Recent Studies Show BlastPLEX Continues to Provide Extensive Savings to Customers

BlastPLEXTM, MBI’s patent-pending mechanically fastened building systems, continues to impress customers with extensive savings in both time and money during the installation process.  As previously reported by Ray Onofrio, VP of Sales and Leasing, the very first BlastPLEX project showed an 85% reduction in the total number of man hours required to install a 36×40 complex.  This reduced time included offloading of the modules, connecting them together, weather sealing the exterior seams, and all interior finish work.

With several other BlastPLEX projects having been installed since its introduction, there is now more empirical data to support the substantial savings during installation.  While savings vary from project to project, customers are experiencing on average an 80% reduction of installation man hours when compared to traditional welded methods. (click here to see case studies on a 24×40 complex or a 48×40 complex).

Although these savings alone are enough to establish BlastPLEX as the leading option for the blast resistant building industry, the BlastPLEX system offers even more benefits, including the following:

  • Faster occupancy
  • Less site disruptions
  • Flexibility to disconnect and relocate complexes
  • Flexibility to add and reduce complex size for future facility reconfigurations and additions
  • Same protection capabilities of welded structures

As customers continue to experience these benefits, it is becoming evident that MBI’s BlastPLEX building systems are the wave of the future.

Damage Response Criteria… as important and Overpressure & Duration

Basic criteria must be adhered to in designing, engineering and manufacturing blast resistant modular buildings. The four primary variables that need to be considered in developing a blast resistant building for petrochemical plants or refineries are the following:

  •  Freefield Overpressure (psi, bar, mbar, kPa)
  •  Duration of the blast event (ms) or Impulse (psi-ms)
  •  Damage Response Criteria as graded by the ASCE: High, Medium & Low
  •  Anchored or Slide designed building

This article addresses a critical variable, which is often overlooked when requesting a quote for a blast resistant building, the Damage Response Criteria.  Philosophies vary among engineers and petrochemical companies in regard to which Damage Response Criteria is suitable for their respective location. Following are the three major Damage Responses as defined by ASCE:

All of these criteria are safe for personal and designed to resist the overpressure of the blast.  The damage level determines the usability of a building following exposure to an event and also distinguishes replacement / repair costs.  Low damage buildings are designed to have lower allowable wall deformations than Medium and High damage buildings.  With that being said, the initial costs on low damage buildings are higher than that of the medium and high damage buildings.  Early on, we noted that most customers selected either medium or high damage response criterion; however, over the last year we have seen an increase in requests to manufacture blast resistant building which are rated at Low Damage.

Buildings containing critical equipment such as Remote Instrument Enclosures (RIE) are typically designed to be Low Damage.  Other buildings such as Control Rooms, Operator Shelters, or Alky Change Houses, are typically designed to either High or Medium Damage.  These examples are only a representation of various buildings MBI has produced over the years.  The final decision on which damage level to select is always determined by the customer.

Another thing to consider is the fact that damage level criteria and existing design standards do not give consideration to the hazards of flying debris during a blast.  However, in the event of a blast, flying debris is a virtual certainty.  For this reason, MBI has designed our standard building to resist various levels of projectile threats.  We also have the ability to design buildings to withstand specific projectile threats as defined by our customers.

So, be sure to consider all the factors when selecting your next blast resistant building.

 

Specialized Modular Design-Build and Engineering Capabilities

There are thousands of firms that provide design-build and engineering expertise geared toward site built construction.  In addition to site built construction, there is this whole separate industry dedicated to modular building construction.  MBI has established itself as the only company to have assembled an engineering division experienced in design-build disciplines, but focused on modular Protective Building Systems.

MBI is the Protective Building Systems sector innovator, engineering-design leader and end-product standard for modular solutions utilized when protecting people, information and equipment.

MBI’s established engineering capabilities are second to none in this sector.  Currently, MBI has eight degreed engineers, including three PhD’s and two PE’s, with expertise in their given fields.  MBI utilizes state-of-the-art computer modeling and engineering software that allows us to effectively engineer products that best suit customer’s needs.

