Got To Have FAITH In ESD Testing

Netherlocks has updated the design on their partial-stroke emergency shutdown (ESD) and HIPPS valve testing unit, the FAITH.  The device is now available with an incorporated emergency override lever, which can be operated in the unlikely – but possible – event of an ESD needing to be performed whilst the valve is being tested.

FAITH Unit

 Typically, testing an emergency shutdown valve involves operating it, and thus halting production.  It is not so much a test, as just a planned shutdown.  By using a FAITH, when the right key is inserted into the unit the stroke of the actuator is limited to 20 degrees (can be changed on request): this is enough to make sure that the valve has not stuck, and that it can still be operated, but it does not interrupt production.  This has the added benefit of allowing the valves to be tested more often, thus negating the need for a powerful, over-dimensioned actuator to be fitted ‘just in case’. 

A potential flaw in this method, however, is that an emergency could occur whilst the limit was active, which could be very dangerous indeed.  By building in an ESD override lever, Netherlocks has solved this potential problem.  In the event of an incident during testing, the lever can be rotated to release the stroke limiter and the valve will close, stopping operations. 

Although this may seem to be a very improbable situation, when dealing with issues of safety it always pays to consider and plan for every possible event.  The emergency lever also allows the replacement of solenoid valves, quick exhausts and other safety instrumented system (SIS) components without stopping the process.

The device is completely mechanical and maintenance-free, not needing any wiring, PLC or software, although it can optionally be fitted with switches and solenoids to provide a feedback signal.

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European Industrial Safety Specialist Expands Into Chinese Market

Netherlocks has set up its first office in China, in the capital city of Beijing.  With its head office in the Netherlands, the company has been designing and manufacturing interlocking, valve control and other industrial safety products for nearly 15 years and is now bringing its expertise to the Chinese market.

 The rapid – even explosive – growth of the industrial sector of the Chinese economy means that there is a continually rising need for proven, reliable industrial and process safety products to be available.  The ‘Add-On’ approach taken by Netherlocks aims to make any operation safer by incorporating the right products: with the vast majority of incidents and accidents being caused by human error, mechanically enforcing the adherence to safe procedure can dramatically increase worker safety and equipment protection.  As would be expected when dealing with this field, the quality of product is key to its value.  If a safety device should fail then the consequences could be grave; it is with this in mind that the Dutch company is bringing to Asia their tradition of and reputation for reliability.

 Netherlocks Expands Into Chinese Market

On 3-5 April 2007, Netherlocks exhibited at CIPPE 2007(China International Petroleum & Petrochemical Technology and Equipment Exhibition), in order to meet directly with end users and listen to feedback.  The stand drew considerable attention from visitors with its diverse range of high-quality products from its core ranges: interlocks, Lock-Out/Tag-Out, and valve control.

 An interlocking system can be applied to valves, actuators, switches and doors – essentially anything that moves.  By using a trapped-key system, the next step in any process can only be unlocked and started once the previous step has been completed and the appropriate key released, guaranteeing the correct sequence of events.  Non-linear processes such as pigging operations can be controlled by a Mechanical Process Control Unit (MPCU) which will distribute and trap keys according to a pre-programmed sequence, eliminating the chance of operator error.

 When a Lock-Out/Tag-Out system is needed (usually for maintenance or temporary use), the stainless steel NL-H universal device can be attached to doors, valves and switches and then secured with individualised (key-differed) padlocks by a worker to ensure their own safety.

 The Nether-Flex and KMS both aid in actual valve operation: the former by allowing awkwardly placed valves to be used from a remote unit via a flexible cable, the latter by using pneumatic power in a portable actuator to operate valves which require many turns or great force faster and with less strain on the operator.  To monitor the position of handwheel-operated valves, the secure VPI (Valve Position Indicator) unit mechanically measures their status, and can then convert and transmit this data digitally to a remote monitoring station.  For testing ESD (Emergency Shut Down) procedures, the FAITH system can be installed.  Unlike other methods of testing, with this product production is not halted – a distinct benefit when safety must be ensured without interrupting costly operations.

The company’s sales and support teams are also available to give advice and training in the planning and implementation of safety systems, and the company is ready to customise their product range to suit the particular needs of a client.  Further information can be found at the Netherlocks website <www.netherlocks.com> or by contacting them directly.

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