1,3-Butadiene, more simply known as “butadiene,” is a foundational ingredient in synthetic rubbers and elastomers that are integral components in many consumer goods, from vehicle tires to shag carpeting. Based on its basic definition – “a colorless, non-corrosive gas with a mild aromatic odor” – it would appear that it is a relatively benign substance. The truth is a bit more complicated.
Butadiene is critical to industry, and its careful handling and containment are critical as well. It is listed as a potential occupational carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that, when in vapor form, can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, drowsiness and lightheadedness. When exposed to skin in its liquid form, butadiene can cause burns. Regardless of its form, butadiene is also flammable.
Recognizing that butadiene is both a substance that should be handled with care and an indispensable link in the global manufacturing supply chain, OPW, through its OPW Engineered Systems product brand, has developed a full range of solutions that are specifically designed to meet and overcome the challenges that are inherent in butadiene handling. Among the most critical of these components are Dry Disconnect Couplings that protect against the accidental escape or spillage of hazardous liquids during the conclusion of the liquid-transfer process.
To illustrate its commitment to safe butadiene transfer, OPW Engineered Systems has developed a number of ways to communicate how its Dry Disconnect Couplings are improving the safety of butadiene-handling processes:
- White Paper: This work highlights a four-model portfolio of dry disconnects that can help optimize a butadiene-handling operation, no matter how unique the operation’s needs: Drylok®, Kamvalok®, Epsilon™ and Twist-Lok™ dry disconnects. All can be deployed in a “closed-loop” liquid-transfer system in which there is virtually no chance that any product will remain in the coupler as it is disconnected. This greatly reduces the exposure risk, resulting in a safer butadiene-transfer process. The closed-loop system is preferred, especially when handling hazardous materials, to an “open-loop” system that does not possess the ability to ensure a leak-free connection has been made or to prevent residual product from remaining in the coupling connection when the transfer hose is disconnected.
- Success Story: One of the biggest butadiene manufacturers in the United States, with facilities spread along the industrial corridor between the Houston (TX) Ship Channel and Gulf of Mexico, was concerned that its butadiene-handling operations appeared to not be as safe as expected. Specifically, an audit of its butadiene-safety program found that some butadiene particulate was remaining in the couplers after hose disconnection. For a solution to this troubling occurrence, the manufacturer turned to the Drylok Dry Disconnect Coupler from OPW. Since the installation of the Drylok couplers, the butadiene manufacturer has seen significant improvement in butadiene emission reduction, operational time savings and ergonomic benefits, with an overall optimization of the safety of its butadiene-loading and unloading operations.
Visit opwglobal.com to see how OPW Engineered Systems is “Defining What’s Next” in the design, engineering and operation of Dry Disconnect Couplings for the safe handling of butadiene while protecting people, the environment and enhancing business performance.