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Ethylene (C2H4) Handling Design, Loading, and Installation.
As an Olefin in the Petrochemical family tree, Ethylene is a hydrocarbon chemical made from the processing of petroleum. It is a colorless flammable gas with a faint sweet odor. Ethylene is used in a wide range of industries and applications including food and beverage, specialty glass, the refrigerant in LNG plants, medical anesthetic, and rubber and plastics.
In the United States, Ethylene is a “tight-fill” (closed-loop) loading operation and is loaded into road tankers and rail cars via chemical hoses or top loading arms with vapour recovery. Ethylene, if not handled properly can be fatal therefore Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required. Additionally, because operators are on top of the vehicles during the loading process, fall prevention is essential, not only for safety but increases throughput.View Full Text
Ethylene is typically transported via DOT-105 pressurized general service tank cars with safety valves.
The rails cars themselves are 9′ outside diameter with an overall length of ~47′, with a 6’ x 6′ or 8’ x 8’ centered crash box.
Tank truck (un)loading procedures are similar to railcar applications with the trailers meeting established DOT requirements for hauling ethylene or similar commodities.
Approved DOT trailers include MC 300 thru MC 312, MC 330 and MC 331. All trailers must be equipped with pressure relief valves; and trailers with bottom outlets must be equipped with remote-controlled stop valves.
Typical Ethylene Loading Platform
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Below are some of the loading and unloading solutions for illustrative purposes only. Our experts will work with you and your team for a custom solution to suit your needs.
Ethylene Loading Arms
Ethylene is typically loaded into railcars via chemical hoses or loading arms.
Generally, we recommend rigid pipe loading arms were possible for the following reasons:
- Balanced throughout their movement envelope
- Designed not to hit the ground – protecting the asset and the operator
- Ergonomic – one-man operation
- Fitted with manual or actuated valves.
- Fitted with optional purge/vent facilities
- Can be moved into position with ease and left hanging in the air while the operator prepares the tanker connection
- Parked neatly
- Annual pressure test
- Are difficult to stow neatly when not in use
- Can be dropped
- Can be driven over
- Are very heavy to use if fitted with a valve at the tanker connection point
- Cannot be easily heated or have vent/purge valves fitted to it
- Prone to catastrophic failure
The current best loading practice is to use a 3″ chemical hose or a carbon steel loading arm with quick-acting coupling, often in the form of Hammer Unions with stabber pipe. The chemical hose or loading arm will have a top inlet with a control valve to ensure that it is self-draining after use and is supported along the length of a mechanical loading arm to improve handling; this is known as a by-pass arm. You can install one liquid and one vapor arm, or mount both the liquid and vapor hoses on one by-pass arm. The alternative is to have a supported boom top loading arm, top inlet, with vapour cone and vapour return hose. The arm would be fitted with an overfill device and the vapour hose can be fitted with an over-pressurization sensor.
Break-away couplings can be fitted near the inlet of the hose for additional safety in the event of a premature departure.
Ethylene Un-Loading Arms
Typically, the ethylene will be gravity unloaded via a rigid carbon steel self-draining unloading arm. Breathing vents are opened on the vessel to allow the product to drain.
This can also be achieved through the use of hoses, couplings, and safety break-away units.
Loading Gangways and Safety Cages
A wider access gangway (36″-48″ is preferable) as it helps improve access and egress to and from the vessel. In addition, a wider gangway will reduce the risk of the operator’s PPE getting caught, torn or damaged, and will improve productivity and safety. Powered gangway solutions are also an option, with both hydraulic and pneumatic solutions being commonly used.
Each gangway will be fitted with a two-rail safety cage for the railcar crash box. This will be a centered 6’x6’ safety cage to sit directly over the cashbox. This will provide a safe, secure work environment for your operator when connected to their breathing apparatus.
GX SELF-ADJUSTING STAIR (SAS) GANGWAY
SafeRack’s NEW GX SAS gangways use Retractalok power-assist technology allowing operators to raise or lower effortlessly, light as a feather to lift, solid as a rock. Tested in the most critical applications, this revolutionary new gangway outperforms all others. Available in multiple lengths and widths. Learn More
Marine Access Gangways
Ethylene is typically pumped from dockside side storage tanks into sealed cargo holds of double hull barges. To facilitate safe, secure access and egress from the barges, SafeRack offers a complete line of marine gangways.
