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Ageing Bulk Tanks Become a Health and Safety Risk

Site survey with 3D modelling to design a cost effective and safer solution for bulk tank storage for a CIP system in a kegging plant

Bulk tanks with leaky pipework posing health and safety risks

The company is a multinational alcoholic beverages company and is the world’s largest producer of spirits and one of the major producers of beers with offices in 6 continents. At one of its kegging plants, it had a Clean-in-Place (CIP) system where the interior surface of the pipework was cleaned with acid and caustic mixture and then washed and rinsed with water. Concentrated caustic acid tanks provided bulk storage for this purpose. The tanks were diluted before entering the cleaning system. However, in the room, the tanks were in poor condition. The pipework and system that had been added over the 30 years resulted in a system of numerous pipework running across the facility with nobody on the site with up to date knowledge of the overall system. With age and the corrosive nature of the liquids, the tanks and pipes had developed hazardous leaks into troughs which were full of acid. This presented a health and safety challenge for the customer. The incumbent supplier proposed to replace the tanks with a new system which would have been at a very high cost but would not involve re-engineering.

3D modelling of storage facility and pipework runs

Malone Group was engaged by the customer to conduct a survey of the CIP site to establish the engineering options and provide a report with recommendations. The survey investigated how the system was originally built which was a key part in enabling the development of a feasibility study. We used design principles to do an innovative 3D imaging survey to enable us to produce a 3D model of the entire room with tank storage and pipework. This creative approach was critical to saving an enormous amount of time instead of developing the full design and having to keep repeating site visits. The modelling technique had a powerful impact on the customer team. The 25 runs of pipework were consolidated down to 5 pipe runs with one tank moved externally on a concrete pad with an external staircase for access. The acid tank with a 60,000 storage capacity was installed in the room.

A safer system with PLC control and accelerated Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) for compliance

This represented a much safer environment for working with a new control system that was installed with PLC to control room. One of the additional areas of value that Malone Group provided on this project was in the Factory Acceptance Testing. Using our audit application for site safety we were able to manage the supplier inspections and pre-delivery inspections to ensure all elements were checked and available to our customer to review prior to delivery on-site. As a result, the project manager could remotely view real time data to ensure compliance of the system.