MBI also has affiliations with world-renowned experts who have amassed an array of engineered solutions supported by actual test data in the fields of blast, ballistics, fragmentation, mortar protection, EMI-RFI shielding, etc.  Through these affiliations, MBI remains on the cutting edge of technologies, constantly investing in research and development (R&D) and evolving its products into the most cost effective means of defending threats.

Through the expansion of such capabilities, MBI is actively engaged in the design-build and development of rapid deployment complexes (large multi module buildings) that require levels of protection that before could only be obtained by site built construction.  Moreover, with MBI’s Hidden Fortress options, it can make a modular solution look like a site built building.

Over the years, MBI has designed and engineered buildings that are deployed throughout the US, Caribbean, Canada, Africa, Russia, South America, Mexico, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and various countries in the Middle East.  In doing so MBI has amassed a database of building codes and location requirements that few companies obtain.

MBI can also provide logistical expertise and site installation supervision for its projects.

If a modular solution is being considered, the earlier in the design phase that MBI is involved the better value we believe we can deliver.

DHS Plans for 2011 Chemical Sector Security Summit

Plans are under way for the DHS 2011 Chemical Sector Security Summit. The event will be held in Baltimore on July 6th & 7th, and is sponsored by the Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council. The Summit provides a forum for education and sharing of ideas about chemical security. It’s the place to hear about the latest changes, regulations and effective solutions. Obviously a big part of the discussion includes CFATS and MTSA.

This will be the fifth annual Summit. Last year we saw a real bump in attendance. It was great to see so much interest in the topic and I think most everyone found it useful. I know that I did. Janet Napolitano, who heads up DHS, was one of the featured speakers and discussed the necessary partnership between the public and private sectors to protect our critical infrastructure.

According to DHS here are some of the topics scheduled for the Summit in 2011:

• Chemical Security Regulations Update
• All-hazards approach for safety, security & resilience
• Cybersecurity
• Industry best practices

Another important thing about these events is that people involved in chemical facility security get the chance to meet and interact with DHS officials. That can go a long way to help understand the CFATS process and how to maneuver through it. I would also imagine that there will be some clarification this time on pending issues and a lot of discussion about how to remain compliant.

DHS also has scheduled a demonstration the day before the Summit on July 5th and two workshops on July 8th. DHS is not publicizing what it will be demonstrating yet, but the workshops will be on explosives and another one tentatively on an introduction to control systems security. The agenda and registration info will be released this spring. Check back with DHS then and I will also try to provide the latest info here.

Plans are under way for the DHS 2011 Chemical Sector Security Summit. The event will be held in Baltimore on July 6th & 7th, and is sponsored by the Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council. The Summit provides a forum for education and sharing of ideas about chemical security. It’s the place to hear about the latest changes, regulations and effective solutions. Obviously a big part of the discussion includes CFATS and MTSA.

This will be the fifth annual Summit. Last year we saw a real bump in attendance. It was great to see so much interest in the topic and I think most everyone found it useful. I know that I did. Janet Napolitano, who heads up DHS, was one of the featured speakers and discussed the necessary partnership between the public and private sectors to protect our critical infrastructure.

According to DHS here are some of the topics scheduled for the Summit in 2011:

• Chemical Security Regulations Update
• All-hazards approach for safety, security & resilience
• Cybersecurity
• Industry best practices

Another important thing about these events is that people involved in chemical facility security get the chance to meet and interact with DHS officials. That can go a long way to help understand the CFATS process and how to maneuver through it. I would also imagine that there will be some clarification this time on pending issues and a lot of discussion about how to remain compliant.

DHS also has scheduled a demonstration the day before the Summit on July 5th and two workshops on July 8th. DHS is not publicizing what it will be demonstrating yet, but the workshops will be on explosives and another one tentatively on an introduction to control systems security. The agenda and registration info will be released this spring. Check back with DHS then and I will also try to provide the latest info here.

