classic | mobile
 

Search...

SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide

Technews Industry Guide - IIoT 2018

Technews Industry Guide - Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation

 

Fire protection for the paper mill
May 2012, IS & Ex


Paper is combustible, and, while solid blocks of paper may not ignite easily, once they have caught fire flames can spread rapidly and in most cases are extremely difficult to extinguish. The likes of paper and board, loose paper and shrink-wrap material can all ignite and start a fire.

Every year, fires occur in the paper and board industry, some are small and others are devastating: people are injured (on occasion fatally) and there is damage to buildings, equipment and materials. Thus, it is necessary to ensure that operations have the necessary detection, suppression and protection in place to handle fire risks.

Evaluating the risks

In paper mills the various sources of ignition cannot be completely eliminated. Some of these sources include static discharges, hot surfaces (steam pipes or infrared dryers), electrical sources (overloaded conductors), sparks (hand tools), frictional heating (hot bearings), naked flames (welding equipment or gas-fired plant). For optimum fire protection these ignition sources need to be controlled.

In most instances fire and the risk of fire arise from the likes of poorly maintained equipment, faulty or misused electrical devices, welding, poor storage of packaging materials and poor storage or handling of flammable liquids and gases. Once a fire breaks out it will spread rapidly if there is an accumulation of waste material, poor housekeeping, unsegregated storage of materials, excessive stocks of paper in the production areas, un-banded and end-stacked reels of paper, a lack of fire separation between floors or rooms and/or inadequate and inappropriate fire detection and extinguishing equipment.

Good housekeeping

The first item for any operation is to cultivate a culture of good housekeeping. The United Kingdom HSE’s Guidance on fire risks compiled by the Paper and Board Industry Advisory Committee recommends the following:

* Trim and/or waste should automatically be removed wherever possible.

* A cleaning programme needs to be implemented. Cleaning should be frequent enough to prevent any build-up of broke, dust or other waste and paper making machines need to be cleaned regularly. Office and storage areas also need to be included in the cleaning.

* Clearing away broke etc. from the paper machine should be standard procedure as part of planned shutdowns.

* Particular attention should be paid to those areas where broke paper, dust or trim is produced, as this is easily ignited. Dust will accumulate on ledges and beams and this should be regularly removed with vacuum equipment.

* Pay attention to housekeeping in other areas such as engineers’ stores, where packaging material needs to be promptly and safely removed.

Each individual mill needs to conduct a risk analysis to determine the best fire protection, detection and suppression equipment to use. Alien Systems & Technologies is able to conduct this analysis and also offers a range of products suitable for the risks identified. Generally, possible fire hazards include storage facilities and materials, paper dust, fires in machine hoods, starch, hydrogen sulphide, charging of electrically operated lift trucks, flammable liquids and electricity.

Precautionary measures

The entire operation needs to be fitted with conventional fire protection systems such as sounders, bells, manual call points as well as smoke and heat detectors. Detectors are extremely important as early warning systems allow for the quick detection of fire and immediate suppression which leads to minimal damage, downtime and possible injuries.

Hot bearings on conveyor belts are also a potential source of ignition. A product such as the PyroScan3 is specifically designed for the protection of areas where a movement of materials with a fire potential is a routine occurrence or the transport mechanism is susceptible to fire. It employs enhanced infrared monitoring technology that enables the detection of both small glowing embers within direct sight of the sensor and black body low energy sources buried within the transported material that would not be registered by other types of flame, spark or ember detector. By the use of both optical filtering and electronic analysis of the various parameters the system is blind to visible light from the sun or local luminaires, whilst being able to detect relatively low temperature material moving through the field of view.

The advantages of cloud chamber technology

A new development in fire detection is the Cirrus Pro range which works particularly well in paper mill applications as it is not sensitive to dust. Certain problems arise when utilising laser based aspirating fire detection systems as they analyse air samples for smoke particles. Smoke and dust particles are similar in size so a filter system needs to be used to differentiate between the two. If this is not maintained false alarms are triggered. The Cirrus Pro is an aspirating fire detector that uses cloud chamber technology to detect a fire in its true incipient stage before smoke even begins to be emitted.

The incipient stage of a fire is when an object begins to overheat but there is not smoke yet, just invisible combustion particles. These particles are drawn into the pipe network which channels them into a cloud chamber. Here, the tiny invisible particles are exposed to humidity, which causes them to form visible water droplets and collectively creates a cloud. Optical components detect the cloud and trigger an alarm. The particles are far smaller than dust so the system is able to differentiate between them and ensure a more accurate detection process.

