Monitors - Expert Commentary

Fire Protection For Paper And Pulp Plants
Fire Protection For Paper And Pulp Plants

There is a sense in some markets that the paper and pulp industry will decline owing to the digital technologies with which people interact every day. While this might be considered logical, the reality is completely different. In fact, the paper and pulp industry has experienced a steady growth and will continue to do so in 2021. Production of paper increased by more than 450% in the last decades and the demand of paperboard in the world is expected to grow significantly, driven by e-commerce and big retailers increasing their presence in the online sales universe. This sustained growth in production capacity and paper consumption presents several fire risks to companies and exposes communities that develop around paper mills, to the impact of disasters caused by these fire risks. Fire risks in the paper and pulp industry Paper and cardboard are combustible, but this is not the only fire risk found in these types of industries. Raw materials and finished goods storage are sensitive to fire. In addition, the paper making process includes several stages where fires can occur, due to hot surfaces or poor ventilation. The most relevant fire risks on a paper plant are: Storage Areas: As mentioned before, paper and cardboard are combustible. Solid paper blocks and reels have hard surfaces that don’t ignite easily, but usually these reels can suffer minor damages or have loose sheets that significantly increase the fire risk. When paper reels are stacked in columns, gaps in the center can act as chimneys and when fires start in the bottom of the stack, this chimney effect will accelerate smoke and hot air spread, increasing vertical and horizontal flame spread. Wood and Bale storage fire risks Bale storage also presents a high fire risk, as loose materials are always present Raw materials for the paper making process can have two main sources, forestry products (mainly wood) or recycled cardboard and paper. Wood storage presents several challenges, especially due to wood chips that are highly combustible and, in some cases, even explosive. Bale storage also presents a high fire risk, as loose materials are always present. Fire in baled paper is difficult to extinguish and generates heavy smoke. In many recycling facilities, these paper bales are stored outdoors, where paper or rags soaked in flammable liquids, embedded between the paper sheets, can ignite resulting in a fast spreading fire. Chemicals, flammable liquids and gases In addition, it is possible to find different types of chemicals, flammable liquids and gases that are used in the paper making process. These materials have their own fire-related risks that need to be taken in consideration. Production Areas: In pulp factories, there are several long-distance conveyors that transport wood and wood chips. These conveyors constitute a fire risk and the most probable causes of fire are bearing damage, overheating of the conveyor and igniting chips in the environment. IR dryers, a common source of fire After the wood has been transported, chipped and digested, the paper making process becomes extremely humid, due to the large amounts of hot water and steam needed. But, as soon as the pulp fiber sheet starts to dry, the hot surfaces in contact with the paper sheets can be a source of ignition. IR dryers used in the process are also a common source of fire in the paper industry. When the sheet of paper is formed, close contact with reels and bearings moving fast can create static electricity that could ignite loose paper or airborne particles. Problems like these are likely to be more extensive in tissue mills. Paper dust is generated in certain parts of the process, especially where paper shits are slit or cut. Poorly insulated steam pipes lead to fire Poorly insulated steam pipes can ignite paper dust or even their own insulation materials. In addition, paper dust gathers in the ventilation grills of machinery, causing overheating and igniting as well. Heated oil is used in several parts of the process as well and if a malfunction occurs on the Hot Oil Roll systems, leaks might occur, exposing hot surfaces to this oil and causing ignitions. A paper mill has hydraulically operated machinery, where leaks or sprays might ignite as well. Service Areas: As in many other manufacturing facilities, several service areas can be found. Electrical and network equipment rooms have an inherent fire risk due to damaged wires or equipment, overheating or short circuits in high voltage circuits. Transformer and generator areas entail fire risks as well. High fire risk for boiler rooms Flammable gas distribution systems can be ignition sources, in case of leaks or damaged pipes or valves Hot water and steam are key components for the paper making process. For this reason, paper plants use high capacity boilers that can be powered by flammable liquids or gases. A high fire risk can be considered for boiler rooms. Flammable gas distribution systems can be ignition sources, in case of leaks or damaged pipes or valves. In addition to the fire risks mentioned in these areas, many maintenance operations can also pose fire risk, especially when hot works are being performed. Sparks caused by welding or the use of certain tools can ignite paper sheets or dust in the air. Poor housekeeping and buildup of paper dust, for example, increases the risk