Editor’s brief: When we think industrial plants, often we think in terms of throughput and profitability. However, safety and security of such plants are also critical, and in the era where lapses and breaches can occur, these critical factors need to be taken seriously. One such major plant, the BASF acetylene production plant at Ludwigshafen, chose to work with leading German functional safety leader HIMA, to ensure its 20 production facilities at Ludwigshafen can run well and safe. Acetylene, as you may know, is an unstable hydrocarbon and needs special care and handling. The vendor’s news release is below.

HIMA’s Safety Technology Guarantees the Availability and Productivity of New World-Scale BASF Production Plant for Acetylene at the Ludwigshafen Site

SINGAPORE, @mcgallen #microwireinfo, November 25, 2020 – A complete solution consisting of hardware, software and engineering protects and secures safety-critical production processes in this complex project. BASF’s Ludwigshafen site now includes a new world-scale production facility with the capacity to produce 90,000 metric tons of acetylene per year. When it came to planning and implementing functional safety, BASF opted for state-of-the-art safety technology from HIMA.

Around 20 production facilities at the Ludwigshafen site use acetylene as a starting material for many other products and value chains. The modern production process of the new facility uses raw materials very efficiently. Furthermore, the heat given off during production will be used to generate energy. The end-product yield is higher and by-products are used efficiently. As a chemical component, acetylene has a diverse range of applications. It is an important starting material for many everyday products, including pharmaceuticals, plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and highly elastic textile fibres.

Non-Stop Operation 

In the new acetylene facility, HIMA’s controllers not only perform the classic ESD (Emergency Shut Down) function, they also handle the complex functions involved in starting up and controlling the equipment. The SafeEthernet protocol ensures safe cross communication between controllers in SIL 3 quality. Fast response times in the event of a safety shutdown and the high operational safety (SIL 3) within safety-critical production processes contribute to the acetylene facility’s high availability and productivity. Additionally, the HIMax hot swap function enhances the future-safe design of the facility as redundancy allows upgrades to be implemented during operation.

“Just-in-Time” Delivery 

HIMA and BASF started their joint work on this project in 2017. After the intense planning phase, in 2018 HIMA delivered 61 BASF control room racks based on a total of six HIMax systems. To enable read out of the field devices, 103 X-HART modules were also integrated into the HIMax controllers. HIMA wired and tested (FAT) the HIMax controllers in-house and delivered the pre-assembled complete modules, including separation layer in accordance with the “just-in-time” requirements of the construction site. This ensured smooth installation and timely construction progress while relieving BASF of the effort for on-site basic wiring.

Since October 2018, two HIMA engineers have also been permanently based in Ludwigshafen to make sure that the safety solution is seamlessly integrated into the existing automation architecture and that the commissioning schedule is met.

Complete Solution from a Single Source

Despite the complexity of the system, HIMA was able to design a lean and highly reliable hardware solution. This was possible thanks to the HIMax system, which can comprise 15 base plates with 18 I/O slots in each controller and is therefore extremely modular and flexible. Additionally, HIMA was able to contribute its safety expertise and solution competence beginning with the planning phase: HIMA engineers proactively assisted in designing the hardware and programming the application-specific software, in particular for implemention of the complex burner control circuits. The resulting solution was then easy to integrate into the specified DCS (Distributed Control System).

“We have been working successfully with HIMA at the Ludwigshafen site for many years and have found the experience with our partner’s safety solutions to be excellent. It seemed logical to also rely on HIMA’s technology and expertise for the new acetylene plant. The HIMA experts’ service and engineering played a significant role in ensuring that the safety systems were delivered and commissioned smoothly, and that the construction progress schedule was met”, said Meinrad Rämisch, Senior E&I Engineering Manager at BASF.”

About HIMA

The HIMA Group is the world’s leading independent provider of smart safety solutions for industrial applications. With more than 35,000 installed TÜV-certified safety systems worldwide, HIMA qualifies as the technology leader in this sector. Its expert engineers develop customized solutions that help increase safety, cyber security and profitability of plants and factories in the digital age. For over 45 years, HIMA has been a trusted partner to the world’s largest oil, gas, chemical, and energy-producing companies. These rely on HIMA solutions, services and consultancy for uninterrupted plant operation and protection of assets, people and the environment. HIMA’s offering includes smart safety solutions that help increase safety and uptime by turning data into business-relevant information. HIMA also provides comprehensive solutions for the efficient control and monitoring of turbomachinery (TMC), burners and boilers (BMC) and pipelines (PMC). In the global rail industry, HIMA’s CENELEC-certified SIL4 COTS safety controllers are leading the way to increased safety, security and profitability. Founded in 1908, the family-owned company operates from over 50 locations worldwide with its headquarters in Bruehl, Germany. With a workforce of approximately 800 employees, HIMA generated a turnover of approximately €123 million in 2017. For more information, please visit: www.hima.com


What is SIL?

Safety integrity level (SIL) is a measurement of performance required for a safety instrumented function (SIF). Functional safety for SIL are based on the IEC 61508 standard where 4 SILs with various quantitative and qualitative factors are defined, with SIL 4 the most dependable and SIL 1 the least.

What is ESD?

Emergency Shut Down (ESD) is to ensure safety in critical situations at industrial plants. : Safety in Critical Situations. An ESD must work constantly in the background to monitor everything and does everything necessary to defuse a critical and/or dangerous situation and ensure safe operation. Industrial ESDs include HIMax, HIQuad X, HIMatrix, and Planar4.

What are HIMax systems?

HIMAX is a powerful and uninterrupted safety control for industrial plants that comply with the most rigorous safety standards, prevent failures, and operate plants as economically as possible. HIMax can be easily adapted to meet new requirements for the operation of facilities and enables multitasking from up to 32 independent applications – from emergency shutdowns (ESD) to turbo machinery control from a single system.

What is FAT?

Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) is usually performed by a vendor prior to shipping an industrial implementation to a client. The vendor tests the system in accordance with the clients’ approved test plans and specifications to show that the system is at a point to be installed and tested on site.

What is DCS?

Distributed control systems (DCS) keep Safety Systems and Control Systems Separated and are crucial for controlling and monitoring industrial plants, as international standards strongly recommend separating control systems and safety systems from each other. This means you are only fully protected if your safety system comes from an independent provider that specializes in safety.

What is X-Hart?

X-Hart securely transmit field device data from industrial plants and then transform such data into useful diagnostics. For example, you can perform real-time analysis of plant status, detect weaknesses in security, simplify compliance, and even increase product quality.