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Safeguarding the new world-scale BASF production plant for acetylene in Ludwigshafen

02 November 2020

HIMA has delivered a comprehensive safety solution consisting of hardware, software and engineering for BASF's new world-scale acetylene facility. BASF has now commissioned this ultramodern facility at its Ludwigshafen site, which features a capacity to produce 90,000 metric tons of acetylene per year.

The new BASF world-scale production plant for acetylene in Ludwigshafen – Image: BASF
The new BASF world-scale production plant for acetylene in Ludwigshafen – Image: BASF

In the acetylene facility, HIMA's safety controllers not only perform the classic emergency shutdown function, but they also handle the functions involved in starting up the system and controlling the pre-heater and the coke discharge. After a planning phase that covered around one year, in 2018 HIMA delivered 61 BASF control room racks based on a total of six HIMax systems. The safety specialist wired and tested the HIMax controllers in-house (factory acceptance testing) and delivered the pre-assembled complete modules, including separation layer in accordance with the "just-in-time" requirements of the construction site. 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.

“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", noted Meinrad Rämisch, Senior E&I Engineering Manager at BASF.

Complete solution from a single source

HIMA delivered 61 BASF control room racks based on a total of six HIMax systems – Image: BASF
HIMA delivered 61 BASF control room racks based on a total of six HIMax systems – Image: BASF

Despite the complexity of the system, HIMA was able to design a lean and highly reliable hardware solution. The SafeEthernet protocol ensures safe cross communication between controllers in SIL 3 quality. The controllers' fast response times in the event of an emergency shutdown and high operational safety (SIL 3) within critical production processes ensure the acetylene facility's high availability and productivity. HIMA contributed its safety expertise and solution competence beginning with the planning phase: Safety experts from Brühl proactively assisted in designing the hardware and programming the application-specific software, in particular for implementation of the complex burner control circuits.

“We have been working in partnership with BASF at the Ludwigshafen site for many years. We are glad to be on board for this important project and are proud that our safety solution ensures the availability and productivity of the process critical acetylene facility. By providing "just-in-time" delivery of the pre-assembled control room racks and a non-stop on-site service, we were able to ensure compliance with the tight schedule at the construction site and to minimise the workload for BASF", explains Andreas Jauß, the responsible Project Manager at HIMA.


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