associated with maintenance and construction works. Prevention, the first line of defense According to the Health and Safety Executive from the United Kingdom, 60% of fires on paper mills are caused by machine faults and poor housekeeping. The first line of defense to avoid fire risks in paper plants is prevention. As mentioned before, a high number of fires in these types of facilities occur because of poor housekeeping and machine malfunction. The key is to identify the risks and possible ignition sources, and apply measures to minimize them. As in many industries, fire protection has two main components: Passive and Active protection. Passive fire protection measures Passive measures include fire rated walls, ceilings, and floors in the most critical areas. Chemical storage areas should be physically separated from other dangerous areas, if this is not possible then the walls separating areas should be fire rated and materials must be stored in a way that minimizes the risk of fire spread by radiation or conduction. Proper compartmentalization and intumescent protection of structural elements should be part of the package as well. Passive measures include proper ventilation and smoke control. As mentioned before, paper dust is a major fire risk, which is why ventilation and cleaning of hoods over the paper machine is important to minimize the possibility of ignition. Fire resisting construction should be designed with the following goals in mind: Protection of escape routes Form compartments to contain fires that might occur Separate areas of higher fire risk Protect load bearing and structural members to minimize risk of collapse Sprinkler systems, gas extinguishing systems and hose reels Active fire protection includes sprinkler systems, gas extinguishing systems and hose reels to support fire brigades Active fire protection includes sprinkler systems, gas extinguishing systems and hose reels to support fire brigades. Finished goods stored indoors should be protected with sprinkler systems and the same should be considered for chemical storage areas and certain raw materials. Paper bales, ideally should be protected by sprinklers that are suitably designed to cope with the height and located, in all cases, 3 meters above the level of bales stacked vertically (which should not exceed 5 meters height). Spark detectors in hoods, pipes and ventilation systems Dangerous sparks could be generated in several parts of the paper making process, which is why spark detectors must be installed in hoods, pipes, and ventilation systems. Water spray and CO2 systems can be used to protect machinery against these risks. Means to fight fires, like extinguishers and hose reels, should be provided to support fire brigades. All the elements should be properly identified and all personnel should be trained and made aware of the location of such devices. Importance of fire alarms Fire alarms are required in all paper mills and fire alarm call points should be provided in all locations, according to international guidelines, such as NFPA 72 or EN54. The spread of flames and smoke in paper, wood and chemical storage might become extremely fast. For this reason, early detection is critical. Many technologies might be applied in the different areas of a paper plant. Nevertheless, there are dusty or humid areas where regular heat or smoke detectors might fail under certain circumstances. For these areas, especially located outdoors, innovative state-of-the-art detection solutions might be applied, like Video Fire Detection (VFD). NFPA 72 standard for flame and smoke detection NFPA 72 provides guidelines to implement this technology for flame and smoke detection NFPA 72 provides guidelines to implement this technology for flame and smoke detection, opening interesting alternatives for designers and fire protection engineers. Many EHS managers and fire protection professionals selected VFD, because it is the only fire detection solution that effectively covered their needs. Many engineers, specialized in fire protection for paper plants, explained that they tested linear heat detection, aspiration smoke detection, IR/UV detectors and even beams, but none of these technologies performed as they needed on the dirtiest or more humid areas. Video Fire Detection (VFD) solutions Outdoor storage areas are often unprotected, because deploying flame or heat detection in large open areas can be costly and mostly ineffective. VFD solutions can detect smoke and flames in outdoor conditions, allowing the monitoring and protection of wood and paper bales in large areas. Fire detection and alarm systems should be designed with the following goals: Minimize risk of fires, including the use of fire detection technology in areas where regular detection technologies cannot be implemented or are not practical. Minimize risk of flame and smoke spread, with state-of-the-art detection algorithms that guarantee fast and effective detection. Also, reliable algorithms minimize the possibility of nuance or unwanted alarms. In case of a fire, fast detection gives occupants life-saving time to reach to a place of safety, before the flames and smoke have spread to dangerous levels. Global production of paper and pulp reached 490 million tons in 2020, with many industries and markets depended on the paper and pulp supply chain. That is why innovative ways to protect this supply chain, are key to sustain the paper market growth in the future.