Plans are under way for the DHS 2011 Chemical Sector Security Summit. The event will be held in Baltimore on July 6th & 7th, and is sponsored by the Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council. The Summit provides a forum for education and sharing of ideas about chemical security. It’s the place to hear about the latest changes, regulations and effective solutions. Obviously a big part of the discussion includes CFATS and MTSA.

This will be the fifth annual Summit. Last year we saw a real bump in attendance. It was great to see so much interest in the topic and I think most everyone found it useful. I know that I did. Janet Napolitano, who heads up DHS, was one of the featured speakers and discussed the necessary partnership between the public and private sectors to protect our critical infrastructure.

According to DHS here are some of the topics scheduled for the Summit in 2011:

• Chemical Security Regulations Update
• All-hazards approach for safety, security & resilience
• Cybersecurity
• Industry best practices

Another important thing about these events is that people involved in chemical facility security get the chance to meet and interact with DHS officials. That can go a long way to help understand the CFATS process and how to maneuver through it. I would also imagine that there will be some clarification this time on pending issues and a lot of discussion about how to remain compliant.

DHS also has scheduled a demonstration the day before the Summit on July 5th and two workshops on July 8th. DHS is not publicizing what it will be demonstrating yet, but the workshops will be on explosives and another one tentatively on an introduction to control systems security. The agenda and registration info will be released this spring. Check back with DHS then and I will also try to provide the latest info here.

Ryan Loughin, Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions
Advanced Integration division of ADT

RyanLoughin is Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions for the Advanced Integration division of ADT-http://www.adtbusiness.com/petrochem. He provides security education to CFATS and MTSA-affected companies and is amember of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Associates (SOCMA), Energy Security Council (ESC) and American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). Loughin has also completed multiple levels of CVI Authorized User training (Chemical- Terrorism Vulnerability Information) which was authored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The original article is found at chemicalprocessing.com and submitted on Thursday 12-16-2010.

Foundations: Should I Bolt, Weld, or Leave Unanchored? A practical analysis & explanation.

Following is a common sense analysis of the choices which plants have in regard to the issue of whether to anchor or design their blast/explosion resistant modules/complexes to slide.

At MBI we design & manufacture according to the requirements of the client. Some clients want the building to move in the event of an incident; some clients want the unit bolted-then the bolts will break in the event of an incident and the building will slide a few inches or less. Some clients want the building welded to the foundation for a secure hold. No answer is necessarily preferred, while all the solutions are correct—in accordance with the client’s specs and needs.

Anchored or Free to Slide Design?

Many blast-resistant modular buildings are designed to be permanent installations with their anchorage and foundations designed to resist the total anticipated blast loads. This design approach can result in quite large foundations.

However, in the case of modular blast-resistant steel buildings, some owners have taken the approach that the foundations and anchorages need only be designed for normal design loads (loads other than blast). In this case, the building’s anchorages are permitted to ‘break’ during a blast event (they act as anchorage ‘fuses’), but are designed to remain intact under other design loads. Alternatively, the building can be designed to be completely unanchored (free to slide) for both blast and other loading effects, subject to the local building official’s anchorage requirements for gravity, wind and earthquake loading. Whether a building should be anchored for blast, anchored for other loads (but not for blast) or completely unanchored (and free to slide), depends on the anticipated use of the building, whether or not potential down time is acceptable following a blast event, the amount of flexibility in the utility connections (power, water, wastewater, gas) and, most importantly, the owner’s tolerance to risk. Owners should make this decision on many factors, including risk, safety, cost, magnitude and probability of blast.

