Process Plants

process plant failure investigations are complex and require an experienced engineer

Imagine an oil refinery, a large scale bakery, a pharmaceutical plant, a chemical plant, or a food production facility making cheese. These are all process plants. They are interesting, complex, and filled with all types of equipment. Envista has the experience necessary to investigate fires, accidents, explosions, failed equipment, or process interruptions.

Though process plants can be extremely unique, most have common types of equipment, which Envista electrical and mechanical engineers are experienced working with.  

The common types of equipment and related investigations include:

  • Pumps – failures are result of poor design, bad materials selection, bad seals, or faulty electrical motors.
  • Piping – can fail as a result of corrosion, over pressure, erosion as a result of age or poor design.
  • Valves – mechanically fail, have bad seals, are maintained poorly, defective in their design.
  • Heat exchangers – excessive corrosion, over pressurization, poor selection can all lead to units that fail in the field. When heat exchangers fail, it can lead to explosions, fires, or long term facility shutdowns.
  • Boilers – can corrode too quickly, have steam explosions, have fuel explosions, or fail due to poor operational considerations.
  • Process equipment – this may range from extraction towers to candy machines. This diverse equipment is critical to process plant operations, but at the same time can break or create hazards in the facility of not maintained or operated properly.

This list is just a starting point. Understanding process plants, how they are operated, and the risks associated with their operation, are keys to successfully investigate what has happened in a particular facility. As with any investigation, the key to successful investigation is collecting the data, interviewing employees, understanding how the critical equipment operates, analyzing the data, interpreting historical data, etc. All-in-all – experience matters in determining what happened and why. 

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