Mobile Firefighting Systems Provide Flexible Fire Protection For Major Facilities
Mobile Firefighting Systems Provide Flexible Fire Protection For Major Facilities

Within traditional commercial and industrial firefighting systems, engineers have primarily focused on permanent installation designs rather than entertaining alternative or supplemental mobile firefighting systems. Permanent installation design is typically better understood, supported, and supplied throughout the fire protection engineering and manufacturing community. However, mobile firefighting systems provide unique solutions and advantages compared to their permanent installation cousins such as flexible deployment, simpler servicing, improved economy, and much higher performance availability. The combination of both systems is frequently the most strategic solution for the facility operator. Limitations of fixed installation systems Permanent installation (fixed) systems include everything from sprinklers, foam systems, primary watermain pumps, and the plethora of piping in between. A large refinery complex will need to address various hazard mitigation and control problems that span both hardware and personnel needs. In the event standard hazard mitigation safety procedures and equipment have failed, the facility immediately initiates a hazard control operation. Passive fixed systems automatically engage the hazard through an array of sensors, mechanical triggers, and control algorithms. A properly designed system with adequate hazard coverage, preplanning, preventative maintenance, and testing will successfully terminate the hazard, while firefighting personnel respond and ensure no further hazards develop. This conceptual approach relies on hardware and personnel all operating as planned…. Combining permanent and mobile apparatus “According to plan” would never have any failures or fires, but history has a different script. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard putting the entire response on human and mobile hardware resources. This would include but is not limited to firetrucks, mobile high-flow pumping systems, large mobile monitors, foam proportioning units, and large diameter layflat hose. This type of response escalates into a larger scale operation, sometimes involving agencies beyond the facility operator itself. Although a low probability event, the risk to life and property is significantly substantial. Fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage Reducing fire-related expenditureMore typical than the worst-case scenario, facilities experience both maintenance-related system downtimes and natural phenomena damage such as extreme weather and seismic events. In this case, fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage. In any of these situations, mobile fire apparatus may fill the gap requirements of the facility as their flexible storage and deployment would protect them from everything but the worst natural disasters. Their further benefit is that a smaller set of mobile apparatus resources may be used to protect a larger amount of infrastructure, especially while in use in a mutual-aid program between facilities and communities. According to the NFPA’s report “Total Cost of Fire in the United States”, fire-related damages and expenditures from 1980 to 2014 have risen from roughly $200B (adjusted for inflation to 2014) to nearly $330B. The greatest expenditure is in fire safety costs in building construction, amounting to $57.4B. Although the overall losses per year as a ratio to protection expenditures has dropped by roughly 70% over the past 30 years, petrochemical facility losses have continued to rise over the same time. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard  Petrochemical facility challenges According to the NFPA, refineries or natural gas plants had reported an average of 228 fires or explosions per year through the 1990s. Furthering this data with Marsh’s “100 Largest Losses, 25th edition”, refinery losses have continually expanded throughout the last two decades with 11 of the top 20 largest losses of the past 40 years happening during or after the year 2000. Two primary drivers of this trend are the advanced age of petrochemical facilities and their staggering complexity. As oil margins fall, upstream operational businesses are detrimentally affected by reduced investment in everything to new equipment, maintenance and passive safety systems. There is an observable correlation between a major oil price drop followed by upstream facility fire losses. Even with reduced investment and oil throughput growth rates, US refinery utilisation at the end 2017 was at 96.7%, the highest since 2005 (Marsh, The Impact of the Price of Oil). The short story is that systems and personnel are being asked to do more with less with each passing year. Cost-effective mobile apparatus systems  Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardised designs and application methodology. They can access open water sources by either drafting (when in close proximity to the water) or using floating source pumps (for variable level or difficult access water sources). Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardized designs and application methodology With this open water access, they can provide significantly more water (upwards of 10,000 GPM or more per system if necessary) than any typical fixed fire pumping solution. Moreover, as their primary benefit, they are easy to move and deploy. This benefit allows them to be utilised at the point of hazard as needed while being easily accessible for service. While fixed systems are installed at “every known” hazard and must be continually maintained to operate effectively, mobile systems may be used sitewide or across facilities. This flexibility reduces overall capital expenditure requirements and establishes a valuable primary and secondary firefighting system depending on the hazard and facility resources. Combining fixed and mobile systems Permanent installation fire suppression systems are a mainstay of modern day firefighting. They provide immediate passive response with little human intervention. However, as facility utilisation is pushed to maximum capacity while fixed systems continually age out without adequate replacement or maintenance, mobile systems will need to both fill the response gap and provide a final wall to total loss incidents. The reality is that both fixed and mobile systems need to work together to provide the safest possible operation. Service and training requirements need to also be maintained to manage an adequate, or even better, exemplary response to hazard control incidents. Managing major facility uptime requires continuous oversight and to drive hazard mitigation standards throughout the organisation, including executive management. A safe, reliable and fully-functional plant is also a profitable and cost-effective plant much like a healthy worker is a better worker. Protect your people and property and you will protecting your company’s future.