Ethylene Eye Wash/Drench Showers
ANSI guidelines state that an Eye Wash/Drench Showers need to be located 10 seconds or 55’ (16.8m) from contaminants or hazardous materials.
Eyewash stations need to be on the same horizontal plane with no obstructions.
Therefore, we would propose the installation of a standard combination Drench Shower/Eyewash Unit, which will save limited space and fit easily into any work
Ethylene Spill Containment
Spill containment pans will be provided at the point of loading operations and is an essential piece of equipment in overall site safety and environmental protection
Ethylene is highly flammable, and industry best practice includes the grounding of all vessels before starting the (un)loading process.
- Vehicle grounding and bonding — ensure true grounding before product flow is permitted
- Explosion-proof enclosures — meet or exceed UL, CSA and Ex requirements
Safety Gates will be installed at the top of stairs and any other openings to ensure operator safety at all times.
YellowGate Safety Gates
SafeRack’s line of industrial safety gates is the most flexible product on the market with the ability span openings between 16” and 36” and is field adjustable with nothing more than a wrench. Learn More
- Lighting – Lighting both over and under the platform will be provided. For overcast days or second shift, lighting is essential for improved safety and improved productivity.
- Platform & Canopies – Full platform canopies reduce exposure to the elements and improve the safe and productive loading operation from the operator’s perspective.
- Operator Shelter – Depending on your site requirements, consideration should be given to the requirement of an operator or guard building on the loading platform. This can be customized to meet specific site requirements
- Wheel Chocks – Railcar Wheel Chocks provide fast blocking of all types of railcars and meet OSHA regulations to safely prevent railroad cars from moving during loading or unloading operations. This is a requirement by the Department of Homeland Security
Personal Protective Equipment PPE Requirements
Eye/Face Protection: Wear chemical safety goggles. A face shield (with safety goggles) may also be necessary.
Skin Protection: Wear chemical protective clothing e.g. gloves, aprons, boots. Coveralls or long sleeve shirts and pants in some operations. Wear a chemical protective, full-body encapsulating suit, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Suitable materials include butyl rubber, neoprene rubber, Viton®, Viton®/butyl rubber, Barrier® – PE/PA/PE, Silver Shield® – PE/EVAL/PE, Trellchem® HPS, Trellchem® VPS, Saranex®™, Tychem® BR/LV, Tychem® Responder® CSM, Tychem® TK. The following materials should NOT be used: natural rubber, polyvinyl chloride. Recommendations are NOT valid for very thin neoprene rubber gloves (0.3 mm or less).
Respiratory Protection: Up to 5 ppm:
(APF = 10) Any chemical cartridge respirator with cartridge(s) providing protection against chlorine*; or Any supplied-air respirator*.
*Reported to cause eye irritation or damage; may require eye protection.
APF = Assigned Protection Factor
Recommendations apply only to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators. Refer to the NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards for more information.
Use local exhaust ventilation and enclosure, if necessary, to control the amount in the air. Consider using a corrosion-resistant exhaust ventilation system separate from other ventilation systems. It may be necessary to use stringent control measures such as process enclosure to prevent product release into the workplace. Use backup controls (e.g. double mechanical pump seals) to prevent the release of this material due to equipment failure. * For illustrative purposes only. Our experts will work with you and your team for a custom solution to suit your needs
Things to know about Ethylene (C2H4)
Ethylene is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and is classified as a hazardous and flammable material, with the DOT identification number UN 1040.
Ethylene is colorless flammable gas. In the event of a spill or leak, exit the area immediately. Eliminate heat and ignition sources, such as sparks, open flames, and static discharge. Post :No Smoking signs. Both the liquid and gas pose serious fire hazards when accidentally released, especially at elevated temperatures.
Ethylene gas acts as an asphyxiant by displacing oxygen in the atmosphere and the gas may spread over long distances. Oxygen levels should be maintained above 19.5% at all times.
Ethylene is irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract; best practice includes wearing chemical-resistant clothing, gloves, splash goggles, and a respirator.
Exposure to high concentrations can cause anesthetic effects. Operators may experience headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and in some cases unconsciousness and/or death. Exposure can also cause frostbite to the skin or other affected areas. Extreme care must be taken when transferring this product.
