The successful passing of the final exam confirms the extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of all the participants regarding the (explosion) protection of industrial systems. Dr. Johannes Lottermann, Head of Explosion Safety: "To simply sell products is not the key goal in the field of explosion safety. In adherence with our motto “Consulting. Engineering. Products. Service.” we support our customers in every project stage. And to prove our superior performance capability, we had it officially confirmed with the IECEx Certificate.” Congratulation to our colleagues!
An active system is alerted to an explosion at an early stage, when an explosion begins to develop. This is done through sensors or detectors which register the rise in pressure or the formation of flames and respond by activating the relevant isolator, e.g. a quench valve.
Passive isolation, on the other hand, responds purely mechanically to the spreading or loss of pressure, on account of its structural characteristics. This also applies to explosion valves. Under normal operation an explosion valve in a pipeline is kept open by the available flow. When an explosion occurs, the valve is closed by the spreading of the pressure front, thus effectively preventing the pressure and the flames from propagating any further.
In addition to the method mentioned so far, another constructional precaution is explosion suppression. It means eliminating the explosion at its very onset. This is made possible by detectors which register the presence of sparks or flames through sensors and immediately trigger the opening of tanks containing an extinguishing agent (also installed in the system). A highly effective extinguishing agent is released within milliseconds, nipping the explosion in the bud straightaway. If required, an explosion suppression system can also be used for explosion isolation purposes.
Gas-powered engines and the connected exhaust system for marine propulsion and power generation carry a major risk of explosion. This may be caused, among other things, by possible misfiring whereby a combustible gas-oxygen mix may reach the exhaust system. Sources of ignition mostly include hot surfaces in pipelines, turbochargers or glowing (soot) particles in the exhaust gas flow. When an explosive gas mixture meets with a source of ignition, there is the risk that pressure and flames will spread very quickly within the pipeline sections, thus usually causing damage or even uncontrolled destruction on components. This risk can lead to loss of manoeuvrability, devastating injuries and maritime distress.
The Q-Rohr® DFE is installed on the exhaust system of an engine. If an explosion occurs, it protects the engine through flameless venting technology. This reduces unacceptable overpressure, while the stainless steel mesh filter of the Q-Rohr® DFE absorbs the heat of the explosion. As a result, the explosion collapses, so that there is neither a strong shockwave nor flames. Pressure is safely relieved within the exhaust system, which remains intact. The engine room, too, receives maximum protection.
One benefit that is particularly important for ship operators is that, after an incident, the explosion vent in the Q-Rohr® DFE can simply be replaced and operation can be resumed.
Further product benefits
- 100% seal tightness to eliminate danger of asphyxiation.
- Compact, lightweight design and therefore suitable for installation within limited space
- Connection flange in accordance DIN 86044
- Corrosion-resistant: 100% stainless steel
- Substantial noise reduction, even under normal operation
“Working together with the classification societies, we classified the Q-Rohr® DFE under major explosion volumes with stoichiometrically optimal gas concentrations and a variety of response pressures. This included simulating some worst-case scenarios, and the Q-Rohr® DFE passed all the tests with flying colours. The vessels equipped with the Q-Rohr® DFE include a purely LNG-based German ferry and several DFE-based container ships. Other projects are in progress,” says Roland Bunse, Q-Rohr® DFE developer and Senior Consultant in Explosion Safety
In 2015, REMBE® GmbH Safety + Control underwent significant restructuring and a new company emerged: REMBE® Kersting GmbH.
Restructuring of REMBE® GmbH Safety + Control
REMBE® employees work in small, flexible and highly specialised teams in order to respond more rapidly and effectively to the demands of the market and the specific requirements of their customers. The company set up the following teams for every business unit: Global Sales, Technical Sales and Inside Sales.
The Global Sales team consists primarily of safety engineers with many years of experience in designing safety concepts in a wide range of industries. The Technical Sales team is composed of staff with special expertise in products and product development as well as technical documentation.
"We have made many changes over recent years. After founding eight world-wide subsidiaries, restructuring our sales department was the next logical step towards realising our unique selling proposition: Consulting. Engineering. Products. Service." says Stefan Penno, son of the company's founder Bernhard Penno and Managing Director of REMBE® GmbH Safety + Control since 2004.
The company believes that these four words sum up the difference between REMBE® and other companies operating in the same markets. REMBE® not only supplies products but also offers all the services, which plant operators require in the areas of explosion protection and pressure relief – from safety scans of existing plants and consulting services for planning new facilities to customised product development, start-up services and maintenance.
