15 June 2009
Challenges aflame in fire and gas integration
The process industry definitely has its challenges when it comes to integrated fire and gas solutions. First of all, if only a small fire occurs, it could mean disaster for an industrial plant.
And then there are more and more standards—local and international—coming onto the scene. Some are international fire codes, and some are regulations for fire systems. But what the industry needs is results to maintain the system, so integration is key.
Honeywell’s Shui Gen Xu of global marketing and Gijs-Jan Peek, principal sales consultant, gave an overview of just how important fire and safety integration is on Monday at the Honeywell Users Group in Phoenix.
“Many industrial plants have been running for 20-30 years, and their fire and gas systems are old, so they need to be upgraded,” Xu said. They are originally built with separate pieces, and we need to integrate all the pieces together.”
A typical industrial plant includes the process area, process buildings, control room and administrative buildings, and off sites. And all of them need fire and gas detection and control alarms in these areas. “If we look at process areas, especially oil and gas and petrochemical, we need to detect fire or gas in the process area or utility areas,” Xu said. The process buildings are usually hybrid areas, where there is a need to detect the potential for gas hazards or flame detection, but mostly fire alarm detection for smoke or heat. Even administration buildings, where people work, need fire alarm systems.
Xu reviewed some of the Honeywell products that could help integrate these together, such as gas detectors manual call points, Experion HMI, sound beacons, F&G mimic panels, camera systems, fire alarm panels, fire detectors, and fire and gas systems.
In fact, one newly released fire and gas product is the XNX gas detector, a universal transmitter, which has universal interfaces and can output different signals, such as 4-20 mA as well as HART-based signals and Modbus output. “It’s a transmitter that’s a universal gas detector transmitter. So it can connect with most Honeywell detectors. And you can use it with all HA sensing technologies (catalytic bead, electrochemical and infrared),” Xu said.
Since quite a few facilities from a retrofit perspective have numerous units out there from many different suppliers or vendors, it is good to have the ability to universalize your entire facility with one transmitter. Instead of training your technicians with five different units; you can use one transmitter for all of them, said one presentation attendee.
“The benefit of our Safety Manager as a fire and gas logic solver is it’s approved according to various norms by reputable bodies,” Xu said. Fire and gas I/O modules and FTAs are part of the basic Safety Manager architecture, there is remote I/O, standardized function blocks for ease of programming, testing, and maintenance during plant life time, with optimal support of field devices diagnostics. And it supports a wide variety of sensors according to the Honeywell multivendor interface program.
One case study testifies to the benefits of integrated fire and gas solutions at a large new refinery project. The grass roots refinery had primary refining power of more than 600,000 barrels per day. The fire and gas system should detect a fire or gas release and automatically initiate audible and visual alarms in the respective designated emergency response areas, central control room, and in the vicinity of the hazard. With 32 instrumentation rooms, the refinery needed some kind of addressable fire alarm system.
All have a fire alarm panel, and they work with a central control room and emergency response center. “We also have CCTV camera systems in different product areas,” Peek said. “All these components are integrated together to become integrated fire and gas solutions for this refinery. They have offsite utilities.
“In this system, we used Safety Manger for process areas and safety addressable fire alarm panel supporting IS and non-IS loops, redundant communication with Safety Manager, analytics gas detectors, Experion PKS work stations (60K SCADA points), security CTV cameras, and DVM servers.”
—Ellen Fussell Policastro