HIMA's Safety Technology Guarantees the Availability and Productivity of New World-Scale BASF Production Plant for Acetylene at the Ludwigshafen Site

A complete solution consisting of hardware, software and engineering protects and secures safety-critical production processes in this complex project.

BASF's Ludwigshafen site now includes a new world-scale production facility with the capacity to produce 90,000 metric tons of acetylene per year. When it came to planning and implementing functional safety, BASF opted for state-of-the-art safety technology from HIMA. Around 20 production facilities at the Ludwigshafen site use acetylene as a starting material for many other products and value chains. The modern production process of the new facility uses raw materials very efficiently. Furthermore, the heat given off during production will be used to generate energy. The end-product yield is higher and by-products are used efficiently. As a chemical component, acetylene has a diverse range of applications. It is an important starting material for many everyday products, including pharmaceuticals, plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and highly elastic textile fibers.

Non-Stop Operation
In the new acetylene facility, HIMA's controllers not only perform the classic ESD function, they also handle the complex functions involved in starting up and controlling the equipment. The SafeEthernet protocol ensures safe cross communication between controllers in SIL 3 quality. Fast response times in the event of a safety shutdown and the high operational safety (SIL 3) within safety-critical production processes contribute to the acetylene facility's high availability and productivity. Additionally, the HIMax hot swap function enhances the future-safe design of the facility as redundancy allows upgrades to be implemented during operation.

“Just-in-Time” Delivery
HIMA and BASF started their joint work on this project in 2017. After the intense planning phase, in 2018 HIMA delivered 61 BASF control room racks based on a total of six HIMax systems. To enable read out of the field devices, 103 X-HART modules were also integrated into the HIMax controllers. HIMA wired and tested (FAT) the HIMax controllers in-house and delivered the pre-assembled complete modules, including separation layer in accordance with the “just-in-time” requirements of the construction site. This ensured smooth installation and timely construction progress while relieving BASF of the effort for on-site basic wiring.
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 and that the commissioning schedule is met.

Complete Solution from a Single Source
Despite the complexity of the system, HIMA was able to design a lean and highly reliable hardware solution. This was possible thanks to the HIMax system, which can comprise 15 base plates with 18 I/O slots in each controller and is therefore extremely modular and flexible. Additionally, HIMA was able to contribute its safety expertise and solution competence beginning with the planning phase: HIMA engineers proactively assisted in designing the hardware and programming the application-specific software, in particular for implemention of the complex burner control circuits. The resulting solution was then easy to integrate into the specified DCS system.

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

Read more: www.basf.com/acetylen

HIMA delivered 61 BASF control room racks based on a total of six HIMax systems. To enable read out of the field devices, 103 X-HART modules were additionally integrated in the HIMax. Photo © HIMA Group
The integration of the plant into the Ludwigshafen site provides BASF with the advantages of efficient resource utilization, excellent production synergies and short supply routes. Plant pictures © BASF

The construction of the acetylene facility in figure:

    • 40,000 square meter construction site.
    • A total of 35,000 cubic meters of concrete and 8,500 tons of steel were used for the steel structure.
    • Highly complex construction project: Columns are appliances for the thermal separation of mixtures and can be found in numerous facilities at the Ludwigshafen site. In the new acetylene facility alone, there are 440 customized columns, machines and appliances that were manufactured in 12 different countries and also in BASF factories. Some of these components were on the road for up to eight weeks, before they could finally be installed at their final destination in Ludwigshafen.
    • The longest component manufactured specifically for the facility was installed in April 2018. The 60-meter long and 225-ton heavy column was transported by ship to Ludwigshafen and lifted to its final position by a crawler crane and a 1,000-ton mobile crane.
    • 90-kilometer long pipeline system.
    • Around 750 employees and contractors were working on the construction site every day, in peak times even up to 1,500 per day.

     

    Technical Details: Non-Stop Operation Thanks to HIMax

    In the acetylene facility, HIMA's controllers not only perform the classic ESD function, they also handle the complex functions involved in starting up the systems and in burner control. The pre-assembled control room racks based on the HIMax systems were delivered in two stages, in April and July 2018. HIMA planned a complete solution consisting of hardware, software and engineering services with the following scope:

    • 61 BASF control room racks.
    • 6 HIMax systems with a total of 30 base plates (X-BASE PLATE).
    • 103 X-HAR modules integrated in the 6 HIMax systems.
    • 53 X-HART modules in 4 HIMax systems already successfully commissioned for reading data out of the field devices.
    • Laptop with the FieldCare software provided by HIMA from cooperation partner Endress+Hauser to read out the values from the HART field devices. On-site testing of this laptop together with BASF.
    • Over 270 I/O modules and 4,300 Ex signal isolators by sensor specialist Pepperl+Fuchs.
    • More than 7,000 hours of on-site engineering and service support.

     
    Benefits:

    • Complete solution consisting of hardware, software and engineering protects and secures safety-critical production processes of the state-of-the-art acetylene facility.
    • Cost and time savings thanks to the “just-in-time” delivery of pre-assembled and tested control room racks.
    • Non-stop on-site service provided by HIMA experts in the final phase ensured smooth commissioning and compliance with the tight schedule. BASF also benefited from flexible and efficient decision-making throughout the entire project.
    • By reliably safeguarding important functions during system operation, HIMA technology ensures high availability and productivity of the new acetylene facility at the Ludwigshafen site.
    • The X-HART modules integrated in the HIMax systems allowed the experts to determine right at the beginning of commissioning if suitable field devices with the correct parameters were positioned at the intended location.
    • HIMax redundancy and hot swap functionality allows for system upgrades during operation, which, in turn, allow for easy integration of future functions, e.g., for Industry 4.0, at a later stage.
    • Fast response times of HIMax in connection with ESD.
    • The HIMax controllers in use comply with all relevant standards, from IEC 61508 to EN 50156, and meet SIL 3 requirements.
    • German documentation and instructions.

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