Latest Hochiki Europe (UK) Ltd news

Argus Spectrum International And Hochiki Europe Present Ekho, The Solution For COVID-Hospitals
Argus Spectrum International And Hochiki Europe Present Ekho, The Solution For COVID-Hospitals

Argus Spectrum International, a foremost manufacturer of wireless fire detection technology, and Hochiki Europe, a renowned life safety manufacturer are pleased to announce their partnership and the launch of the ‘Ekho’ hybrid wireless fire detection and alarm system for COVID-hospitals. Ekho is a wireless-based family of products that can be seamlessly and fully integrated into Hochiki’s ESP protocol. Ekho is the next generation of hybrid wireless fire detection and outperforms competitive systems in a number of ways. Ekho is a highly practical solution for medical facilities, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Ekho provides a simple design and commissioning process, minimizing installation time, and reducing the number of visits to the project site. Advanced Technical Specifications Self-configuring mesh network: Automatically adapting to changing operating conditions: all devices automatically choose a parent expander depending on the quality of connection. Using the latest in radio networking technology, the Ekho hybrid wireless system provides a robust ‘always on’ network of devices which can automatically adapt to changing environmental conditions – offering installers an unparalleled level of reliability.   Communication range – 1200 meters in open air Capacity: Up to 126 wireless expanders and devices per Translator module (with a maximum of 10 Translators per loop, dependent on local standards) Battery life: Up to 10 years Wide range of devices: Wireless sensor types, as well as I/O units, a sounder, a sensor/voice-sounder/VAD, and a manual call point Compliance with EN54 And RED Ekho system is the first wireless fire detection system to receive the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) The Ekho product range is certified to European EN54 standards by BRE Global and accredited with the LPCB mark. BRE Global certification confirms the highest levels of performance and reliability for Ekho wireless products! In record time – 1 year only - 13 Ekho products received approval to the mandatory standards required in the European fire detection sector.  Moreover, the Ekho system is one of the first wireless fire detection systems to receive the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) certification.  Solution for the healthcare  Ekho’s sophisticated and versatile hybrid wireless technology provides a cost-effective and reliable fire detection solution to a range of challenging applications and problem sites.  1. Fast and easy design configuration  Once you have conducted a site survey, you can design a hybrid wireless system from the comfort of your desk, without having to revisit the site. All you need is access to the floor plans and your laptop running the free Ekho Configurator software. All of the wireless devices can be easily activated and paired with the translators before installation, saving time on site. This is due to the self-configuring nature of the Ekho system’s mesh network of expanders.  2. Installation: 1,000 sq.m in 1 day by 2 workers!  An Ekho hybrid wireless system requires minimal electrical skill or the installation of fire-resistant cables. Two unskilled workers can install a system covering 1000 sq.m in just one day.  Reliability, Flexibility, & Performance When minimum time on site (hospitals) or minimum disruption (care homes) are key factors for the project, Ekho is the best solution. This statement is confirmed by 17 new hospitals built by the Russian Government in the fight against COVID-19 in 60 days. More than 40,000 wireless devices of Ekho system technology were installed and commissioned in the new medical centers with a total area of 200 thousand sq.m. Ekho takes hybrid wireless fire detection to new levels of reliability, flexibility, and performance. Ekho technology is proven in over 150,000 projects worldwide. Thanks to the close collaboration with the Hochiki team and Argus Spectrum International we are very proud to bring a new fire detection product to the global market. 

Advanced Provides An Intelligent Fire Detection System For Revlon’s Headquarters
Advanced Provides An Intelligent Fire Detection System For Revlon’s Headquarters

