In September 2014, Heide Refinery used two weeks of planned downtime at its pyrolysis plant to migrate to new safety systems. The technology selection emphasized plant availability and a high level of investment security, while extensive preliminary testing guaranteed a smooth changeover.

When Heide Refinery, Germany’s northernmost processor of crude oil, undertook an extensive DCS replacement project, it also replaced the pyrolysis plant’s reliable 20-year-old safety technology with new HIMax systems from the same manufacturer, HIMA Paul Hildebrandt GmbH.

Plant availability is especially important to Heide Refinery. In the pyrolysis plant, process changes or conversions of the modes of operation are undertaken frequently. These changes or conversions need to happen quickly and easily during plant operation, without impairing plant safety.

Heide Refinery also wanted a state-of-the-art, future-safe safety platform with a long product lifecycle, that can be easily extended

“With the HIMax safety system we are investing in the future,” said Thomas Romahn, MSR Technician at Heide Refinery “In the new project we again chose HIMA because we have had years of positive experience with the company. HIMA safety controllers that process a total of approximately 7,500 I/Os have been in use at the refinery for more than 40 years,” he added.

Integration of the safety systems in the operating and observation level of the previous process control system, TDC 3000, and of the new Experion PKS system, both from Honeywell, were implemented via MODBUS RTU and MODBUS TCP/IP. The coupling to both control systems was extensively tested before the installation so that commissioning would run smoothly. The pyrolysis plant is being progressively converted to the new control system.

Three redundant HIMax systems are in use as ESD, BMS and F&G systems. A HIMatrix F35 system functions as pump controller. Overall, the safety controllers in the pyrolysis plant process approximately 2,000 signals. For the migration, most of the existing marshaling racks were retained; this measure reduced procurement costs, as well as installation, wiring and test efforts.

In addition to the hardware and software solution, HIMA also provided an extensive range of services, including detail engineering, training, PLS integration and commissioning. The safety experts also provided support with the specification, concept development and TÜV acceptance. “As project manager, I supported the migration process from concept development to commissioning. The project engineer, Karsten Schwerin, was the direct contact on site for our customer the whole time. Thus we ensured that all quality standards were complied with, and that the project ran smoothly,” said Phillip Schmidt of HIMA.

About Heide Refinery
Heide Refinery is an enterprise of the Klesch Group and employs approximately 500 people. The company has a processing capacity of 4.5 million tons of crude oil per year. The refinery, built in 1940, produces classic mineral oil products, such as automotive gas, diesel fuel and aircraft fuel. In addition, it produces light heating oil as well as base materials for the chemical industry.
About HIMA
HIMA is the world’s leading specialist for safety-related automation solutions. HIMA solutions provide maximum safety and maximum availability and can be integrated into any automation environment. During the past 45 years, more than 35,000 HIMA systems have been installed in over 80 countries to protect the equipment of the world’s largest companies in the oil, gas, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and power generation industries. In the fields of rail, logistics and machine safety, HIMA solutions are leading the way to increased safety and profitability. The HIMA LIFECYCLE SERVICES concept gives customers an overview of all the requirements of “functional safety” allowing them to always make the right decision at the appropriate time.
For more information about HIMA, please visit:

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