IS & Ex


PyroStorm provides cost-effective fire protection for control equipment

December 2018 IS & Ex

If you work at a large industrial plant or mine, you may have noticed those hydraulic lubricating oil packs, or perhaps the diesel generator sets, oil store rooms, pump rooms or flammable liquids stores, and transformers. And in particular on mines, you may have noticed the winding gear. These areas are all potential sources of fire that if not controlled can result in major incidents occurring, even serious injury or death. These areas are where hydrocarbon fires can occur, which ignite quickly and spread rapidly.

If not checked immediately, damage can translate into millions of Rands. The common thought behind tackling such applications is to use a water-based approach. This usually means piping and pumping extinguishing water from a large tank, leading to significant cost due to civil works, pipe fabrication, transportation costs, design fees, labour, testing, commissioning and the like. Some other approaches include costly water mist systems, but all require an electronic based automatic fire detection system.

PyroStorm – the low cost alternative option

Alien Systems & Technologies (AST) offers a low cost, autonomous alternative option. PyroStorm is a range of impulse dry powder, modular type fire suppression units designed for industrial type applications. These non-pressurised units can be configured to virtually any application. They are light weight, easy to install and transport, and no pipework is required. In normal applications they are also maintenance free for 10 years. The cost-effective PyroStorm units are hermetically sealed thus preventing contamination by dust or by water of the Furex ABC extinguishing powder contained in the unit.

When the module is activated during a fire situation, a chemical reaction occurs within the PyroStorm module creating a positive pressure. The discharge diaphragm then expands and ruptures, expelling the extinguishing powder at a rate of up to 35 m/s. This occurs in less than half of a second from the initial activation. Large volumes of powder are then discharged into the protected area in less than a second – putting out the fire rapidly and effectively.

Dry powder from the PyroStorm module attacks the fire in a combination of two extinguishing methods. Chemically, by the removal of the fire propagating ‘chain carriers’, and physically, via four processes:

1. The removal of heat via endothermic processes of powder particle heat absorption, particle evaporation and decomposition.

2. Dilution of the flame zone with the powder cloud and its subsequent decomposition products.

3. The creation of physical barriers in the fire zone.

4. The creation of a ‘fire blanket’ on the surface of the burning materials, which then smothers the fire.

Units can be used as stand-alone or configured into a system using the voltage free heat activation devices (HADs), which provide reliable electrical activation via temperature sensing without the need for batteries or electrical supplies. HADs will detect an increase in temperature i.e. a fire, and automatically, at a pre-set temperature, activate the PyroStorm units. Furthermore, these devices can be used to signal a fire panel as well as provide an additional output designed to shut down the electrical equipment or activate a separate alarm.

AST also offers a variant of the HAD unit known as a manual activation device (MAD), which can be placed at emergency exits and other strategic points.

PyroStorm systems are a preferred solution currently used by many mining houses in South Africa, and also across the rest of Africa, in both surface and underground applications. Due to the low maintenance requirements, a rugged design and minimal independence from an electrical power or water supply, PyroStorm offers a simple and cost-effective solution when it comes to protecting industrial control equipment.

All systems are engineered by AST’s in-house design team and fabricated to ensure maximum effect. They can also be implemented as part of a more complex fire protection system should that be required.



Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Tube connector for Ex areas
May 2020, Parker Hannifin - Sales Company South Africa , IS & Ex
Parker Hannifin has extended its Phastite permanent instrumentation connection range, which is now available in a number of corrosion-resistant alloys (CRAs), including Alloy 825, 625 and Super Duplex, ...

Read more...
How to calculate an intrinsically safe loop approval - updated and revised
March 2021, Extech Safety Systems , IS & Ex
We all know what can happen when the correct techniques are not used when interfacing into a hazardous area.

Read more...
Robust safety light curtains
April 2021, Turck Banner , IS & Ex
Ez-Screen LS light curtains are intuitive, easy-to-use safety devices designed by Turck Banner for machine safeguarding.

Read more...
Delivering modern SIS for wellhead applications
April 2021, Emerson Automation Solutions , IS & Ex
Keeping the safety and non-safety functions separate while achieving seamless integration.

Read more...
Enterprise mobility for hazardous areas
March 2021, Pepperl+Fuchs , IS & Ex
Enterprises can easily select and manage Android devices and services with the new Android Enterprise Recommended devices – verified by Google.

Read more...
Intrinsically safe robot for tank inspection
March 2021, RS Components SA , IS & Ex
Electrocomponents collaborates with industry specialists to develop revolutionary new method of inspecting petrochemical storage tanks.

Read more...
Illuminated E-stops with diagnostics
March 2021, Turck Banner , IS & Ex
In-Series Diagnostics runs through up to 32 devices on a single 4-pin cable to the control panel, with only two wires running to the controller and two others for power.

Read more...
New Rockwell Automation safety devices
March 2021, Rockwell Automation , IS & Ex
Manufacturers can harness the power of data to improve their safety compliance and performance using two new smart safety devices.

Read more...
Protecting hazardous areas from corrosion
April 2021, Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists , IS & Ex
Omniflex has gained IECEx certification to manufacture intrinsically safe electrical equipment for the global market, supplementing its existing hazardous area equipment approvals.

Read more...
Functional safety with switches
February 2021, WIKA Instruments , IS & Ex
WIKA switches have been issued SIL approval due to their proven operational reliability.

Read more...