Staubexplosions (dust explosions) are in the news again but in a good way. Kraiburg TPE, a German company, which manufactures thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) products based on HSBC (hydrogenated styrene block copolymers) has shared with all industry stakeholders the preventative and mitigative control measures implemented at their facilities in reducing the severity of dust explosions.
The informative article "Playing it Safe," notes that of over a thousand different materials utilized in the various Kraiburg TPE manufacturing processes, approximately 50 are characterized as combustible dust. To address the potential combustible dust explosive atmosphere in the plant, Karl-Heinz Ortmeier, project manager at Kraiburg TPE initiated a thorough process hazard analysis (PHA).
Subequently, after conferring with fire protection engineers concerning the results of the PHA, Kidde, a global leader in fire/explosion protection, installed an explosion suppression system in the plant. The system includes explosion pressure sensors, detecting an initial explosion, which then transmits the signal to a detection and control center, were next the HRD (High Rate Discharge)-cylinder is activated suppressing the verpuffung (deflagration) with sodium bicarbonate in milliseconds.
It's not to often where such transparency is offered for others to witness and maybe think about what dust explosion methods are utilized at their manufacturing facility. NFPA 654 " Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids," has an excellent section in the Annex concerning explosion suppression that is a must to read.
For many of us not yet fluent in German, use the Google Toolbar to translate the very informative "Playing it Safe," article.
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