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Revolutionising design check procedures in the process industries
Revolutionising design check procedures in the process industries

Developing AI to enhance process plant safety

  • Revolutionising design check procedures in the process industries

The work of Loughborough experts has revolutionised design check procedures in the process industries.

The nuclear, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and many other manufacturing industries rely heavily on intensive manual processes to identify errors or potential hazards in processing plant designs to prevent accidents from occuring.

The framework most widely used – the HAZOP Study (Hazard and Operability) – was developed in the mid-1970s. Although effective, it is very time-consuming and expensive to conduct HAZOP studies. A HAZOP study of a chemical plant could take a team of engineers weeks or even months to complete.

Research carried out at Loughborough since 1993 into the use of artificial intelligence techniques to automate HAZOP studies has resulted in the development of research prototype HAZID – a novel computer tool that utilises model-based and knowledge-based techniques to speed up significantly the generation and checking of HAZOP reports.

To support further developments, the University spin-out Hazid Technologies was launched in 2002, and a global sales agreement was signed with CAD system vendor Intergraph Corp in 2005.

Since then, the company has developed a suite of state-of-the-art commercial tools for safety engineers, revolutionising hazard reviews across a range of sectors.

Impact

  • State-of-the-art tools 

    Research prototypes have been developed into state-of-the-art commercial tools for improving process plant safety.

  • Hazid technologies 

    Spin-out company – Hazid Technologies – signed a global sales agreement with Intergraph Corporation in 2005, and has raised more than £1.3m in shares capital from investors.

  • Global applications 

    Major companies from across the globe use Hazid products for checking their plant design drawings.