Gas flooding

Gas flooding fire extinguishing systems can be used to protect computer suites, data stores and the like from fire. A product such as the Pyroshield fire extinguishing system is environmentally friendly and poses no risk to people. The system can be actuated by detection and control equipment for automatic system operation and also equipped with remote manual actuation as required. A system such as Pyroshield is particularly useful for extinguishing fires in hazards where an electrically non-conductive medium is essential or desirable; where clean-up of other agents presents a problem; or where the hazard is normally occupied and requires a non-toxic agent.

In a paper mill application there are a variety of other precautions that can be utilised, but as mentioned before, it is best for an individual risk analysis to be done. Despite a decline in injuries by fires in paper mills in recent years, there are still a number of fires which have occurred throughout the world and caused considerable financial loss. The potential for multiple fatalities remains. Potential fire risks need to be managed and assessed. In any industry the aim needs to be to stop a fire starting and if one occurs, prevent it from spreading and ensure personnel can escape safely. As per the United Kingdom’s HSE’s guide it is important to ensure the quantity of flammables is kept to a minimum, flammable material is handled safely, sources of ignition are excluded and good housekeeping standards are maintained.

For more information contact Samantha Wright, Alien Systems & Technologies, +27 (0)11 949 1157, sam@astafrica.com, www.astafrica.com


Credit(s)
Supplied By: Alien Systems & Technologies
Tel: +27 11 949 1157
Fax: 086 718 3430
Email: grant@astafrica.com
www: www.astafrica.com
Share via email     Share via LinkedIn   Print this page

Further reading:

  • PyroStorm provides cost-effective fire protection for control equipment
    December 2018, Alien Systems & Technologies, 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, ...
  • Compact safety light curtains for tight spaces
    December 2018, RET Automation Controls, IS & Ex
    The new SLC4 is Banner’s most compact safety light curtain to date. It has a low-profile design and a sensing area that extends the entire length of its 160 mm housing. This Type 4 safety light curtain ...
  • Wise choices to decrease fire risk and improve safety
    November 2018, Spero Sensors & Instrumentation, IS & Ex
    Fire safety at the workplace is a topic that is easily neglected and many businesses do not devote enough attention to it. The topic quickly becomes top of mind when people lose their lives, or when a building or substantial part of an industrial plant is destroyed by fire.
  • Network-based process visualisation
    November 2018, Pepperl+Fuchs, IS & Ex
    IT technologies such as PC and server virtualisation are establishing themselves in larger plants in the process industry to reduce the growing number of PC hardware components, while at the same time increasing flexibility and availability.
  • PC-based control for the process industry
    November 2018, Beckhoff Automation, IS & Ex
    Beckhoff Automation adds Ex protection to extend its reach in hazardous areas.
  • Don’t forget to test your fire protection systems before the holiday shutdown
    November 2018, Alien Systems & Technologies, IS & Ex
    As the year draws to a close, it is natural that people start looking forward to the holidays. It is therefore quite easy to neglect to consider the damaging effect a fire could have on businesses during ...
  • Advanced light curtain improves safety
    November 2018, Rockwell Automation, IS & Ex
    The rise of robots has ushered in an increased demand for light curtains that provide a safe environment between the robotic work cells and the rest of the plant. The Allen-Bradley GuardShield 450L safety ...
  • AST’s automated fire extinguishing systems
    October 2018, Alien Systems & Technologies, System Integration & Control Systems Design
    Restoring protection after a fire is an integral part of the service.
  • Pyrogen system ideal for fire protection in cabinet systems
    September 2018, Alien Systems & Technologies, Electrical Power & Protection
    Method of operation Pyrogen is the ideal choice for in-cabinet systems. It is essentially a non-pressurised canister that contains a potent fire extinguishing compound that consists primarily of potassium. ...
  • How to choose an industrial safety controller
    September 2018, RET Automation Controls, IS & Ex
    The following are five key features to look for in a safety controller that will save time and money, as well as help ensure that operators are using the safety system correctly. As with any safety application, ...
  • Controllers simplify machines and improve safety
    September 2018, Rockwell Automation, IS & Ex
    The Allen-Bradley GuardLogix 5580 and Compact GuardLogix 5380 controllers from Rockwell Automation can be scaled from safety system levels SIL 2/PLd to SIL 3/PLe. This scalability can help engineers optimise ...
  • Extech brings i.safe Mobile to sub-Saharan market-
    September 2018, Extech Safety Systems, IS & Ex
    Extech Safety Systems has partnered with GoRugged to distribute i.safe Mobile products in sub-Saharan Africa. The IS520.1 is an industrial smartphone with current technology for use in Zone 1/21. It combines ...

 
 
         
Contact:
Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Other
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual





 

         
    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.