Case Study: Safety Improvement

Situation:

A major ACD customer obtained new explosivity data for one of their products processed in ACD’s technical dryer. While the original explosivity data was less than the explosion rating for the dryer, the new data showed an increased explosivity index that surpassed the safe processing limits of the drying system.

Goal:

To develop a method of increasing the technical spray dryer’s explosion rating to a safe level for all products processed within the drying system.

Solutions:
  • ACD’s engineering department collaborated with the customer in researching methods of safely handling explosions.
  • Consideration was given to installing additional explosion vents, inerting the dryer with nitrogen gas, and installing an explosion suppression system.
  • After discussions with both the customer and explosivity experts, ACD determined that a suppression system was the best fit from an operational and financial standpoint. With capital support from the customer, ACD took the lead in hiring an explosion system contractor to design and install a suppression system capable of handling the new explosion characteristics of the customer’s powder.
Results:
  • September 2013, when ACD was made aware of the new explosivity data, to February 2014, when the suppression system was fully installed and activated, ACD worked closely and efficiently with both the contractor and the customer to ensure that the project remained on schedule.
  • The suppression system design and installation was completed without problems or delays and ACD has continued to safely manufacture the customer’s product without incident.