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Comment PDF Distillation

Can Trash Interfere With a Cure?

By Henry Z. Kister |

Henry Kister shares lessons learned from troubleshooting distillation towers Construction of new production units has an undesirable byproduct: trash. Sometimes the hard question is­— Who will clean? The author was the startup superintendent on a new unit in an olefins plant in Australia that produced polymer-grade propylene. Terry was the foreman working for him and Stan was the project engineer taking care of mechanical issues. Terry worked closely with the shift team, but they directly reported to their shift foreman. At this point in the startup, the auxiliary units were commissioned, operating and tested. Everyone was preparing for the exciting moment of hydrocarbon introduction that was scheduled for Friday night, with production of on-specification polymer-grade propylene by Monday morning. For months, everyone had been working tirelessly to meet the target startup date. The climax drew near, right on schedule. Early that week, an inspection by the production manager found unlevel ground, wide patches of dirt, missing pavement, piles of sand and rocks, chunks of metal, debris and trash. “Get Engineering to have these improved before we start,” he instructed us. The engineering project manager replied, “This work…
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