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Blog Posts (139)

  • You Need a Process Safety Roadmap!

    Process Safety Culture Improvement Blog 3 - by Judith Lesslie, CFSE, CSP, CCPSC This article continues a series of blogs around practical suggestions and methods to drive improvement of the process safety culture at manufacturing facilities. This is a big subject with many facets, and you can look forward to more bite-size potential improvement guidance for your own process safety culture in this series. The Challenges – A Process Safety Road Map In our last blog on strong process safety culture development, I described an organizational structure with a central committee and multiple process safety element committees, with the central committee driving the overall improvement cycle and each element committee interacting with the central committee to drive process safety performance while focusing on individual element performance and improvements. A supporting document for this structure is a process safety roadmap. A roadmap is a systematically written document outlining the process safety elements and systems that apply at your facility, potentially identifying gaps in documentation or system performance that should be improved. It could be a stand-alone document or an appendix to an existing process safety program document. What it needs to be is a living, controlled document that undergoes at least an annual review by SMEs in order to incorporate ongoing process safety enhancements and help establish new improvement goals. A sample roadmap for a portion of the Process Safety Information (PSI) element might look like this: A process safety roadmap of this type ideally includes all the applicable elements and supporting systems from the PSM and/or RMP standards. It can yield a number of benefits well beyond its obvious uses in self-verification and audit activities. It provides a structure for your process safety programs; it can be used in training and orientation activities for newly assigned professionals in technical, supervisory, and management roles; it helps to identify risks due to subpar documentation or compliance issues; it helps identify technical initiatives and goals for future resourcing; and it can even help prioritize improvement initiatives if you include your corporate risk ranking scores or another prioritization method with the potential gaps. Circling back to audit support, a roadmap also provides an easy method to identify that elusive documentation that is always needed before and during the recurring audits required under the PSM and RMP regulations. The development and easy availability of a process safety roadmap for your facility is likely to yield numerous improvement opportunities. An effective roadmap is an invaluable tool for site personnel and particularly to your staff involved in process safety element committees. This tool is also an excellent method of fostering more employee participation, which is undeniably one of the most important pillars of process safety. The Stakes The stakes for a strong process safety culture are higher than ever. A single significant loss of primary containment could have potential impacts ranging from serious on-site and off-site injuries and illnesses, to environmental damage, to company reputational impact, to financial costs from equipment damage, to production loss, and even lawsuits filed against the company. So Now What? Consider the development of a systematic process safety roadmap at your facility. Development and control of a document of this type has benefits well beyond the obvious uses in self-verification and audit activities. Adopting the roadmap structure exactly as shown may not be the best fit for your facility, but variations on it are within the reach of organizations of widely varying sizes and with or without a corporate governing structure. There is much to gain with a strong process safety culture and process safety performance with a roadmap! If you feel that your corporate or internal knowledge of the PSM and/or RMP regulations is not up to the job of developing a roadmap as described, including the identification of improvement opportunities, consider involving one of our expert process safety professionals in the work. aeSolutions staff members have wide experience of both regulations, including compliance methods found to be efficient in the real world at sites like yours. Future blogs in this series on process safety culture will address more aspects of the overall process safety improvement cycle, examine aspects of individual process safety programs, and offer suggestions on both bigger and smaller efforts and methods to drive improvements. Stay tuned for more!

  • Improve Your Process Safety Culture to Drive Improved Safety Performance

    Process Safety Culture Improvement Blog 1 - by Judith Lesslie, CFSE, CSP, CCPSC This article kicks off a series of blogs around practical suggestions and methods to drive improvement of the process safety culture at manufacturing facilities. This is a big subject with many facets, and there is plenty of professional reading available to help with it. I would point out, in particular, a fine work from the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety (Wiley, 2007, 1st edition). This book provides an excellent framework for establishing a systematic approach to process safety program elements. The Challenges – A Systematic Approach to a Strong and Effective Process Safety Culture What do I mean by a systematic approach? Let’s take a look at leadership commitment as an example. In a process safety culture that is systematically improving, senior facility management demonstrates a strong commitment to process safety by visibly prioritizing safety over production targets, allocating resources for process safety activities and initiatives, and actively participating in process safety programs and their improvement. How do you do that in the real world? There are many ways to tackle the topic, but let’s begin with a structured approach. In a strong process safety culture, there will typically be a routine management review process that; assesses the effectiveness of a variety of systems, including process safety programs, feeds improvement opportunities back into the applicable programs, executes improvements, and tests the changes on an ongoing basis: This process is demonstrated as follows: Figure 1: Routine management review process A process safety management cycle of this type takes a close look at process safety trends: near misses and incidents, together with the investigations and completion of actions; assessment of regulatory compliance, including audit results, findings, and follow-up actions; effectiveness of the facility risk management processes, including PHAs, the health of critical safeguard systems, and follow-up actions the health of mechanical integrity at the site; and the adequacy of safety policies and regulations, together with checking on the health of the safety training system; among other potential topics  Preparing for and completing a review of this type is likely to yield a numerous corrective actions and continuous improvement opportunities.  If this sounds to you a bit like a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach, you are right on target.  Think of the overall systematic approach to effective leadership of process safety and culture as a number of individual program continuous improvement processes running within the larger structure of an overall leadership improvement cycle. The Stakes The stakes for a strong process safety culture are higher than ever.  A single significant loss of primary containment could have potential impacts ranging from serious on-site and off-site injuries and illnesses, to environmental damage, to company reputational impact, to financial costs from equipment damage, to production loss, and even lawsuits filed against the company. So Now What? The upcoming series of blogs on process safety culture will address more aspects of the overall process safety improvement cycle, examine aspects of individual process safety programs, and offer suggestions on both bigger and smaller efforts and methods to drive improvements.  Click here for Part 2: Structuring Your Process Safety Programs

  • Structuring Your Process Safety Programs

    Process Safety Culture Improvement  Blog 2 - by Judith Lesslie, CFSE, CSP, CCPSC This article continues a series of blogs around practical suggestions and methods to drive improvement of the process safety culture at manufacturing facilities.  This is a big subject with many facets, and you can look forward to more bite-size potential improvement guidance for your own process safety culture.   The Challenges – What is Process Safety Structure and Why Does It Matter? What do I mean by a process safety structure?  I cannot do much better than build on the concept described in a fine work from the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety (Wiley, 2007, 1st edition).  This book provides an excellent visualization of process safety program elements: Graphic from https://www.aiche.org/ccps/resources/publications/process-safety-summaries In this structure, there is a foundation of leadership underpinned by foundational blocks of commitment to process safety, understanding and management of process risks, and a learning and improvement cycle driving continuous improvement for all pillars. Each foundational block includes the pillars that support the overall structure, including all of the PSM and RMP elements that we are familiar with and some supporting elements to help keep those main elements on track. In a high-performing process safety culture, subject matter experts (SMEs) are available for each element or pillar.  In the best facility organizations I have seen, each SME chairs one or more element committees assigned to monitor and drive improvements in element performance. A central committee composed of facility leadership and the SMEs regularly monitors and helps encourage progress by each pillar committee.  Sometimes that central committee monitors a broader range of health, safety, and environmental aspects than the process safety pillars depicted above, which is a model that I have also seen work well.  Here is a way to visualize one potential central and element committee structure, with the central committee driving the overall improvement cycle and each element committee focusing on and interacting with the central committee: In this type of systematic structure, there is an expectation that the element committees will have a set of meaningful leading and lagging measures that will be monitored and trended on a routine basis (monthly to quarterly) and used as a basis for driving continuous improvement planning.  Pillar metrics, planning, and resource needs are routinely reported to the central committee, and there is a further expectation that improvement planning will be reviewed, agreed and resourced as needed by the central committee.  You can think about this as a continuous two-way feedback cycle.  The assignment of a senior leadership team member as day-to-day liaison with each element committee is another enhancement I have seen work well to deliver results. Worthy of special notice, in a strong process safety culture, there will typically be an annual management review process that assesses the overall effectiveness of process safety. This process feeds improvement opportunities back into the applicable pillar committees for testing against line perspectives, executing improvements, and monitoring and assessing results.  This is easily visualized as the Review step of the central committee. Does this sound like a lot of work?  You’re absolutely right!  Will it improve your process safety culture and deliver strong performance results?  Right again!  There are other benefits as well.  As the central committee and SMEs recruit and develop enhanced process safety capability in facility personnel (including line personnel) participating in committees, you gain organizational competency; you are able to demonstrate strong employee participation, one of the key elements of process safety; and you provide a channel for line personnel to demonstrate leadership and technical qualities that might not otherwise be apparent.  There is a lot to gain by structuring your process safety programs as described.   The Stakes The stakes for a strong process safety culture are higher than ever.  A single significant loss of primary containment could have potential impacts ranging from serious on-site and off-site injuries and illnesses, to environmental damage, to company reputational impact, to financial costs from equipment damage, to production loss, and even lawsuits filed against the company.   So Now What? Consider reviewing this structure with your facility’s senior and extended leadership team.  Adopting the structure exactly as described may not be the best fit for your facility, but variations of it are within the reach of organizations of varying sizes.  There is much to gain in process safety performance with wide personnel involvement in improvement activities! Future blogs in this series on process safety culture will address more aspects of the overall process safety improvement cycle, examine aspects of individual process safety programs, and offer suggestions on both bigger and smaller efforts and methods to drive improvements.  Stay tuned for more!

