Customised Safety Handle with Care! An Inside Look Into Disaster Management

Author / Editor: P Vijayaraghavans / Dominik Stephan

Learn from accidents: The multi-billion dollar bulk materials handling business sector lays a strong emphasis on customized solutions to meet the safety requirements of the industry. In this article, we take a closer look at disasters from Bhopal to Santiago to see what disaster management is all about...

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The industry offers great potential for bulk handling, thus forming about 2/3rd of the total value which is estimated to be about $140–190 billion by 2017.
The industry offers great potential for bulk handling, thus forming about 2/3rd of the total value which is estimated to be about $140–190 billion by 2017.
(Picture: P Vijayaraghavan)

Broadly, bulk handling by definition refers to transportation of not only materials but also people including storage as well as handling at various stages. It is a key unit operation of chemical engineering and encompasses all other branches of engineering such as mechanical, civil, electrical, electronics, etc. Bulk handling constitutes a major portion of the manufacturing sector especially in the chemical or processing industry.

Over the centuries, this concept has grown into a multibillion dollar industry comprising supply chain management and interlinking almost all the industries in the manufacturing sector. Hence, it becomes critical and crucial not only for industrial development and economic development but also towards the quality of life in general.

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A Number Game: Why Bulk Matters

As per the 12th Five Year Plan document of the Working Group, Government of India for the period 2012-2017; the sales of global chemicals in FY10 was valued at $3.4 trillion. Asia’s share in the global chemical industry increased from 31 per cent in 1999 to 45 per cent in 2009. Today, the current size of the Indian chemical industry is approximately $108 billion and is expected to grow at 11–15 per cent in order to reach $220–290 billion by 2017.

In the process industry, raw materials are processed. Each step, from transporting bulk material into the plant and through the plant, to controlling material flow into the process, and then transporting the end product to its next destination, offers great potential for bulk handling, thus forming about 2/3rd of the total value which is estimated to be about $140–190 billion by 2017.

Several recent surveys have shown that about 50 per cent of the products handled by the industry are in bulk or powder form (in terms of volume), representing about 30 per cent by value. Thus the storage, handling and processing of bulk and powdered materials is an important and integral part of many modern industrial processes.

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How to Adapt Sustainability in Bulk and Chemical Industries?

The Twelfth Five Year Plan indicates ‘sustainability’ as one of the key issues facing the chemical industry. Hence, in the coming decades, attention needs to be given to areas such as water resource, environment, raw materials, energy, safety over lifecycle, etc. Among all these areas, safety over lifecycle assumes predominance and has to be given priority especially in the bulk handling sector.

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