Process Safety in the Printing & Coating Industry

A major international Flexible Packaging Company experienced a catastrophic explosion on a coating process tunnel dryer causing damage to the plant and putting the operators at risk. This event was caused by a source of ignition occurring at the same time as a sudden release of solvent caused by loss of tension and the web dipping into the coating tray.

Although this type of event is rare the consequences are substantial.
The company owned a sister coating press to the one that failed and production was halted until a full investigation was carried out.

After these investigations, Operational was tasked to upgrade the drying systems and install pro-active safety control systems to ensure the safe operation of the process.

A series of airflow controls; process safety features such as explosion relief designed to NFPA Standards and LEL solvent monitoring systems were installed.

Due to the sensitivity of this situation the new process control and safety systems were inspected and verified independently by Veritas before production was resumed.

Following these upgrades carried out by Operational this coating press has subsequently operated without incident.

  • Customer: Major International Printing Company
  • Initial Situation: Frequent loss of tension and web dips; Poor safety and process control.
  • Solution: Process rationalisation; Dryer technology upgrades; Installation of safety systems.
  • Client Benefits: Good process control achieved; High level of safety; Full compliance with Atex and other safety standards.