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  • DCS/PLC Migrations and Upgrades - Automation Engineering | Systems Engineering

    DCS/PLC Migrations and Upgrades System Integration Solutions Upgrading a Distributed control system (DCS) is a complex task that requires careful planning, coordination, and testing to mitigate risks such as downtime and data loss. Site requirements, regulatory compliance, and minimizing disruptions must be considered to ensure a smooth cutover. However, the security and functionality benefits of newer technologies can outweigh the costs, making it a valuable process for industrial operations. ​ aeSolutions can provide the methodology, technical services, resources, personnel, and field support to accomplish your goals and objectives working with you from project inception to final commissioning. Through a proven project delivery model, aeSolutions integrates diverse hardware, software, and services from multiple vendors and client stakeholders into a unified, integrated system. Our full range of services will lead you through the controls integration process to deliver a fully integrated, cohesive control system in a well-executed project. aeSolutions' Integration Services Conceptual & Preliminary Engineering - Front-End Loading (FEL) / Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) ​ PFD/P&ID Development ​ Control System Platform Evaluation Continuous and Batch Design ​ TIC Estimate Development Instrument and Electrical Design (I&E) ​Instrument Index, Specs & Installation Details Plan Drawings Controls Electrical - Field Wiring MCC Specification & Design Cable Schedules Construction SOWs Systems Integration Control Hardware Design Control System Server Virtualization PLC, DCS, SIS, SCADA Configuration Network Architecture Layout/ Design Control Panel Fabrication & Testing Construction Oversight Commissioning/Startup Support Expanded "Design, Implement, & Commission" Our clients are increasingly challenged to produce more with less. The productivity of yesterday’s most efficiently operated facilities is not acceptable for even mid-pack performance today. We understand the economic pressures the industry faces —and our industrial automation services can help. Our teams are skilled in all aspects of process control engineering because we all understand that the greatest influence over project success or failure comes from the earliest stages of conceptual design, long before the actual programming effort ever begins. ​ The overall result is a facility is both back online faster so you see the financial advantages of the new DCS faster. Automation Applications Our industrial automation services supply complete, fabricated, configured, and tested safety and control systems, including Basic Process Control Systems (BPCS), Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS), Burner Management Systems (BMS), High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS), and Fire and Gas Systems (FGS). The result is a totally integrated automation lifecycle, from project inception to operation. Process Automation Systems ​ Modernizing for Productivity and Profit Factory Automation Systems Mechanizing in Real Time Safety Instrumented Systems Delivering Safety on Demand Fire and Gas Systems Furnishing the Last Line of Defense Advanced Regulatory Control (ARC) Enlisting More Variables Burner Management Systems (BMS) Mitigating Fired System Hazards Combustion Control Systems (CCS) Optimizing Fuel Air Operation Human Machine Interfaces (SCADA) Interacting with Intuitive Information Alarm Management Systems Alerting Appropriate Action Migration Solutions ​​ Moving up with Modernization Conceptual & Preliminary Engineering Project Management Shaping a Successful Result from the Start ​ Project Assessment and Conceptual Design Articulating the Project Vision and Characterizing the Control System ​ Preliminary Engineering Converting Concept to Design Basis ​ Lifecycle and Upgrade Planning Looking Ahead Hardware Design Hardware Design Specifications Developing Hardware Details ​ Electrical and Instrumentation Design Connecting to the Process ​ Hardware Design and Panel Fabrication Supplying World-Class Panels ​ Construction, Installation, Commissioning Realizing the Vision ​ ​ ​ Systems Integration Software Design Specifications​ Developing Software Details Network Design Distributing Monitoring and Control Control System Configuration Creating Consistently Correct Control Simulation and Factory Acceptance Testing Approving the Configurations Site Acceptance Testing and Startup Testing and Turnover Maintenance and Support Supporting Client Successes

