How AkzoNobel and DEKRA work together to achieve safe and reliable paint factories

Paint manufacturer AkzoNobel has been colouring the world for more than three centuries. The Dutch producer makes paint worldwide for both consumers and professional painters, along with coatings for ships, planes, cars and furniture. Safety is a core value: the goal is zero process safety incidents. AkzoNobel works alongside DEKRA to achieve this. DEKRA study leaders conduct safety studies across a large number of AkzoNobel’s paint factories. Vincent van Eekhout and John Mul explain why they like to engage DEKRA for these studies.

“Everything has to stay within the equipment,” explains John in describing the paint production process. “If chemicals escape the equipment, we run the risk of fire, explosions, personal accidents or environmental damage, and of course we want to prevent that. We conduct a safety study in all our plants every five years in our efforts to achieve zero process safety incidents. There are several levels to such studies. First we draw up an inventory of the chemicals being used. Then the safety risks are identified, followed by a Hazard and Operability study which describes the consequences of incidents that may occur, and makes recommendations on how to mitigate the risks.”

Global deployment

“Because we want to be at the forefront of safe and reliable factories as a paint company, we like working with companies at the forefront of performing safety studies,” continues Vincent. “That’s why we work a lot with DEKRA. We launched a process safety journey with them two years ago. One of the aims was to improve the quality of safety studies, and we chose DEKRA because we can use them internationally. We have a contact person who is familiar with local legislation in each of our regions. DEKRA also has high-quality study leaders.”

Laboratory tests and simulations

“We are really satisfied with our collaboration with DEKRA,” adds John. “DEKRA dares to reflect our organisation. For example, in one of our European factories a study leader observed several safety scenarios that had not been identified, and that’s unacceptable to us. So we halted production there until we could resolve the safety risks. Another advantage of the collaboration with DEKRA is that they can simulate situations and test components in their laboratories. For example, can a reactor handle the maximum pressure?”

Forward together in the future

“We hope that DEKRA will continue as our strategic safety partner in the future,” Vincent concludes. “Right now DEKRA is working on some thirty safety studies with us, and we get to know each other better by working together increasingly. That’s the foundation for growth for both of us.”
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