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Flexible safety system increases plant profitability

01 July 2008

The profitability of automated production processes crucially depends on continuous operation. In the event of a safety-critical situation, the installed safety system must shut the system down safely – but only when needed. For this reason, Hima has launched a new safety system on the market which has been developed to improve performance, safety and availability in the process industries.

Process profitability depends on continuous operation
Process profitability depends on continuous operation

Hima's special focus was on increasing the availability and profitability of process plants. In the design of the new system, which is called HIMax, great care was taken to ensure that all maintenance, expansion and modification work at the system can always be performed online during process operation – while maintaining maximum fault tolerance. The system has undergone the mandatory proof tests according to IEC 61508/11.

XMR system architecture allows users to adjust the redundancy of individual modules to the requirements of the differing process loops. XMR refers to the degree of modular redundancy in the system – single to quadruple. This also makes possible novel solutions for safeguarding against common-cause faults. When, for example, fire or water damage in a control room results in the shutdown of critical safety system components, components which are redundant but have been installed in physically separated and different control or equipment rooms continue to operate safely, keeping the safety system fully functioning.

HIMax is designed to deliver high performance in time-critical applications and when high I/O counts are needed as well as in complex safety applications, which require powerful CPU performance. And because of a flexible architecture, it is easy to make online changes to the configuration, as process requirements change, thereby future-proofing the end-user’s investment. Acquisition costs are optimised as well as a result of the scaleable architecture. As a flexible platform, HIMax offers various rack sizes and different assembly and wiring concepts. For this reason users only need to purchase what they currently do in fact need. They always have the flexibility of changing things later on.

HIMax is flexible on I/O numbers as well as the response time and fault tolerance requirements. The system is equally suitable for central as well as decentralised applications. A configuration management tool, SILworX, serves as a user-friendly, fully integrated configuration, programming and diagnostic environment. Its modern user interface helps to avoid configuration faults and speeds up planning and start-up operation. Various user help levels as well as comprehensive validation tools assist in the performance of all tasks.

Hima tells us that HIMax will find applications in safety-critical applications in the process industry and these will include emergency shutdown systems, burner management systems, fire and gas systems, turbo machinery control, high integrity pressure protection systems and the automation of pipelines.

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