water mist represents a very promising alternative to gaseous agent systems.

In India, although there are many rules and regulations, codes and standards related to fire safety they are seldom followed. Laxity in following fire safety measures causes major fires in many buildings. Proper attention must be paid to minimize fire loss because ultimately the community at large has to bear all the losses. There exists large number of different types of firefighting equipment and suppression systems to suit specific requirements. The use of smoke detectors, fire alarms, automatic sprinklers, water mist systems, clean agent suppression system should be encouraged. Above all the success of fire prevention and fire protection mainly depend upon the active co-operation from all personnel.

Process Engineering: An Overview

Process Engineering focuses on design processes, operation, process control, and process optimization. This discipline of engineering may focus on physical, chemical, or biological processes. Process engineering encompasses a large array of different industries and sectors. It has a wide range of applications, considerable potential value, and diverse methods.

Process engineering, as a discipline, can be traced back to the era of the 60s, when the term was first coined. However today, this engineering field has gained popularity across the globe. Numerous companies offer Process Engineering services. It is an active area for research, study and application. Process engineering has effected positive change on a global scale.

Since Process Engineering has a broad range of applications in various industries and sectors, the specifications in analysis varies with each sector. Process engineering have various sub-disciplines. Experts usually specialize in one or two of these sub- disciplines.

Process Design – Process design looks at the way the process in question has been designed and set up. It looks for ways to improve this design and structure, and may utilize hierarchical decomposition flow sheets, attempt superstructure optimization, or study plants with multi-product batches. Poor, inefficient design and structure elements can then be removed and substituted with design components that optimize the system better.

Process Operations – Process operations looks at the way the process in question is being executed. It may incorporate real-time optimization or fault diagnosis in an effort to improve operations efficiency. It may also study the operation’s schedule and examine multi-period planning, and other relevant data.

Process Control – Process control concentrates on the reliability of the process. It often employs tools such as controllability measures, robust control, model predictive control, statistical process control, and process monitoring to name just a few. By improving control over the process more consistent, dependable results are gained.

Supporting Tools – Supporting tools in process engineering focuses on the ancillary tools and systems that help support the primary process. These tools may include things such as equation based process simulation, AI or expert systems, sequential modular simulation, global optimization, large-scale nonlinear programming (NLP), optimization of differential algebraic equations (DAEs), and mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP). These supporting tools enhance the overall productivity and quality of the process.

Process engineering is beneficial to industries in various ways. They include everything from debottlenecking certain key problem areas, improving production speed, eliminating unneeded steps from a process, making the process or system safer, and increasing the quality, consistency, and/or volume of output. By and large process engineering provides a way for industries to reduce their costs while increasing the overall efficiency of their processes.

Process engineering has an incredibly far-reaching impact and potentially holds promise for nearly any industrial or commercial business. It is also at the forefront of expanding what is possible in the sciences and technology sectors. Some particular industries served by process engineering include:

  • Chemical
  • Petrochemical
  • Refining
  • Food and food processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Mineral processing
  • Medical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Bio-techs
  • Biomedical
  • Textiles
  • Transportation

Process engineering is a fast-paced, dynamic discipline that is continually evolving and pushing the envelope of what is possible. Panorama provides a thorough professional service that covers each step of process engineering. With roots in Chemical and Pharmaceutical industry, Panorama provides the best service.