An intelligent fire detection system from UK manufacturer, Advanced, has been installed at the South African head office of cosmetics manufacturer, Revlon. Situated in South Africa’s Gauteng province, Revlon’s headquarters comprises of an administration building, warehousing facility, and manufacturing plant. With area usage varying across this large-scale site, the end-user required that there be immediate identification of the location of any alarm activations An intelligent fire detection system that uses each device’s unique address to automatically identify the location of the alarm condition was therefore specified. Fire detection system Advanced’s long-term partner, Technoswitch, supplied the equipment to Brakpan-based fire detection and suppression installers, JMN Projects, who were appointed to design and install the fire detection system. Advanced products are our first choice whenever we need to specify a fire detection system" Brett Birch, General Manager at Technoswitch, said: “Advanced products are our first choice whenever we need to specify a fire detection system, so obviously we did so again when asked to propose a system for Revlon’s head office. Advanced panels are exceptionally well made, and they offer an unrivaled reliability record. They’re also simple to program and configure, plus the aftersales support is excellent.” Cost-Effective solution The 1-loop MxPro 5 fire panel from Advanced was installed alongside eight Fire Beam reflective optical beam detectors, 32 Apollo optical detectors, eight Discovery manual call points, and 10 Apollo sounder beacons. Technoswitch’s 27.5V DC boxed power supplies were customized for the specific site requirements, providing battery backup for the optical beam detectors. With the communication of any emergency notifications on the fire detection network needing to be relayed to the responsible staff on-site, the end-user also required a GS-22 SMS Communicator to be integrated with the fire system. The Communicator provides a cost-effective solution to transmitting emergency signals from the fire panel’s fire and fault relays to a mobile device – with instant notification of any issues being sent in seconds across this large-scale site. Multiprotocol fire system Steve Carroll, General Manager for the Middle East at Advanced, said: “Where production and commercial activity run side-by-side, Advanced’s ease of installation and configuration make tailoring specific protection to individual buildings, areas or floors, effortless. The robust and proven technology of Advanced fire systems give our customers peace of mind that their staff and property are well protected, so they can concentrate on running their business.” MxPro 5 panels are backward compatible with existing MxPro 4 networks The MxPro 5 is the unbeatable multiprotocol fire system. Approved to EN54-2, 4, and 13, it offers four protocols, Apollo, Argus, Hochiki, and Nittan, and a completely open installer network that benefits from free training and technical support. Panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed networks of up to 200-panels covering huge areas. MxPro 5 panels are backward compatible with existing MxPro 4 networks and include a host of features including AlarmCalm for complete false alarm management and reduction. Intelligent fire systems Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 Company Halma PLC, protects a wide range of prestigious and high-profile sites across the globe – from London’s Shard to Abu Dhabi International Airport and Egypt’s Cairo Tower. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality, and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging, false alarm management, and reduction solutions as well as emergency lighting.

Advanced Secures Leuchie House In East Lothian With Their Wireless Fire Detection System
Advanced Secures Leuchie House In East Lothian With Their Wireless Fire Detection System

The fire alarm control equipment from UK manufacturer, Advanced, has been installed at the core of a wireless fire detection system protecting Leuchie House in East Lothian on the Scottish Borders. As part of an upgrade to the existing radio fire system at the classical Georgian mansion house in North Berwick which operates as a respite center for people with multiple sclerosis, an Advanced 4-loop MxPro 5 fire panel has been installed alongside the latest EMS wireless FireCell equipment. Fire detection systems The MxPro 5 was selected to protect the five-storey, 18th century building and its residents, thanks to its compatibility with EMS FireCell XP detection – one of the most advanced cable-free fire detection systems available on the market. Responsible for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the fire system at Leuchie House is Galashiels-based Safe Services, who required a solution capable of delivering seamless protection whilst keeping disruption to the fabric of the building at a minimum. As a listed building, retaining a radio fire system was agreed to be the most suitable form of protection to safeguard the features of this period property. Installing cabling would have been intrusive to the décor and difficult and costly to achieve in the more inaccessible areas of the site. Multiprotocol fire system The MxPro 5 fire panel was the obvious choice for installation at the core of this wireless fire detection system Graeme Millar, Fire Systems Technical Engineer at Safe Services, said: “Having worked with Advanced products for many years, we were confident that we could rely on its solutions to perform as required. Now that Advanced supports EMS wireless FireCell detection, the MxPro 5 fire panel was the obvious choice for installation at the core of this wireless fire detection system, effortlessly ensuring protection across all five levels of the building.” The MxPro 5 is the unbeatable multiprotocol fire system. Approved to EN54-2, 4 and 13, it offers four protocols, Apollo, Argus, Hochiki and Nittan and a completely open installer network that benefits from free training and technical support. Panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed networks of up to 200-panels covering huge areas. Protecting historic buildings MxPro 5 panels are backwards compatible with existing MxPro 4 networks and include a host of features including AlarmCalm for complete false alarm management and reduction. Neil Parkin, Sales Manager for the North, said: “Advanced offers a wide range of solutions to help our customers overcome the common problems encountered when protecting historic buildings.” The fire protection now in place at Leuchie House makes great use of the versatility Advanced offers" “The fire protection now in place at Leuchie House makes great use of the versatility Advanced offers – minimizing aesthetic impact, supporting a diverse range of detection options and supporting the fast and safe evacuation of buildings.” Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 company Halma PLC, protects a wide range of prestigious and high-profile sites across the globe – from London’s Shard to Abu Dhabi International Airport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Intelligent fire systems Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management and reduction systems.

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