If the building is unanchored (free to slide) for blast loading, or only anchored for conventional loads with a structural anchorage fuse, the maximum sliding displacement, velocity, and acceleration of the building can be estimated using impulse-momentum first principles, simplified numerical integration methods or finite element analysis. The contents and personnel within the building should be assessed for these actions. In this case, the structural movement may result in impact/damage to attached utilities and building contents, as well as the possibility of injury to personnel, due to interaction with the structure, fixed equipment and internal moving objects (typically unrestrained and falling objects). In such interactions, the critical components of motion can be local accelerations, velocities and displacements that govern local forces and energies of impact, including the propensity to topple over and fall. Permanent fixtures and equipment should be designed to withstand the calculated local building motions as a result of blast loads. Anchorage and restraint techniques for nonstructural items have long been used for earthquake design (FEMA 412, FEMA 413, FEMA 414, SMACNA 1998). Attached utilities should also be designed to accommodate expected movements or fail in a safe manner.

As previously stated, the decision as to whether or not these displacements, velocities and accelerations are acceptable to an owner depends on the anticipated use of the building, whether or not potential down time is acceptable following an event, flexibility in the utility connections and, most importantly, the owner’s tolerance to risk. Since the building will act as an external pressure barrier, the design of internals need only consider the effects of movement. Definitive assessment criteria for interactions with personnel are not available, but criteria do exist (Baker 1983). Additional criteria for projectile impact (such as falling objects) are also available (TNO 1992). Note that architectural and nonstructural components may become debris hazards. TM 5-1300 provides some guidance on tolerance of mechanical and electrical equipment as well as personnel. For sensitive and critical equipment that must function during and after the event, verification by shock testing with the induced motions consistent with expected structural motions may be needed.

For modular buildings that are free to slide, the calculated permissible sliding displacement sometimes has been limited to 12 in. (300 mm), a generally accepted practice. The amount of displacement is very much an owner decision and is specific to the building being designed. In all cases, buildings that are not anchored for blast must have a high margin against overturning and the propensity to uplift should be calculated. In the case of significant uplift, application of pressure to the underside of the building should be considered, as this further adds to the overturning moment and magnitude of uplift.

Pat Lashley, PE, MBA –Vice President of Engineering
MBI

Making it Through the CFATS SSP Inspection

As I mentioned, there were two CFATS sessions at the big industrial security conference in Dallas. The second session was called “CFATS – Beyond the SSP” and took a look at SSP and post SSP issues for chemical facilities. The speakers mainly focused on implementing the SSP and getting through the authorization inspection.

Attorney Evan Wolff of the firm Hunton & Williams spoke about some of the legal considerations involved in CFATS. He reminded everyone in the room that his advice and thoughts should not be construed as legal counsel. One of his first pieces of advice for each chemical facility is to have a corporate policy in place for physical and cyber security. That policy needs to clearly define leadership and management roles so that everyone knows who is responsible for each part of the policy and so that there are no gaps.

Since there are many other regulations affecting plants and facilities Wolff reminded the presentation attendees to review the impact of all of the other regulations and standards including OSHA, NFPA and any state or local regulations. It is important to make sure that your facility remains compliant in all areas even when making changes and adjustments for CFATS mandates. He encourages the development of compliance mechanism, so that procedures are in place for each standard or regulation.

Another thing Wolff recommends is for each chemical facility to develop a consistent way to manage chemicals and inventories. This is very important because it provides documentation and is essential for keeping in compliance over the long run. Standardized and documented procedures will make any subsequent DHS inspections that much easier to pass.

For your DHS inspection Wolff recommends the following:

• Remember that DHS has broad inspection authority under the law and can come into your facility with limited notice. That means you can’t let your guard down. You have to have your procedures in place and ready to past muster at all times.
• Prior to the inspection, review all CFATS documents and conduct a dress rehearsal. Be ready not to just talk about your procedures, but to show how those processes work on a day-to-day basis.
• During the inspection keep notes as you go along with the inspector. These will be very useful and allow you to quickly go back and make any necessary changes or adjustments.
• Don’t speculate during the inspection. If you don’t know the answer just say “I don’t know.” Speculating can get you in trouble. Being up front about what you know and don’t know is the only way to go.
• Request copies of all materials generated during the inspection process. Ask for copies of any photos or videos that have been taken.
• Consider sending a follow up letter to DHS after the inspection. Reiterate your understanding of the inspection result and request any clarification in writing.

