Microscopy & Microtechniques

BP Chemicals Enhances Site Safety With FLIR Infrared Technology

Mar 21 2011 Comments 0

FLIR Advanced Thermal Solutions has announced an application story that describes how BP Chemicals is using its GasFindIR™ cameras for the visualisation and documentation of gas leaks.

In the production of acetic acid BP Chemicals is world renowned and responsible for a significant proportion of world capacity. Acetic acid is a highly versatile substance. It is produced by the combination of carbon monoxide and methanol in the presence of a catalyst. Every year the company invests many millions of pounds in improving production efficiency, minimising environment impact and protecting the workforce. And it is largely with personnel safety in mind that BP Chemicals took a fresh look at how FLIR thermal imaging technology could help minimise leaks.

Effective leak detection is of course a priority at BP Chemicals and one of a number of procedures for ensuring safe operation. This application note describes the experiences of technologists at BP Chemicals flagship manufacturing and process research site at Saltend, UK.

Three FLIR GasFindIR cameras were employed to check plant integrity at the Saltend site. Designed for outdoor use the FLIR GasfindIR HSX camera was used to detect a range of gases including methane and methanol that are both predominant at the UK plant. In addition, a long wave (LW) version of the camera was used for detecting acetic acid, acetic anhydride and ammonia, three of the total of eight products processed at Saltend. Completing the set was a FLIR GasFindIR model specifically designed to detect carbon monoxide (CO) - a colourless, odourless but highly poisonous gas.

FLIR GasFindIR cameras are increasingly being adopted by plants across the world for the visualisation and documentation of gas leaks. The reasons for this are clearly demonstrated in the BP Chemicals applications story. FLIR GasFindIR cameras can scan large areas rapidly and pinpoint leaks in real time. The technology is ideal for monitoring plant that is difficult to reach with contact measurement tools and literally thousands of components can be scanned per shift without the need to interrupt the process. Using a FLIR GasFindIR camera reduces repair downtime and provides verification of the process. Importantly using FLIR thermal imaging camera technology is exceptionally safe, as potentially dangerous leaks can be monitored from several meters away.

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