Burner Management & Combustion Safety Services

Burners of various sizes and fuel types are an integral part to most utility, commercial, and industrial plants. Burners are used to generate steam in a boiler, remove moisture from food products, cure coatings on products, and even help reduce the amount of hazardous substances that enter our environment. However, it is important that these burners and their controls not be overlooked when assessing the risks associated with the operation of a facility. Burners and their operation are considered to be an old and well-understood process, and, thus, the hazards that they present may sometimes be overlooked as facilities focus on other areas and equipment.

Our projects include a variety of consulting services, such as:

  • Safety Critical System Design Reviews
  • Evaluation and Support for Functional Testing
  • Boiler and Combustion Systems Safety
  • Combustion Controls
  • Third-Party Review
  • Process Hazard Analysis
  • Incident Investigation 

Exponent’s electrical engineers work  and thermal science consultants assist burner owners and operators of boilers, ovens, furnaces, oxidizers, and dryers in identifying and mitigating operating risks. Exponent leverages its experience in analyzing numerous failures to provide unique and advanced services relating to industrial and commercial combustion equipment and systems. This experience includes analyses of equipment failures, human-machine-process interactions, control system design, and root causes. We utilize a multi-disciplinary team to address the various aspects and issues related to system design, installation, control, startup, operation, and maintenance. Our goal is to assist our clients as they navigate safety requirements, reliability, and operating costs.

We have helped owners and operators mitigate their operating risks by reviewing their designs, control systems and logic, testing, procedures, and operating philosophies. We have participated in our clients’ design reviews, factory acceptance testing, pre-startup check outs, functional testing, hazard analyses, and documentation processes. We have assisted clients identify problems early in the design stages. Our findings have included missing safety interlocks, procedures and operations not in accordance with applicable standards, inappropriate operating philosophies, inappropriate equipment selection, incorrect equipment installation, inconsistencies in design documentation, and insufficient hazard analysis.

Our typical projects include a variety of services and can range in scope. We have performed design reviews of safety critical systems such as Burner Management Systems (BMSs) and Combustion Control Systems (CCSs). We have evaluated process narratives, functional specifications, operating and maintenance procedures, training, control systems and logic. We have provided support for functional testing, including documentation of instrumentation and control element loop-checking processes, observation and documentation of functional testing, and onsite reviews of equipment and functional testing.

In performing our work, we evaluate industry best practices, available guidance documents, and applicable standards. Where guidance is not available or not directly applicable, we offer Process Hazard Analysis (PHA). For PHAs, we offer Hazard and Operability (HAZOP), What If?, and Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA) facilitation to help our clients navigate their unique circumstances and operating characteristics.