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February 9, 2015

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Addressing process safety incidents: Smith Flow Control

SmartTrap_PigTrap_compositeNew digital technologies are emerging for the process industry that enable traditional mechanical interlocking to be combined with digital process control and instrumentation systems, according to mechanical valve firm Smith Flow Control.

Although interlocks ensure extremely high safety levels, they usually function as stand-alone safety systems but SmartTrap+ incorporates signals from sensors into the interlocking sequence, according to the company.

Smith Flow Control sates that in the process industry, mechanical interlocks guarantee strict adherence to procedures and help avoid human error and are particularly useful for highly dangerous operations such as pigging and valve changeover procedures.

By incorporating signals from other field devices like pressure or H2S/CO2 sensors into the interlocking sequence, SmartTrap+ ensures interlock keys can only be released if particular process conditions have been met, according to Smith Flow Control.

The company add that SmartTrap+ incorporates permissive signals and a door lock proximity switch (4-20mA) as standard; and the signals can include pressure detection, gas detection, flow/ level and pig detection.

According to the company, SmartTrap+ can address some of the factors they highlight as contributing to pipeline pigging incidents such as a lack of training or complacency and a lack of hazard awareness.

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