Today, the safety of industrial facilities, personnel, processes, and the environment is a crucial concern. Plants must improve safety while optimizing operational and business performance. Faced with this reality, they are seeking to ensure the lowest risk, and highest value protection, from their Fire & Gas (F&G) systems.
Integration of F&G systems into the overall control system is a very important factor in running modern plants. By implementing unified solutions, plant owners can meet their critical health and safety requirements while reducing long-term asset lifecycle costs.
Industrial fire & gas systems play an essential role in the plant infrastructure. They continuously monitor fire and toxic or combustible gas levels, and can provide warnings of an abnormal situation before it becomes a significant threat.
F&G detection systems are commonly employed for offshore exploration and production, onshore oil & gas facilities, refineries and chemical plants, marine operations, pipelines, power plants, and mining sites.
Use of F&G technology
At increasingly complex industrial sites, the F&G system is a mitigation safety layer tasked with taking action to reduce the consequences of a hazardous event after it has occurred. It is used for automating emergency actions with a high-integrity safety and control solution to mitigate further escalation. The system is also important for recovering from abnormal situations quickly to resume full production.
A typical fire and gas safety system comprises detection, logic control, and alarm and mitigation functions. The logic solver is the central control unit of the overall F&G detection and control system. The controller receives signals from fire, gas & flame detection devices required for fire and gas detection. It also handles the required actions to initiate alarms and mitigate the hazard.
Need for unified systems
As more operating companies move toward “smart” plants, appropriate integration with other systems will play an important role in increasing safety as well as efficiency. As F&G systems are tightly integrated with the overall process safety strategy, mitigation either takes place via the emergency shutdown (ESD) system or directly from the F&G system itself.
The F&G system should also be integrated with the distributed control system (DCS) addressing fire and gas graphics and alarms for display to the operator. Meanwhile, there needs to be independent displays such human-machine interfaces (HMIs) to draw attention to fire & gas excursions when the DCS HMIs are not available.
In addition, the plant F&G system, and the fire system for occupied buildings, should be integrated with the system/site security center for plant evacuation. As part of an overall plant safety strategy, there needs to be a unified platform for the command center/fire station for plant evacuation procedures.
Industrial standards play a large role in the development, implementation and installation of integrated F&G systems. Considering standards like IEC 61511 and ANSI/ISA S84.0,1 is a major step towards protecting industrial plants
Value of a holistic approach
As a global control and safety technology leader, Honeywell provides a truly holistic safety and security solution for the process automation industry, Honeywell’s approach improves business performance by reducing the risk of incidents, faults and failures that cost money by disrupting normal operations.
Honeywell’s advanced F&G systems combine innovative fire and gas detectors, conventional and analog addressable fire panels, clean agent and inert gas fire suppression systems, and a SIL 3-certified fire and gas logic solver into a consistently designed and executed solution. They also provide common tools, operating interface and networking, resulting in a common platform with independent systems.
Honeywell’s F&G systems can detect early signs of explosive and health hazards, including combustible and toxic gas releases, thermal radiation from fires and minute traces of smoke in sensitive equipment enclosures. Audio and visual alarms are generated to alert plant operators and fire-fighting personnel.
Honeywell delivers F&G solutions through its local organizations using global project management practices and recognized international engineering standards. The company helps to sustain the optimal performance of F&G systems through a comprehensive managed services program.
With its outcome-based Assurance 360 services, Honeywell takes responsibility for the total lifecycle of installed assets and utilizes a secure remote connection to add value through proactive/predictive maintenance of the customer’s F&G system.
Benefits to industrial facilities
By implementing unified fire and gas solutions, industrial facilities can meet their critical infrastructure protection requirements while ensuring operational and business readiness at project start-up and during operations.
Experience has shown that plant owners/operators benefit from a holistic approach to safety that supports a secure process control network to the perimeter of the plant to protect people, assets and the environment. Integrated F&G safety systems help to minimize intervention and shutdowns, and enable plants to recover more easily from process upsets.
An integrated strategy for plant operation and safety also helps in improving efficiencies and managing capital expenditures. This approach drives greater agility, enabling operating companies to adapt to business conditions quickly and cost effectively, to help ensure profitability in uncertain times.
Industrial organizations face a host of operational challenges. Ensuring utmost safety is a priority for every facility. Integrated F&G and life safety solutions help to detect safety hazards before they escalate. They mitigate potential incidents by ensuring all personnel are informed of hazardous situations in a clear and unambiguous manner, and provide fast and efficient response to associated risks.