PITTSBURGH - A fiber-optic system developed by Bayer Corp. and Boatman Industries allows Bayer personnel to more quickly and safely inspect all returning tank railroad cars used to ship polyurethane for cleanliness, product returns and damage. The system, at Bayer's Baytown, Texas, plant, has reduced tank car inspection time 85 percent. Technicians now inspect tank cars by lowering a fiber-optic cable and miniature video system through the ball valves rather than unbolting the doors and unsealing the pressurized cars.
Because the tank can be checked without depressurization, time is saved and the risk that the returned product will be contaminated by moisture in the air is reduced, said Gene Bialowas, manager of shipping and materials for Bayer's Baytown plant. The system also has nearly eliminated the possibility of exposing workers to the cars' contents.
The company inspects more than 2,500 tank railroad cars annually, according to Tom Harrick, senior vice president for polyurethanes at Bayer's Polymers Division.
``With the new system, we can improve our tracking of heel returns and better ensure customers that their rail car will not be contaminated by any old product left in the car from a previous customer,'' he said.
A patent is pending on the system.
The company plans to install a similar system at Bayer's New Martinsville, W.Va., plant. Bayer is based in Pittsburgh. Boatman, an equipment-developing firm based in Houston, also is involved in the West Virginia project.
Quantum unveils plan for ethylene pipeling
CINCINNATI - Quantum Chemical Corp. of Cincinnati plans to build an ethylene pipeline between plants in Clinton, Iowa, and Morris, Ill.
Quantum Pipeline Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Quantum, and Seagull Products Pipeline Corp. will build and operate the pipeline. Construction is expected to begin this spring.
The 114-mile pipeline will consist of 60-foot-long steel sections and will have a nominal wall thickness of 0.203 inches and an outside diameter of about 61/2 inches.
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