UniSim Blowdown Utility Hikes Safety

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 @ 04:10 PM gHale

Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) unveiled an enhancement to its UniSim design and simulation software designed to help manufacturing facilities improve safety and reduce capital expenditures for new and existing installations.

The new UniSim Design Blowdown Utility, designed specifically for oil and gas, petrochemical, and chemical industry applications assists in designing systems to allow for safe depressurization of process equipment. It also helps companies manage capital costs by accurately selecting the right construction materials and blowdown system sizes needed for the site.

Understanding depressurizing behavior in a blowdown system is critical to the function of the system and ultimately the safety of the facility and employees. Rapid depressurizing and gas expansion can result in very low temperatures, potentially putting equipment at risk of brittle fracture if the construction material goes below its ductile-brittle transition temperature. In addition, the entire pressure relief system, including safety valves, relief orifices, flare piping and knockout drums, must have sufficient size to handle the flowrates that occur during blowdown, in addition to the piping and capacity of the flare system.

For new constructions, an accurate prediction of the minimum vessel wall temperature during blowdown is important for the selection of the appropriate construction material, for the elimination of overdesign and with the additional benefit of lowering project costs. Similarly, having an accurate prediction of the maximum flow rate during blowdown is important for the reduction of overdesign associated with the relief valve/network sizing, without compromising on safety.

For existing facilities, blowdown studies can prompt for changes in operating procedures, process equipment material or capacity in order to avoid brittle fracture during blowdown.