Ethylene is flammable. In the event of a spill or leak, exit the area immediately. Eliminate heat and ignition sources such as sparks, open flames, hot surfaces, and static discharge. Post “No Smoking” signs.
Ethylene gas is HIGHLY FLAMMABLE and EXPLOSIVE. Exposure to the gas can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and to pass out. …
The transfer method is typically “tight fill” loading via railcar or tank truck.
Best practice loading/unloading includes wearing chemical-resistant clothing, gloves, splash goggles, and a respirator to protect eyes, skin, and lungs.
Petrochemicals are made from either petroleum or natural gas feedstock. A wide variety of petrochemicals are created/produced depending on the process.
- Aromatics – Aromatics are hydrocarbons that consist exclusively of the elements carbon and hydrogen. Common Aromatics are Benzene, Toluene, and Xylenes. Often used for creating Dyes, synthetic detergents, fibers, and plastics.The catalytic reforming of naphtha produces aromatics, which include benzene, toluene, and xylene. Together they are referred to as BTX and are predominantly obtained from petroleum refineries by the extraction from the reformate produced in catalytic reformers using naphtha obtained from petroleum refineries.
- Olefins – The most reactive class of hydrocarbons tend to crack. Common Olefins are Ethylene, Propylene, and Butadiene. Often used for creating plastics, and synthetic rubber. Chemical plants produce olefins by steam cracking of natural gas liquids like ethane and propane. Olefins include ethene, propene, and butadiene. Ethylene and propylene are chief sources of both plastic products and industrial chemicals. Butadiene is mainly used in the production of synthetic rubber.
- Synthesis gas (SynGas) – A mixture comprising of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. Common Synthesis Gas is Ammonia and Methanol. Often used for creating Fertilizers and explosives. Synthesis gas is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen used to make ammonia and methanol. Ammonia is used to make the fertilizer urea, and methanol is used as a solvent and chemical intermediate. Steam crackers are not to be confused with steam reforming plants used to produce hydrogen and ammonia.
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Is your plant or facility compliant with ANSI, OSHA, and local safety codes? We can help!
EMERGENCY EYEWASHES / SHOWER EQUIPMENT AND THE ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 – 2014 STANDARD
Following eye contact, you must start washing with water immediately to prevent permanent damage. In the event of skin contact, you must start washing with water immediately to prevent slow-healing chemical burns.
Are you aware that ANSI guidelines state that Eye Wash/Drench Showers need to be located 10 seconds or 55′ from contaminates or hazardous materials and located on the same horizontal plane, with no obstructions? If bottom loading/unloading, an additional shower should be located at grade as well. SafeRack provides the above equipment plus much more needed to keep employees safe and expedite bulk chemical loading and unloading.
OSHA Regulation Experts – Does your existing chemical safety equipment or chemical loading systems meet OSHA’s latest requirements? SafeRack’s professional technical sales consultants are available to meet with your team to make recommendations to keep your facility in front of OSHA’s ever-changing country and region-specific standards and regulations, including lifeline and trolley beam fall arrest systems, metal stairs, and access platforms.
The SafeRack approach is a collaborative one. Let’s call it The SafeRack Way. We have, over many years amassed a great deal of experience and understanding of the safety aspects involved in loading road tankers and railcars, as well as the behavioral habits of the operators.
With the best intentions in the world, if a system is designed that is inconvenient or difficult to operate, it becomes the operator’s mission to bypass, abuse, and generally defeat that system. This could result in the (un)loading procedure being far more dangerous than no system at all.
To avoid this, SafeRack has developed industry-leading safe access solutions, seamlessly integrating loading arms and ancillary 3rd party equipment to be user friendly with the operation of loading becoming cleaner, more automated, and far safer.
Experts In Chemical Loading
North America’s largest loading terminal
World-leading designer, manufacturer, and installer of truck and railcar loading platforms
As one of the primary railcar loading points, Hardisty is one of the major crude oil hubs in North America and a major origination point of pipelines that export to the United States. SCS was asked to supply and construct a SafeRack crude oil loadout terminal spanning nearly half a mile. The USD Hardisty terminal can load up to two 120-railcar unit trains per day and consists of a fixed loading rack with 62 railcar loading positions enclosed, separate control, operator and mechanical buildings, as well as a unit train staging area and loop tracks capable of holding multiple unit trains simultaneously. SCS also supplied and installed boom-supported loading arms with supply and vapor management systems.
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Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina