Finex is an innovative pioneering global company specialized in chromatographic separation methods and specialty polymers. Pinja provided Finex with an explosion and fluid flow model for the company’s traditional and continuously developing plant area in Kotka, where safety threats were identified. In addition, Pinja offered consultancy for determining what should be taken into account in order to carry out the planned plant hall investments and modifications as safely as possible.
Challenge: Hall repositioning and guaranteeing safety
New investments and a hall repositioning were planned for the Finex plant area with a long history. For example, the control room was to be relocated. “During the process safety audit, it was revealed that an explosion and fire model was needed for the plant, since such model did not exist. Next to the old control room, there were reactors, which formed a threat to safety”, explains Finex’ production manager Pasi Kärnä.
Finex selected Pinja as the partner for this project via a comparison: “All of the required criteria were met including price, delivery schedule, equipment, etc. Pinja was selected due to their overall superiority and they also knew some of the employees in Kotka”, Mr. Kärnä says. Pinja’s consultation was required, above all, for analyzing and verifying the impact of the control room relocation on safety. Thorough analyses of threats in the event of potential accidents were made on site. In addition, it was important to ensure that processes could be controlled even in case of an accident and that it would be safe to escape from the control room.
Solution: Laser scanning and 3D modeling
A decision was made to laserscan the entire plant area and, based on the three-dimensional point cloud produced by scanning, geometries for explosion and fluid flow models were created. In this way, it was analyzed what would happen in case of an accident. With laser scanning and the 3D model created with it, it was possible to make notably more accurate calculations compared to traditional methods.
With this process, several potential safety threats could be identified regarding the relocation of the control room, such as several explosion sources and catchment basins releasing toxic gases. Based on the modeling and measurements, Pinja gave recommendations for aspects to consider in the implementation of the new control room. Based on the calculations, it was possible to define boundary limits, for example, regarding the strength of glass used in the control room and the positioning of air intake routes. Based on blast wave modeling, a recommendation was given that control room constructions should be stronger to resist a potential explosion blast.
Multi-sector cooperation and modern technologies for ensuring safety
“Everything went very well and according to schedule. We received a clear analysis of the plant with illustrating animations. Both I and the owner in the UK are satisfied. Based on the analysis, an investment was made involving a control room relocation to a safe place at the plant. The analysis was used to define the location and the pressure tolerance requirements of the walls and glasses; this was really useful information. Aspects related to ventilation were also considered based on the information revealed by the analysis. Pinja made very good observations and we received important additional information for ensuring the safety of the control room”, Mr. Kärnä explains the result.
In this type of project where minimization of safety threats is aimed at, it is important to use agile planning that considers various factors of influence all along the process.
“The customer has high-level expertise in their own area and our task is to offer all our competence in our specialty area. In this project, too, safety was put first and we strived to take into account all factors as accurately as possible”, says project manager Jimi Pulkka from Pinja.
In this project, we could utilize several technologies and knowledge of physics and chemistry in an extensive and agile manner in order to achieve the best and most reliable result.
“Pinja’s absolute strength was their good equipment and skilled use of it. The equipment may well be the best currently available.” We are very satisfied with the cooperation with Pinja and since this project, we have always requested their offer for applicable projects. We would very much like to cooperate in the future as well!”, Mr. Kärnä says.
Brief summary of the project
The historical plant area required structural changes with due regard to safety aspects.
Geometries for fluid flow computation were created based on a point cloud generated as a result of laser scanning.
Fluid flow computation indicated the effects of a potential accident in the plant area. The results provided guidance for the construction of the area, for example, related to the positioning and structural resistance of the buildings.