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Microballoon Process Implementation

The local office of an international chemical company reached out to REDD to get our opinion on the hazards associated with installing a new Horizontal Expansion Unit in their facility in Cheyenne, WY. Although the overall plant is Process Safety Management (PSM) governed, their new building within the plant at the time was not. A concern arose during the review of the Vendor’s MSDS sheet for the Microballoons utilized in the process. It lists the substance as being a “dust explosion hazard”, prompting our client to request that REDD provide an independent evaluation of this hazard and make recommendations for minimizing the risks.

REDD evaluated vendor documents against applicable codes and standards. After thorough research, REDD confirmed that the Microballoon products, whether expanded or unexpanded, are flammable and can result in a dust explosion under the right conditions. To mitigate this hazard, REDD identified the potential conditions that may result in catastrophic failure, including operations like hotwork procedures.

After analyzing all scenarios, REDD presented ignition probability calculations coupled with detailed recommendations of mitigating measures within the final report to show that it is possible to handle this material with a low probability of incident occurrence.  Because of REDD’s thoroughness and adherence to industry codes, quality, and safety, the plant continues to enjoy safe operations today.

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