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Arc Advisory Group has developed a white paper describing technological advances in automated process industry safety solutions.

In this summary version of the full white paper, Arc focuses on the Himax safety system from Hima.

Today’s challenging economic conditions put added pressure on process manufacturers to contribute value to the bottom line by maintaining or improving the performance of process assets.

One solution lies in availability, the kind that can be achieved with Hima’s Himax automated process-safety system, which supports uninterrupted system operation throughout the entire lifecycle.

Technology improvements and the harmonisation of international standards have helped process safety evolve from an ad hoc, component-based approach, to a fully developed holistic view of potential hazards based on established best practices.

Not only has this helped nurture company-wide safety cultures and justify safety technology purchases, it also has advanced the idea of employing safety solutions as productivity tools for operational excellence and profitability.

The risks in process industries are no secret, from injuries and environmental damage to the loss of capital equipment and production.

Manufacturers today must factor into their risk-management equations several variables, including an increase in environmental awareness, stricter government regulations and the threat of litigation.

By quickly recognising safety-critical situations and implementing appropriate measures while avoiding unnecessary shutdowns, advanced process-safety solutions such as Himax minimise these risks.

They also mitigate the economic impact from unexpected interruptions of process assets.

Achieving this high level of availability requires the latest adaptations of redundant and fault-tolerant safety architecture.

The quest for greater availability and rising energy needs in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are reasons that demand remains strong for safety systems in areas such as oil and gas and refining.

According to Arc’s research, the worldwide growth for safety systems is holding steady around 13 per cent per year and is expected to remain positive through 2010.

Hima introduced its Himax platform in 2008 after five years of development.

Based on the company’s XMR architecture, Himax is targeted at users in the refinery, chemical and petrochemical industries.

The XMR architecture is scalable for Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3) applications.

Its use ranges from applications needing no redundancy to those requiring double or triple redundancy for inputs, outputs and CPUs, and up to quadruple redundancy with common-cause protection (physically separated redundant components).

The latter addresses the growing requirements in refining applications such as steam crackers and allows continued operation even if one control room is destroyed by fire or flood.

Incorporating customer feedback into the design process, Hima concluded that the ideal safety solution should: contribute measurably to overall plant efficiency and productivity with nonstop operation that guarantees availability for the life of the plant; allow customers to tailor the system to individual requirements to reduce investment and lifecycle costs and avoid overspending; integrate with all leading distributed control systems (DCS); simplify the engineering and start-up phase and feature superior ease of use, seamless integration and strong support.

Designed for continuous processes that absolutely may not be interrupted, the Himax platform maximises availability by ensuring operations in the event of a component failure.

It also allows the user to perform routine-maintenance operations or hardware and software changes and additions without shutting down the system.

This includes everything from hot-swapping components or modules to on-the-fly program and hardware changes and operating-system updates.

As a standalone safety system, Himax is designed to integrate seamlessly into all commercially available DCSs.

Communication takes place using open protocols, fieldbuses and ethernet.

Safe networks such as Hima’s own safe ethernet, as well as Profinet with Profisafe and Foundation Fieldbuses’ FF-SIS (when available), are also supported.

To ensure a smooth integration, Hima’s DCS competence team is continuously testing and verifying compatibility with DCS systems.

According to Hima, the team can even take on responsibility for the functional compatibility for turnkey solution projects.

The Himax operating system supports full multitasking of up to 32 independent user programs.

Each program has its own safety check sum, meaning that a part of the system can be modified or expanded without influencing other programs or causing a program to lose its safety certification.

In addition, each task can be configured or monitored independently and assigned its own update time.

This allows the user to optimise system performance between fast and slow tasks.

With its large capacity, Himax allows many tasks to be united in a single, central safety controller, helping to reduce upfront capital outlays and system integration costs while maintaining high levels of safety and availability.

Hima has also improved system performance.

Himax is engineered with an advanced computational capability that permits powerful floating-point calculations in the CPUs and fast I/O processing algorithms.

This allows users to apply predictive controls in building dynamic models that reduce the band between the set point/process variable and the defined trip level.

This kind of modelling can contribute to product output without reducing process safety.

In many applications, Arc believes that even small improvements can have a huge impact on productivity, helping the safety controller to contribute directly to the economic performance of process assets and improving a company’s bottom line.

Through discussions with early Himax customers, Arc has noted the system’s capabilities and benefits.

In offloading product from ships to onshore storage facilities, chemical company Ineos Vinyls upgraded to Himax for monitoring process variables such as temperature and pressure, as well as for executing emergency separation procedures that decouple the pipeline from the ship to minimise or prevent spillage.

The greatest advantage for the company of using Himax, Ineos Vinyls reported, is not continuous availability but guaranteed availability during the loading procedure, which can take a day or longer to complete.

Ineos Vinyls has since specified Himax for other applications at the same plant, as well as other facilities.

In an Evonik Degussa plant producing carbon black for pigment in tyre manufacturing, a Himax safety controller monitors the burner control system to ensure uninterrupted operation of the pre-aeration, flame monitoring and other major process activities.

As reported to Arc, Degussa chose Himax because of its ability to maintain nonstop operation, even during maintenance or the occasional hardware or software change.

This flexibility results in lower costs over the entire system lifecycle, company officials concluded.

Hima Paul Hildebrandt

HIMA Paul Hildebrandt GmbH Co KG – safety-related automation solutions for process, machine and building safety HIMA solutions, whether for critical safety applications in the process industry, in machine or in building automation, protect people, assets and the environment in more than 80 countries around the globe.


What distinguishes HIMA solutions from the rest, is the combination of maximum safety and maximum availability. Only through permanent safety and uninterrupted operation are HIMA’s clients able to achieve their business goals.


HIMA solutions are based on practically-focused safety consulting, wide-ranging application experience, a comprehensive product range and the ability to successfully integrate safety solutions into almost any automation environment.


All HIMA systems and solutions comply with the latest international and local safety standards like IEC 61508 and IEC 61511, EN 954, EN ISO 13849 and are suitable for SIL 3 and even SIL 4, Cat. 4 and PL e applications.


Further Information about HIMA can be found online

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