INEOS: HIMA solutions make cracker plant future-proof

As part of a plant upgrade in a very short time, HIMA safety controllers are providing extremely high availability for the steam cracker plant in Cologne, Germany.

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The INEOS Cracker V plant in Cologne has been operating for more than 30 years. As part of a life cycle assessment in 2013, INEOS decided to modernize the safety systems. Human and environmental safety have top priority at INEOS. Also, cracker outage has a major impact on the composite site and downstream plants, and can cause enormous economic losses.
Installation and commissioning of the new safety controllers in the existing switchgear cabinets within a narrow time window during the scheduled periodic shutdown was a big challenge. Unlike with greenfieldprojects, the project team also faced difficult space constraints and existing infrastructure issues that are typical of plant modernizations.

Comprehensive Concept

Along with the schedule presented by HIMA and the company’s time flexibility, the decisive selection criteria for INEOS were the performance, functionality and scalability of the safety controllers. The expertise of HIMA’s engineering and service staff in the planning, programming and commissioning of the solutions made an essential contribution to completion of the first upgrade phase just a few months after contract award.Another important aspect was the sustainability of the safety solution. Among other things, HIMA’s “Online Reload” concept supports successive upgrades over many years, thereby securing the long-term availability and profitability of the system. The next planned shutdown of Cracker V is scheduled for 2020, when the majority of the Cracker V modernization project will be completed.

“With the HIMax and HIMatrix scalable safety systems, HIMA provides a good initial basis for a modernization project. Furthermore, they have proven to be a competent partner in difficult project phases. The high performance of the HIMax systems allows us to reduce the number of safety-oriented systems as well as the investment costs. HIMA’s life cycle concept helps us make our systems future-proof and enables us to sustainably keep maintenance costs at a low level in this business area. That is why we are also now planning to modernize our Cracker IV plant together with HIMA.”
Alexander Simons, O&P Technical Demand Manager at INEOS Cologne.

The Technical details

Independent functional safety
For the cracker plant modernization, INEOS chose to maintain separation of the safety controllers from the process control system.

A total of 39 safety controllers have to be replaced in the Cracker V plant, including the ethane string. Six HIMax units and five HIMatrix M45 units have already been deployed at Cracker V. They handle a wide variety of tasks, including:

  • Monitoring process parameters (pressure, temperature, fill level, etc.)
  • Controlling actuators (valves, pumps, motors, etc.)
  • Implementing SFC/CFC software programs
  • Ensuring compliance with SIL requirements
  • Ensuring explosion protection (ATEX)
  • Emergency shutdown (ESD) circuits
  • Driving indicators and displays in the control room


HIMA solutions provide high safety and availability

Safety and availability have top priority in petrochemical plants such as Cracker V. Effective protection of people, the environment and facilities is essential. HIMax and HIMatrix M45 safety controllers provide safe system operation.

  • Maximum safety: The TÜV- and SIL 3-certified HIMax and HIMatrix safety controllers, along with networking via the safety-oriented safeethernet communication protocol, provide high system availability and safety.
  • Cyber security: Refined technical and administrative precautions minimize the risk of cyber attacks.
  • High performance: The HIMax and HIMatrix safety controllers feature high functionality and scalability.
  • Effective project planning: Hardware replacement took place exactly as planned and was well orchestrated. Software functions were programmed, integrated, tested and validated in advance.
  • Compact: The HIMA solutions fit in the available space.

HIMA Safety Solutions provide highest level of availability from INEOS Steam-Crackern in Köln. All photos: © INEOS Köln GmbH

HIMA safety controllers provide extremely high availability at the INEOS steam cracker plant in Cologne.


Background: About Cracker V and INEOS

One of HIMA’s current projects for INEOS Cologne, a facility of the INEOS Group with headquarters in Rolle (Switzerland), is the SPLC Replacement Cracker V and Ethane String. The Cracker V plant splits naphtha resulting from petroleum refining into ethylene and other products. In total, the Cologne plant produces about 40 different products for further processing in the chemical industry.

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