by Lyza Fe Gongora
Senior Process Control and Automation Engineer
Pressure in business takes many forms and impacts organizations in different ways. But when it’s locked inside a pipeline system, it has the potential to generate a catastrophe.
That’s the key reason we have Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) for pressure control. But in some pipeline applications, such solutions may simply not be enough to safely eliminate pressure breach risks, especially where human lives are at stake. The problem is that conventional systems involve manual monitoring and control of valve systems. In critical situations, manual intervention may not be timely enough to avert disaster.
The solution is to use a high-integrity pressure protection system (HIPPS) to
- protect downstream equipment against overpressure and
- control conditions coming from upstream.
HIPPS solutions work by automatically detecting increased pressure and, as the system approaches a preset limit, shutting two in-series valves to achieve a fail-safe state. Continuous, automatic pressure monitoring means that problems are spotted and resolved before they become critical. Pressure never reaches the danger point.
Compare that to a manual SIS, in which action may not be taken until that danger point is already reached. In such a case, an individual could be physically at risk while trying to effect a shut-off.
Furthermore, because HIPPS solutions involve preemptive action within contained pipeline systems, they eliminate the need to release any emissions as part of the shut-off process.
Naturally, because they are automated, customized, and somewhat more complex, HIPPS solutions may initially be costlier than conventional systems, but the up-front price is easily outweighed by the gains.
- Safety — HIPPS solutions reduce or eliminate risk to human operators and potentially avert catastrophic plant damage or loss.
- Compliance — These protections go beyond the basics of International Electrotechnical Commission standards to achieve compliance with an additional subset of rules laid down specifically for HIPPS solutions.
- Environmental — Fully contained HIPPS solutions protect against release or escape of potentially harmful emissions.
- Value — By avoiding repeated excessive pressurization, HIPPS solutions provide pipelines with enhanced protection against wear and risk of leaks or failure.
- Productivity — HIPPS solutions are 24/7 sentinel safeguarding pipeline systems.
To maximize the benefits, it’s crucial that a HIPPS solution is customized and tailor-made according to the needs of the specific industry and even the individual application.
For example, although safety is paramount for all enterprises, a pharmaceutical company may be focused on preventing environmental contamination and chemical exposure; an oil and gas company must guard against the significant risk of an explosion.
From design through implementation and testing, IDM is a key provider of customized solutions, whether that involves converting from an existing SIS to HIPPS or creating a system from scratch for new projects.
For us, it’s not about selling a product — it’s creating a solution. We want to ensure we offer something that adds value for our customers. That means we visit a location to understand the entire operation so that we deliver a solution that precisely meets a company’s specific needs.
Our engineering team has many years of experience in this field and can help to identify, specify, and install the most appropriate HIPPS solution.
For customers who already know what they want, we can partner to deliver the best solutions. If they don’t know where to start, we can make constructive suggestions, highlighting aspects that customers don’t realize they do — or do not — need.
In terms of safety and cost-effectiveness, there’s nothing more important than getting the HIPPS equation right. We’re here to make sure you do!