15 Oct Saving people, assets & infrastructure from fire
In heavy industry, there are continual issues owners and operators face in ensuring consistent plant safety. Some of the key challenges presented to the staff are prevention and control, fire and explosion and corrosion in pipework and structures. Carl Hunter BA (Dunelm) Hons, CEO & Managing Director of Coltraco considers some of these challenges and solutions available.
Fires & explosions
Traditionally ranked among the most devastating industrial disasters, mine fires and explosions pose a constant threat to the safety of miners and to the productive capacity of mines. The prevention and control of fire and explosion in mines is fundamental. On a mine site, fire hazards may occur in and around process plants, underground conveyors, static and mobile plants, draglines, workshops, substations, monitored control rooms and switch rooms.
All mines have highly expensive and mission critical equipment that typically operate day and night under extremely hostile conditions, in vast, remote and difficult to access environments, especially on underground equipment.
Gaseous fire suppression systems are the preferred systems installed to protect the high value asset and safeguard operators and processes so as to guarantee business continuity. These systems are pressurised, and therefore exist in a dynamic state i.e. they can leak. As supported by the BS EN ISO 14520 regulation, if clean agent cylinders leak beyond 5% of contents or 10% of pressure they will not extinguish a fire, as they will be below their design concentration.
As the “golden standard” of clean agent systems, BS EN ISO 14520 highlights the asset owner’s responsibility to check that the clean agents contents exist; that the protected space can be sealed; that the pipework used to discharge the clean agents are clear of particulates that can clog up the nozzles which reduces the amount of clean agent to the point where it cannot operate in the event of a fire.
Coltraco’s Portalevel® Max is an example of the technologically advanced techniques leading the way in safe and sustainable coal sourcing. This handheld ultrasonic liquid level indicator to inspect CO2, clean agents and more liquefied gaseous agents, by one person in just 30 seconds
Corrosion in metal work
Corrosion in power plants leads to costly repairs, prolonged maintenance, material losses, poor performance and, if left untreated, failure. In power plants, corrosion is the primary factor leading to costly and critical downtimes.
The water-steam circuits in fossil and nuclear power plants are inherently prone to corrosion, as metal components are constantly in contact with water. When corrosion affects systems carrying steam or hot water—such as pipes—material or welds may fail, causing bodily injury or death. Water, steel and dissolved oxygen within boiler units causes boiler tubes to oxidise and corrode. The corrosion forms grooves within the tubes that lead to cracks and boiler failures. Corrosion can account for up to 75 percent of a plant’s arrest time during maintenance and up to 54 percent of production costs.
To protect against the threat of corrosion, Coltraco offer their Portagauge® for testing normal structure and stainless steel, to monitor corrosion rates.
The Portagauge® 3 allows accuracy of ±0.1mm even on corroded, challenging and some plastic surfaces, measuring thickness ranges between 1.5mm to 99.9mm and a variety of verified testing materials such as steel, quartz and glass PVC.
The versatile, handheld unit is ideal for a wide range of industrial applications such as fire cylinders, bulk heads, pipework, chemical equipment and oil storage tanks.