Project Synopsis

Provide process engineering assistance in support of process plant area classifications based on the International Building Code (IBC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines.

Project Summary


The client is installing a brand new (greenfield) facility that manufactures catalytic inserts for automotive and industrial emissions control applications.  The production lines include batch reactors, drying and calcining ovens, and a series air pollution control systems.  The client contracted with Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to provide process engineering assistance in support of classification of the facility based on International Building Code (IBC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines.  Specific project tasks and deliverables included the following:

  • Develop a facility-wide chemical classification summary to include every chemical used at the facility, its specific composition, vapor density, material hazards classification (reactive, toxic, combustible, corrosive, etc.), the basis for the hazards classification, the volume stored and used at the facility, how it is stored, and in what type of process the chemical is used.  The summary included many proprietary substances generated by the client (both at the new site and at other sites).  CHEMCAD was used to generate specific vapor densities of the proprietary mixtures.
  • Prepare a summary report outlining the facility mechanical exhaust system requirements as specified by the IBC (Chp. 5 and 27) as well as guidelines in ANSI/AIHA Z9.2-2006.  This document was used by the client to specify building ventilation system design requirements for each floor of the building and isolated materials storage and transfer rooms.   
  • Prepare a summary report outlining the specific facility requirements with respect to handling combustible dusts as required by Chapter 13 of the IBC and NFPA 654.  More specifically, the report detailed requirements for storage, handling, and use of three (3) combustible raw materials (used in dust form) in the process.  PROCESS defined the minimum explosive concentration (MEC) for each material, estimated the maximum expected concentration of that dust generated in each operation, and the expected maximum dust concentration in the dust collector system.  This information was used to assist the client in defining the storage requirements for the material, as a basis for a process hazards analysis (PHA), as a basis in establishing the area electrical classification, and as a basis in writing the dust collector equipment specification. 
  • Prepare an Electrical Area Classification document for the facility.   PROCESS outlined electrical area classifications for each floor of the building and for specific process areas on each floor.  Electrical classification was required for areas around combustible dust operations, combustible liquid operations, and natural gas piping/venting per NFPA 91, NFPA 497, and NFPA 499.      
  • Provide emission estimates for worst case emissions from the mechanical exhaust systems during an upset condition (e.g., spill of a highly hazardous material).   

Industry Type

  • Batch Catalyst Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process area safety classification
  • Process safety engineering assistance

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