In the United Kingdom, EPC-UK has opened a bulk emulsion facility to deliver the necessary infrastructure required to enhance the safety of its emulsion manufacturing process.
The bulk emulsion, also known as Ammonium Nitrate Blasting Intermediate, is the primary raw material in EPC-UK’s Blendex range of site-mixed bulk explosives and is used by the company’s ‘Rock-on-Ground’ service teams as well as its direct supply customers.
Chris Barlow, Operations Manager at EPC-UK’s Rough Close Works operation, says: “This is the largest investment the EPC Groupe has made in the UK for some years. Not only is it allowing us to ensure stringent safety standards are adhered to, it is also enabling us to create a manufacturing process that is more efficient in terms of energy usage, reducing the company’s carbon footprint and production costs, whilst having the flexibility to vary production rates.”
EPC-UK says the plant features a combination of advanced infrastructure and equipment to improve production turnaround times and meet primary environmental targets to produce zero waste.
The facility, located at the company’s Rough Close Works site in Derbyshire, has been created by adapting existing buildings to enable EPC-UK to house the process equipment and raw material storage vessels. Two new structures accommodate an Ammonium Nitrate silo, used at the beginning of the process and a final product silo at the other. A new steam and condensate line have also been installed whilst the access road to the plant has been widened and a new weighbridge installed.
The plant uses Safety Instrumental Systems in accordance with BS EN 61511 (Functional Safety) to provide a safer and more ergonomic working environment for both operations and maintenance personnel, the company adds.
According to EPC-UK, the facility’s design heightens safety with the incorporation of new control system displays, a variety of access and egress improvements as well as colouring and labelling of process pipework.