It is some good, sound advice from someone who has been through the process with a number of clients. It’s important to tap into the CFATS knowledge base that is out there and get quality advice from experienced professionals who know CFATS and have an understanding of it.

Ryan Loughin, Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions
Advanced Integration division of ADT

RyanLoughin is Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions for the Advanced Integration division of ADT-http://www.adtbusiness.com/petrochem. He provides security education to CFATS and MTSA-affected companies and is amember of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Associates (SOCMA), Energy Security Council (ESC) and American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). Loughin has also completed multiple levels of CVI Authorized User training (Chemical- Terrorism Vulnerability Information) which was authored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The original article is found at chemicalprocessing.com and submitted on Wednesday 11-03-2010.

Another CFATS Update from DHS

I was recently at the largest security tradeshow in the county. It’s the American Society of Industrial Security, also known as ASIS. The show is held every year in September or October — this year in Dallas. The educational conference program covers a wide variety of security topics and two of the sessions were devoted to CFATS and chemical security. Sue Armstrong, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Infrastructure Security Compliance Division, spoke at the first session.

Armstrong gave an update of the CFATS program and as you would suspect she concentrated on the Security Site Plan (SSP) process, since most facilities are now working on that part of the mandate. CFATS has just turned four years old and Armstrong’s presentation made it clear that DHS has learned some lessons along the way. She emphasized the department’s willingness to work with facilities and businesses toward compliance and the importance of preauthorization inspections.

Armstrong did point out that many facilities submitted an initial SSP that did not go into the needed detail for DHS to approve. Apparently some companies were reluctant to put too much information into the plans at first, and DHS had to go back and work with those facilities to get the information they needed to determine compliance. That’s something we have discussed before regarding SSPs — facilities have to list all assets and go into detail on procedures and processes, so that DHS can determine if they provide an adequate level of security.

As of Oct. 4, Armstrong said, DHS had received 3,669 site plans and has reviewed more than 220 of those with three SSP authorizations. As of Oct. 1, the department has also done 119 preauthorization inspections where they’ve gone in to work with facilities on compliance issues prior to final review. Armstrong said that facilities should expect an on-site inspection to take a week.

The Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) has issued two sets of administrative orders to facilities that have failed to submit their SSPs within 120 days of receiving final tier notification — an indication that DHS means business and wants facilities to keep moving forward through the process. Orders were issued to 18 facilities in June and another 21 in August. At this point all 39 facilities have submitted an SSP.

Armstrong also said that DHS is placing more inspectors in the field. The department has filled 173 of 268 staff positions. Of those 92 are field inspectors there to help with preauthorization inspections. She emphasized once again that putting together an SSP takes a team. It cannot be handed off to one person in the facility. It needs to include compliance, human resources, security and legal team members.

Ryan Loughin, Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions
Advanced Integration division of ADT

RyanLoughin is Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions for the Advanced Integration division of ADT-http://www.adtbusiness.com/petrochem. He provides security education to CFATS and MTSA-affected companies and is amember of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Associates (SOCMA), Energy Security Council (ESC) and American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). Loughin has also completed multiple levels of CVI Authorized User training (Chemical- Terrorism Vulnerability Information) which was authored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The original article is found at chemicalprocessing.com and submitted on Wednesday 10-20-2010.

Understanding Classified Areas

Protective buildings located in hazardous areas must be designed to meet all ranges of area electrical classifications.  Hazardous areas and locations are separated by class, division and group by NFPA 70: National Electric Code. These area locations are defined by the amount and type of various gases, vapors and other risk materials.

