In a competitive working environment for a chemical process industry, sometimes it is required to maximize the production capacity or its yield based on the available plant capacity margins as per the prevailing process conditions. Sometime simulation study also suggests proceeding to increase in plant capacity. Normally, this increase in capacity increase is without major modifications and debottlenecking requirements or studies.
Though in such exercise or study, the financial gain is an obvious factor but to sustain operation at increased plant load (especially beyond designed nameplate capacity) warrants a structured Risk Assessment for the whole process plant / equipment / machines / human factors / mechanical integrity concerns, to assess new hazards and risks to avoid any process safety related incident. Apart from other important risk factors affecting the process, due to increase in plant load; following are the important ones;
Operator response in case any process upset or management of abnormal situation.
Asset Integrity concerns of plant equipment/machines/pipelines due to sustained operation at higher plant load like flow induced corrosion.
Other human factors
Above mentioned and others risk factors are dicussed in details, subsequently in this document.