The process plant is usually designed to be safe. However there will always be residual risks. According to most international standards, safety implementation is organized under a series of protection layers, which includes plant design, safety shutdown systems, Behavioral safety, alarm systems, mechanical protection systems, and automated systems. The Fire & Gas (F&G System) detection system can be seen as an extra layer of protection used in industries to detect and mitigate fire hazards alongside other protection layers.
Due to advancement in technology, F&G detection systems can now provide early warnings of impending danger in process areas, including combustible and toxic gas releases, thermal radiation and minute traces of smoke, within the plant. Using adequate technologies, operators can also carry out mitigation actions to prevent escalation of the incident and protects the process and environment. Great efforts are made not only to detect combustible and toxic gases but also to ensure that equipment is safe for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.
Seeing that having an F&G system in place is very necessary to fully protect lives and assets in your plant, the importance of installing a very good fire and gas detection system cannot be overemphasized. Industrial plants need effective solutions to process safety practices. Below are some issues you need to consider in order to make the right choice in selecting a fire and gas detection system for your process plants.
First of all, before technology choices can be made, a risk analyses has to be undertaken. The resulting risk analyses and mitigation reports can be used to establish the integrity requirements for the fire and gas system and these analyses should be reviewed regularly. Some of the issues to consider are as follows:
- What codes, standards or regulations would you be adhering to? Some of the recommended ones include but are not limited to the NFPA 72, IEC61508, IEC61511, ISA S84 and so on. It will be best to find out which codes apply to your country or your locality so that you can incorporate them into your safety procedures.
- What are the chances of a fire or gas release in your process plants? This can be known after you have done your risk analyses and it would assist in establishing and applying the IEC61508/IEC61511 ‘SIL levels’ (Safety Integrity Levels) to fire and gas systems and products, and to detection, actions and annunciation of fire hazards.
- Speed of detection response (not forgetting that speed of response can be a trade off against unwanted alarms. Unwanted alarms can cause plant shut-down, which is costly and itself increases risk). The use of smart fire detection systems can help in eliminating or minimizing occurrence of false alarms as they are able to not only detect but analyze hazardous situations.
- Considerations for offshore systems – they must be self-contained; i.e. must have no need for service from onshore as the fire brigade can’t be called out and there is nowhere to run to. Systems that can detect and also take actions against hazards should be installed such as the FM-200, water sprinkler system, and deluge systems etc.
- Consider the level of integration (if any) the system is to have with other plant systems, and the operator Interface. Is it to be standalone, partially integrated or fully integrated? As more plant owners move toward “smart plants”, appropriate integration with other systems will play an important role in increasing safety as well as efficiency.
- Consider what information is needed by the operator and what is needed by maintenance personnel. Are there other users? In some cases of major equipment failure, startups, and shutdowns, the operator had to search alarm displays and analyze which alarms are significant. This wastes valuable time when the operator needs to make important operating decisions and take swift action.
- Carry out an alarm handling study, including alarm discrimination to avoid flooding an operator during a time of crisis.
- Where will the equipment be located? Is it indoors, outdoors, will there be rain, fog, or pollutants obscuring the detector or causing it to false alarm? Is there anything in the detection area that will reduce its effectiveness? Will sunlight, background heat or vibrations have an impact on its performance?
- What level of detail is required from the detector? Intelligent use of diagnostic information can be used to determine why unwanted alarms happen and enable predictive maintenance, again reducing plant exposure.
- How will detectors be tested? Which tests need to be performed manually? Which tests can be carried out automatically? What frequency of testing is needed? Choosing equipment that needs to be tested less often can mean shorter test periods and longer test intervals and predictable test intervals reduces staff presence, thus lowering exposure to risk to the staff on the process plant.
For today’s manufacturers, the safety of their plants, personnel, production processes and the environment is critical to achieving on time delivery and minimizing potential losses. Plants must meet their safety needs while ensuring operational and business efficiency. Faced with this reality, they are seeking the lowest risk, and highest value protection, from their safety system and F&G technology.
GIL Automations provides critical fire and gas detection engineered solutions to industrial clients. We also supply and calibrate fixed and portable fire and gas detection systems.
From Emergency Shutdown systems to triple redundant systems, we provide solutions that protect our clients most critical assets. Our 24/7 operational refill facility, well equipped laboratory, license design and analysis software make us and efficient one stop firm for all your safety needs.
Finding the best solution to suit every client’s needs is the key to completing a successful F&G installation. When faced with delicate situations, one must remain flexible and adaptable. The only way to do that is to remain receptive and listen to what our end user wants.
Our core competence in fire and Gas detection systems includes: Fire and Gas System Design, Detectors Layout Plan, System Selection Ensuring to Meet All Industry Standards, Field Devices Selection, Associated Software Selection, Panel Layout Design, Design Documentation, System Procurement, System Development& Testing, Onsite Installation, Training and Support.
We also provide fire suppression Systems which ensures that fire is eliminated safely and without damage to lives and equipment, some examples are the CO2 Suppression System, Clean Agent Fire Suppression System, Foam Based System, Dry Chemical Based System, and Water Based/Sprinkler System. We operate a fire suppression system gas refill plant for Co2 and HFC 227ea systems.