Mobile units ensure flexible fire protection at oil refineries

8th September 2017 By: Robyn Wilkinson - Features Reporter

Mobile units ensure flexible fire protection at oil refineries

SAFETY MADE EASY DoseTech has seen eager demand from South African oil refineries for its mobile fire-protection equipment

Fire protection equipment supplier DoseTech commissioned a second firefighting trailer-mounted (FTM) unit for a South Africa-based crude oil storage depot last month, providing a highly portable and flexible solution to complement the depot’s existing large-scale foam and water cannon system.

Since DoseTech’s introduction of FTM units last year, DoseTech MD Mike Feldon says the company has seen eager demand from South African oil refineries for the mobile fire-protection equipment.

The equipment can be designed with very large capacities to facilitate a flexible and rapid response to fires without the expense of implementing fixed installations across a refinery complex. The trailers are custom- designed to customer requirements and can be fitted for foam and water applications, he highlights.

“Safety is a major concern in any industrial operation when it comes to personnel and capital equipment. Owing to the volatility of the substances involved in oil refining processes, refineries must adhere to stringent safety standards and process design criteria. DoseTech’s FTM units provide an economically viable solution that ensures that they can manage any fire incidents quickly and effectively.”

In September last year, Engineering News reported that DoseTech had successfully supplied the first FTM unit to the South African market for the fire protection of fuel tanks at a crude oil storage depot. The unit, which requires no external power source, can deliver between 5 000 ℓ/min and 22 000 ℓ/min of fire-suppressing foam and water up to 120 m away.

The design comprises a foam and water monitor, or cannon, combined with a foam-dosing proportioner unit to ensure that a precise proportion of suppression foam to water is maintained, regardless of the volume flow rate selected on the adjustable flow setting. This enables the operator to adjust the unit according to the severity of the fire while ensuring a constant foam-water flow.

While the first unit featured a cannon system for deploying water and foam, Feldon highlights that the second unit – which can deliver 20 000 ℓ/min of extinguishing fluid with a 3% foam concentration – is made even more flexible by a foam and water premix manifold for lay flat hoses.

Lay flat hoses offer many advantages over more inflexible types of hoses or pipes in terms of transport and storage volumes, as well as handling, ensuring that the foam and water can be quickly and easily directed to any area of a refinery complex. The distance that can be covered by the flow is limited only by the available water pressure from hydrants, the number of hoses connected and the length of the hoses.

The FTM units are manufactured by German fire-safety product manufacturer FireDos and supported and serviced by DoseTech, with the latter having partnered with an established international manufacturer to ensure that the design, manufacture, fabrication and assembly of the units meet international standards, with factory acceptance performance testing and approval undertaken with comprehensive documentation, explains Feldon.

“There are no shortcuts or quality compromises taken with anything we supply, as we understand the serious nature of our industry and strive for quality and reliability.”

The FireDos unit is constructed from high-quality polytetrafluoro-ethylene-coated metal components and materials, and all pressurised cast parts are designed for a test pressure of 64 bar. The units meet European and international fire-safety standards and also comply with requirements set out by third-party testing and certification organisation FM Approvals, independent German fire protection and safety organisation Vertrauen durch Sicherheit, and European Union directive ATEX95, which outlines requirements for equipment and protective systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

Final documentation detailing the units’ compliance with international standards is handed over to the customer when the unit is completed and this includes complete data books, drawings, approval certificates and final acceptance certificates.

DoseTech operates throughout the Southern African Development Community region and Feldon highlights that the units can be built according to customer and application requirements, taking into account the location, type and layout of the refinery or storage facility.