Fire protection technology for valve actuators

Sunday, 18 May, 2008

Intertec is supplying over 100 fire protection cabinets to support Emerson Process Management’s instrumentation solution for the new hydrocracker complex at the Kirishi oil refinery near St Petersburg, Russia. The cabinets will provide the valve actuators with a minimum of 30 minutes of protection against fire, so that the plant’s emergency shutdown systems and services can quickly isolate and minimise damage to protect employees, assets and environment.

The cabinets are made from high-quality glass fibre reinforced polyester (GRP). This material is very stable and highly resistant to corrosion from the petrochemical media at the plant. A proprietary construction process developed by Intertec allows the company to fabricate the material into complex enclosure shapes and the new cabinets are variations of a field-proven product known as the Intertec Fire Shelter.

Emerson Process Management is engaged as field instrumentation vendor for the new hydrocracking complex at Kirishi refinery, a subsidiary of Surgutneftegas. Emerson chose Intertec because no off-the-shelf solution existed for this application and because of previous experience with the vendor.

The cabinets will house valve actuators that are critical to plant operation and fail-safe shutdown. They have been fabricated using a sandwich construction of non-combustible insulation and long fibre reinforced GRP sheeting. This provides the required fire protection time, but with the added advantages of high strength, very high resistance to weather and the possible corrosive effects of the chemicals produced at the plant. Intertec’s technology offers a more efficient alternative to traditional metal fire protection cabinets because of its much lower thermal conductivity.

To validate performance before installation, the independent Russian institution, Pozhaudit, tested an example cabinet. The test demonstrated that the internal temperature did not rise above 60°C for at least 30 minutes when subjected to an oil-based fire with a temperature of around 1000°C.

Intertec is well known for its range of cabinets, shelters and accessories for field-based industrial equipment. It has developed and refined this fire protection technology over several years in order to offer process and plant engineers more efficient alternatives to traditional metal cabinets. The company has a long list of application references in this field, as well as numerous documented tests, including results of its own testing and testing to related standards, including the demanding F30 to F120 fire resistance ratings of Germany’s DIN 4102 (fire behaviour of building materials and building components) and UL94V-0 flammability ratings.

In addition to protecting against fire, the cabinets protect the actuators from weather extremes at this northern latitude. The cabinets have been designed to suit the application and include a panel opening to facilitate field inspection and maintenance.

“These cabinets have been custom-made for the application, to suit the chosen valve actuators, the fire protection specifications and the weather conditions,” says Intertec’s project manager, Klaus-Dieter Meyer. “Our flexible GRP manufacturing processes allow us to cost-effectively fabricate these custom designs, even for the relatively small volumes required.

“This protection is required quite commonly, yet there are no Russian or German norms for the exact application,” adds Meyer. “So, to help plant engineers specify with confidence, we have subjected our enclosures to detailed fire tests, with an array of sensors that show temperatures at various internal points.”

Intertec Hess GmbH

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