  • aeSolutions - Process Safety, Fired Equipment & Automation

    Improving industry by guiding our clients to increasingly resilient operations and safer communities. How We Can Help Our Story Engineering Company Integrating Process Safety, Automation & Fired Equipment Success Stories +25 Years Strong +40 Certified Experts +2000 Clients Served +600 Projects per Year Our Services Alarm Management Machinery Safety Migrations and Upgrades Process Safety Fired Equipment Project Management Combustible & Toxic Gas SIS Engineering Feature Stories You Need a Process Safety Roadmap! Structuring Your Process Safety Programs aeSolutions to Participate in AIChE 2024 Center for Hydrogen Safety Americas Conference Improve Your Process Safety Culture to Drive Improved Safety Performance Case Study in Navigating Tight Schedules and Supply Chain Challenges in SI and BMS Evolution of Fired Equipment Protective Systems in the Chemical Sector Client Success Built With Trusted Expertise aeSolutions is an engineering consulting and systems integration company that provides industrial process safety and automation products and services. We specialize in helping industrial clients achieve their site’s risk management and operational excellence goals. Process Safety As a supplier of complete process safety management (PSM) solutions, we pride ourselves on providing engineers from industry with design, maintenance, operating, and process safety backgrounds. Our specialists understand how plants operate because they have actually worked in covered processes and facilities. Alarm Managem ent Our clients recognize the relationship between the process safety performance of their facilities and the implementation of effective alarm management techniques and alarm philosophy. Our alarm management services help clients improve the performance of their alarm systems and increase the situational awareness of their operators. Machinery Safety Clients who operate and maintain machinery and robotics list safety is a top priority. We help manufacturing facilities achieve safe machine operation through risk assessments, application of the hierarchy of control, and sensible safeguard design. Our scalable programs address client’s specific needs and the machinery lifecycle to provide tailored solutions aligned with international and United States’ standards. DCS/PLC Migrations and Upgrades aeSolutions can provide the system integration methodology, technical services, and resources to accomplish the objectives of your automation project. We work with you from project inception to final commissioning through a proven project delivery model integrating diverse hardware, software, and services from multiple vendors and stakeholders into a unified, integrated system. Safety Instrumen ted Systems aeSolutions has a unique process to design and implement ISA84/IEC 61511-compliant safety instrumented systems (SIS). We integrate our knowledge and experience in PHA/LOPA along with control system hardware and field instrumentation to ensure that Safety Instrumented Functions (SIFs) are clearly defined. We define, design, and document the safety functions to meet your safety and online reliability requirements for 61511 and regulatory compliance. Fired Equipment From up-front engineering to end-user compliance testing, aeSolutions has helped clients create and maintain safe, efficient fired equipment and associated processes. With our extensive engineering knowledge of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and other regulations, aeSolutions is uniquely qualified to advise on virtually all combustion-related codes and other hazard assessments. Combustible & Toxic Gas The aeSolutions Fire and Combustible & Toxic Gas Detection team deliver a unique blend of experience in philosophy, technology selection, and geographic/scenario-based modeling. Beginning with a Gas Detection Philosophy development or review and update, we design a system that is fit for purpose, cost-effective, and has a defined basis that can be updated as the plant evolves.

  • Network Design

    Network Design Distributing Monitoring and Control aeSolutions designs industry standard as well as vendor specific networks for distributing controllers, I/O, data servers, and operator stations. Networks like Industrial Ethernet can be a composite of cables, fiber optics, and wireless systems, with managed switches and routers. aeSolutions recommends products and standards that we have tested for reliability, bandwidth, redundancy, distance, and industrial environments. Access points between the wide area enterprise networks and the critical control system networks must be managed carefully. Installation quality and signal testing are critical to achieving a fast, reliable control network. • Distributed I/O networks • Controller communication networks • HMI servers and client networks • Switches, routers, and firewalls • Single mode and multimode fiber optics • Coaxial and twisted pair cables • Drawings and Bills of Material Automation Services Previous Next

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