A business was evacuated in emergency fashion after a boiler exploded, blowing a hole in the side of the building. The company was a developer of paper products and employer many people. Fortunately, the explosion was relatively contained to an area away from the busy workers. More than thirty people were in the building, but no one was hurt.
Two exterior walls were damaged, and officials were concerned that the structural damage could cause a partial collapse of the building. Once it was confirmed stable, inventory was taken of the interior. The company was very fortunate that none of the expensive and necessary machinery was damaged in the blow.
Though the cause of the explosion was not reported, it is clear that the internal pressure of the boiler had exceeded what the design was capable of withstanding. The reports indicated that the issue was unforeseen, but there is a possibility that it could have been prevented.
Without taking a closer look at the details of the situation, it appears that the safety functions of the boiler malfunctioned. They would have otherwise prevented the conditions that led to the explosion. This was certainly a case of catastrophic failure, and that is exactly what those safety devices are meant to prevent. For instance, the pressure released valves installed in such systems are designed to relieve the internal pressure of the boiler when it exceeds a certain level. Obviously this did not happen, or the pressure was not relieved quickly enough. Another line of defense is the pressure sensor, which is meant to communicate with the firing controls, which should have put a stop to the heating, for the creation of hot water or steam.
SRP Controls Systems provide a myriad of pressure transmitters that can be used in the system to control firing rates and prevent this type of accident.