NFPA 70 recognizes three classes:

            Class I – flammable gases and vapors
            Class II  combustible dusts
            Class III – easily ignitable fibers

In determining division, NFPA 70 recognizes two categories:

Division I - a location that is likely to have flammable liquid-produced vapors or  combustible gases present under normal conditions
Division 2 - a location that is likely to have flammable liquid- produced vapors or combustible gases that can escape under abnormal conditions or in a case of accidental breakdown.

NFPA 70 also recognizes 5 major material groups that are determined by their flammability characteristics:

Group A- (ex. acetylene)
Group B- (ex. hydrogen)
Group C- (ex. ethylene)
Group D- (ex. propane, gasoline)
Group E-G- (ex. combustible dusts)

(For further information on flammable liquids and gases reference NFPA 497: Recommended Practice for the Classification of Flammable Liquids, Gases, or Vapors and of Hazardous (Classified) Locations for Electrical Installations in Chemical Process Areas.)

Once the class, division and group has been identified there are number of NFPA-approved methods of providing protection techniques to meet the hazard.   Methods to mitigate hazards include options ranging from providing classified electrical fixtures, to providing a pressurized building meeting NFPA 496, Standard for Purged and Pressurized Enclosures for Electrical Equipment.  Depending on the owner’s safety policies, buildings may be equipped with gas detection sensors that activate alarms, shut down HVAC units and/or switch off the building’s electrical power.

For more specifics on MBI’s methods of addressing classified areas please contact us at +1 337-334-1900 and speak to one of our engineering specialists.

George Mayeux, Electrical Design Specialist
MBI

DHS Knowledge Center has 411 on CFATS

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should go to the new CFATS Knowledge Center. Although it has been on the Web since the beginning of July it was just announced at the Chemical Sector Security Summit and it is live on the DHS site. It has a number of excellent features including articles, FAQs and the latest news. It also has a great user interface with buttons for info on registration, Top Screens, SVAs, SSPs, etc. The bottom half of the Center’s Homepage is devoted to documents, help and downloads.

DHS said that The Center brings together information and resources that before were located on multiple pages. It also allows for full-text search which helps users to find information more quickly. You can access information in multiple ways – either by type (for example — all FAQs) or by topic (for example – Site Security Plan).

I like the new format. It is clean and easy to navigate. I also believe the search feature is an excellent add. It can really help to track down everything you need to know. It is clear DHS is trying to get more information to everyone in the best way it can. If you have been looking around, you know that there is not a whole of information out there on CFATS and DHS recognizes that it needs to help everyone navigate what is definitely new territory.

Ryan Loughin, Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions
Advanced Integration division of ADT

RyanLoughin is Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions for the Advanced Integration division of ADT-http://www.adtbusiness.com/petrochem. He provides security education to CFATS and MTSA-affected companies and is amember of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Associates (SOCMA), Energy Security Council (ESC) and American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). Loughin has also completed multiple levels of CVI Authorized User training (Chemical- Terrorism Vulnerability Information) which was authored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The original article is found at chemicalprocessing.com and submitted on Wednesday 8-11-2010.

MBI Shreveport Online

MBI announces the commencement of operations at our Shreveport facility.  Bringing this 750,000 sq. ft. facility to operational status provides MBI with capacity and capabilities that are unmatched in our industry.  An array of equipment and machinery, such as large overhead cranes, material processing equipment, rail spurs and indoor paint and blast areas will also provide increased efficiencies throughout the manufacturing and finishing processes.

This additional capacity provides MBI with the ability to meet end of the year capital budget deadlines customers may have, by offering accelerated production on all standard BlastPlex products.

At a recent ceremony celebrating commencement of operations, representatives from the Port of Shreveport commission, parish government, and the LA state Economic Development Division, as well as a number of MBI employees, enjoyed a Louisiana style catfish fry and facility tour.

Also in attendance was Congressman John Fleming.  In his address, he promoted the importance of bringing manufacturing jobs to the state of Louisiana and to the US and recognized the economic contribution that MBI’s facility will make to the Shreveport area.

Shawn Istre, Marketing Director
MBI