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01 October 2018

EPC-UK sets plans in motion to make state-of-the art emulsion production a leader in functional safety

First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
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EPC-UK has begun the construction of a new bulk emulsion facility at its Rough Close Works site in Derbyshire, England
EPC-UK, a leading company within the UK commercial explosives and blasting services sector, has begun the construction of a new bulk emulsion facility at its Rough Close Works site in Derbyshire, England. The project is designed to deliver the necessary infrastructure and to accommodate state-of-the-art equipment, while also ensuring the company’s Ammonium Nitrate Blasting Intermediate (ANBI) manufacturing process incorporates some of the latest safety enhancing technology.

ANBI emulsion is the primary raw material in EPC-UK’s Blendex range of site mixed bulk explosives and is used by the company’s ‘Rock-on-Ground’ service teams, as well as by its direct supply customers.

The new facility will be created by adapting existing buildings to enable EPC-UK to house the process equipment and raw material storage vessels.  Two new structures will accommodate an Ammonium Nitrate silo at the beginning of the process and a final product silo at the other.  A new steam and condensate line will also be installed and the access road to the matrix plant will be widened and a new weighbridge installed.

As an Upper Tier COMAH site (Control of Major Accident Hazards), EPC-UK ensures that the production of its emulsion meets the most stringent safety requirements. The new plant is designed to the latest standards in order to be compliant with UK legislation and meet international and EPC Groupe standards.  EPC Groupe technology is being used throughout.

Using Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) in accordance with BS EN 61511 (Functional Safety) to achieve the highest levels of safety, the plant will provide a safer and more ergonomic working environment for both operations and maintenance personnel.  It is understood that it will be the first emulsion plant to comply with the majority of the criteria cited.

From a design perspective, significant attention has been paid to the facility’s ability to heighten operator and maintenance team safety with the incorporation of new control system displays, the variety of access and egress improvements and the colouring and labelling of process pipework.
Commenting on the emulsion plant and its positive purpose, Chris Barlow, operations manager at EPC-UK’s Rough Close Works operation said: “The manufacture of emulsion demands that stringent safety standards are consistently adhered to – however, in addition we wanted to devise a manufacturing process that was considered more efficient in terms of energy usage; thus, reducing the company’s carbon footprint and production costs, whilst also having the flexibility to vary production rates, work conveniently to operational requirements and improve operator utilisation.  

“The new site will allow us to increase our production to 19,000 tonnes per year, as well as enable a variable production rate of between eight and 18 tonnes per hour.  It will also provide us with the opportunity to produce underground emulsion, adding a supplementary product to our portfolio.

“We’re excited about the new plant’s potential to deliver a combination of advanced infrastructure and innovative equipment, which will serve to improve production turnaround times, meet primary environmental targets to produce zero waste and provide an appropriate facility for our site team to receive enhanced levels of competence training.

“By working to such exceptionally high levels within the emulsion plant – which when complete will, we believe, be the only known plant to comply with BS EN 61511 – we will ensure that EPC-UK’s emulsion production can truly be considered as “Best in Class” for functional safety, which will be a fitting achievement for a market leading organisation such as EPC-UK.”

The emulsion plant is due for completion at the end of the year.

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