Accident Example 3

Consultancy and Engineering of Infrared Monitoring Systems for the Chemical Plant Industry


picture taken by Rainer Sobottka with approval from plant user

Accident Development and Avoiding: Example 3 POX Reactor

There was a brand new gasification plant under commissioning some years ago. The refractory was installed, all other requirements of commissioning a POX plant were done. The plant has successfully started up, however a few days and weeks later it turned out that the refractory got damaged, surprisingly short time after commissioning the plant.

The new cable system to measure the vessel skin temperature (fibre optic) was not giving enough reliable information. The shut down of the POX reactor proved the damage of the reactor refractory.

It was good decision to shut down the plant. No accident happened.

Newx few weeks and months a new refractory was installed and the plant started up and went into successful production.

However, the plant started up without a new Skin temperature system. The plant owner contacted the engineering engineers for help and the inquiry came to me. I advised to only install an infrared camera system, not any others. I also prove during that time, that the manufacturer of the existing cable system did not supply a system as per required design data, means the cable system must go into temperature drift already at low skin temperatures. The world famous vendor of that system withdraw from market after that.

I was called to site, I called a manufacturer of an infrared camera system also to site. Together we worked out the requirement, consulted the plant owner and their specialists and after a few months the new infrared camera monitoring system was installed for the gasifier. The systems is that reliable and simple that the plant owner himself did the installation. Since then the plant owner is very happy till date, did not contact me anymore for any help. I called them from time to time and he is really happy with the system, no other comment, no engineering, no doubt, just reliable controls and monitoring systems: “… just proper safety systems and management systems.

Conclusion to avoid accident:

- thanks to the wise and experienced operators and the management the plant was shut down, did not keep on production till end of limits

- the plant user did not install and/or update a cable system due to doubts during commissioning and previous operations

- the plant user asked for consulting and a proper system was chosen, finally for benefit of plant and production.


I have issued reports about the design problem of the cables system(s),  I have issued reports about the comparison of cable system to infrared system, costs of engineering to operation are listed there, technical benefits and advantages are listed also into details. When it comes to reliability there is only one only technology available: Infrared Camera System.



cable system

pictures taken by Rainer Sobottka with approval from plant user


infrared image with hot spot alarm