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Some 1,600 safety interlocking devices from Netherlocks have been installed at Shell Eastern Petroleum’s Ethylene Cracker Complex in Pular Ular, Singapore.

The main applications for the interlocks are for the decoking process and on isolation valves for pressure safety valves.

The interlocks use a linear key transfer system to ensure that processes can only be carried out in the correct order, guaranteeing that each part has been safely completed before the next can be started.

Safely completing the previous step in the process sequence will release a unique key that then unlocks the next step; only when a mistake is made will the operator be prevented from proceeding by a key that does not fit or a valve locked in position.

This simple principle can be propagated to more complex procedures, but in every case it physically ensures that safety protocols and work orders are followed exactly, leaving no scope for human error.

Projected to produce 800kt/a of ethylene, 450kt/a of propylene and 230kt/a of benzene, the facility consists of an ethylene cracker unit, a Pygas hydrogenation/benzene extraction unit, a C4 selective hydrogenation unit and various associated utilities.

The complex, which opened in March 2010, links the nearby Shell refinery with downstream chemical units, forming an integrated petrochemical ‘super site’ in Singapore.

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