The birth of a new company – REMBE® Kersting GmbH
Over the decades, REMBE®'s Industrial Measurement division and Kersting GmbH Sampling + Grounding have independently established strong reputations as experts in the bulk materials industry. Their achievements were the inspiration behind the decision to merge the two entities into REMBE® Kersting GmbH. The new company combines all REMBE®’s specialist knowledge in bulk materials and supplies everything its global customers require for measurement, weighing, sampling and grounding. With a strong focus on productivity, it equips bulk material companies in a wide range of sectors with measurement technology, samplers and electrostatic grounding systems. At REMBE® Kersting, too, consulting, engineering and service complement the familiar product range of mass flow measurement, fill level control, sampler and ground monitoring technologies. "From measuring and weighing to sampling, our primary aim is always to make our customers' processes more efficient and productive. This requires more than high quality products. We also support our customers in planning, assembly, start-up and calibration," explains Jochen Eberheim, Managing Director of REMBE® Kersting GmbH. Dipl.-Ing. Jochen Eberheim is one of Germany's most experienced managers in the area of bulk materials and bulk material handling.
So what does SIL involve?
When assessing the functional safety of a protection system it is above all important to ensure that its reliability matches the risks of a plant that is in danger. Such a SIL classification is based on a risk assessment that covers the probability of failure in a safety setup within a given scenario and the potential severity of any resulting damage. The defined tables and values, which can be found, for instance, in EN ISO 13849, lead to the required SIL level for the relevant (electronic) component. The higher the probability of occurrence and/or the potential severity of damage, the higher should be the requirements on the electronic componentry and also on the necessary SIL level. Any facilities with SIL level 4 certification thus offer the best risk minimisation and must be provided wherever probability and potential severity are especially high.
The risk assessment then forms the basis for an evaluation of measures designed to help reduce those two factors: probability of occurrence and potential severity of damage. The former is mitigated through preventive action, e.g. inertisation devices to prevent the occurrence of hazardous explosion-prone atmospheres). The severity of damage can be reduced through measures (e.g. explosion suppression systems).
SIL and “passive” explosion protection – REMBE® unites elements which belong together
SIL looks at the source which produces the functional safety of (E/E/PE) systems. The overall regulatory framework on which all certification is based is IEC 61508. Statements on the so-called “average probability of failure of the protective function at the point of requirement” have been available for quite a while as active protection systems, for instance, for REMBE®’s Q-Bic™ suppression systems.
Mechanical protection systems are not covered in this directive and cannot therefore be certified under it.
This has been the theory up to now. In practice, something else is required: Many plant manufacturers and operators in a variety of industries feel committed to SIL and demand that reliability parameters should also be available for mechanical protection systems, as they are often used in combination with (E/E/PE) systems and can only produce a consistent protection policy in its “overall effect”. Moreover a number of standards such as TRBS 2152-5 will expressly require certain SIL levels for protection systems in the future.
These practical requirements prompted REMBE® to take action: “Based on our close collaboration with customers and their planning and engineering offices, we are well aware that massive practical problems are likely to occur unless attention is paid to the safety gap of mechanical protection systems when reviewing the functional safety of explosion protection. With this in mind, we have set ourselves the task of finding a practical solution to the problem. After all, we are well aware of the vehement debates on the pros and cons of SIL outside electric, electronic and programmable electronic systems,” says Johannes Lottermann, PhD (Eng), Senior Consultant on Explosion Safety at REMBE®.
Based on these findings and its readiness for change, REMBE® has worked with IQZ, the German Institute of Quality and Reliability Management, in Wuppertal. Together, they have developed a transparent and legally sound methodology to assign SIL equivalents to REMBE® products despite their purely mechanical functions. The resulting PFD values (Probability of Failure on Demand) can thus be translated into “SIL language” under IEC 61508. It turned out that the company’s bursting disks had a SIL equivalent of 4, and the flameless venting devices a SIL equivalent of 2, due to the integrated electronic components of this SIL level.
“As we worked with renowned experts on the development of transparent methods in setting up PFDs, we are confident that the PFDs will be accepted in practice. REMBE® can be proud that, for the first time, this innovative approach is finally shedding some light into the darkness when it comes to assessing the functional safety of overall plant protection.
In a recent project, thanks to the SIL-equivalent parameters of our bursting disks, we helped a customer in New Zealand calculate the overall failure probability of their vented system which was protected by electronically controlled extinguishing barriers. This was a requirement specified by the relevant authority, and it was possible to complete the approval documents which, otherwise, would probably still be outstanding,” says Johannes Lottermann.
“The results of the relatively high SIL equivalents did not actually surprise us all that much,” says Stefan Penno, CEO of REMBE®. “It should be plausible to every engineer that a simple mechanical functional principle – like that of a bursting disk – is naturally more reliable than an electronic control circuit, despite all its sophistication and redundant backup systems.”
The company REMBE® has invited Ana and Kustaa from Windhoek to spend a month in Germany with an opportunity for some initial work experience. As both students have been studying German as a minor subject, the language barrier is only minimal. However, the cultural differences between Namibia and Germany are immense, and the two girls have therefore received a thorough induction in Windhoek. Also, REMBE® staff will be making a corporate effort to ensure that their Namibian guests have a good time in Brilon.
Their stay in Germany started, among other things, with a visit to the mayor of Brilon who gave them a very warm welcome to his town. Over the next few weeks, the two girls will be given an overall idea of each department at this medium-sized business, REMBE®. They can also look forward to a varied leisure programme during weekends.
REMBE®’s internship scheme with Namibia is a targeted social welfare programme, while at the same time encouraging opportunities for an international exchange. REMBE® wants to enable Namibian young professionals to gather some initial experience in a German company. “By creating this scheme,” says Annette Häger, member of the REMBE® Management Board, “we are showing how a company can be proactive in supporting young professionals internationally.”
The REMBE® initiative was welcomed by Onno Hückmann, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Namibia. When he spoke to Annette Häger, he emphasised the enormous importance of SMEs, in particular, to Germany’s economic success. He is especially pleased that REMBE® is acting as a pioneer in setting up the first programme of this kind in Namibia: “We need well-trained young people here in Namibia. Although there has been strong economic growth, the country still has a high level of unemployment.”
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ISO/TS 29001 was developed specifically for the Oil & Gas industry and sets strict requirements on goods and services provided to ensure standardization and improvement within the sector. This latest certification constitutes an independent confirmation of REMBE®’s product and process quality as well as a demonstration of REMBE®’s commitment to the industry as a supplier.
The aim of ISO/TS 29001 was to provide a single QMS document to meet the needs of the oil and gas industries worldwide, specifically the major petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas organizations. Due to the inherent risks associated with the oil and gas industry, rigorous conformity to engineering, user and regulatory requirements are required. ISO/TS 29001 is available for use by manufacturers of oil and gas industry equipment and materials, service providers to the oil and gas industry, purchasers of equipment, materials, and services. The document can also be used for organizations to perform 2nd party auditing of their suppliers, as well as for the purpose of 3rd party certification.
From February 13th to 14th, all employees learned about REMBE®’s latest technical innovations. “Our employees abroad in particular need to be trained about the latest technologies," says Stefan Penno, Managing Director of REMBE® GMBH SAFETY+CONTROL. Since the company values external expertise, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Juergen Schmidt from the Karlsruher Institut for Technology (KIT), an expert for safety in chemical plants, gave an intensive speech about the topic “risk management” and illustrated the need for intelligent protection concepts. His view is that “Protection is not something that is only paperwork it is the ethical attitude of all operators. Therefore, industrial plants need the best and most innovative protection of pressure and explosion”. Accidents in industrial plants happen on a daily basis and threaten human lives. The cooperation between KIT and REMBE® supports the active exchange with students and professors in order to develop new products for process safety.
As well as Professor. Schmidt, Dipl.-Ing. Richard Siwek, CEO of FireEx Consultant GmbH, presented potential hazard sources for dust explosions in plants and informed all participants about the possibilities of hazard analysis and the latest technical rules and standards. “The process of production has to be monitored permanently, in order to protect the plant against uncontrolled explosions” Mr. Siwek appealed to the audience.
REMBE® loves sweets!
In addition to the theoretical framework, Mr. Francesco Petruzzelli of REMBE®'s Italian branch, gave practical insight of how a manufacturer of sweets uses an integrated REMBE® protection concept. Here not only are production processes protected against dust explosions, but also their trucks during loading. Loading trucks can cause electro-static reactions, which can be avoided by using the grounding systems of REMBE®'s collaboration partner, KERSTING GMBH SAMPLING+GROUNDING. Thanks to REMBE® and KERSTING, the customer and especially his sweets are now safe.
FPAL supports the European Oil & Gas Industry with auditing for relevant suppliers. For more details please check http://www.achilles.com/en/find-your-achilles-community?id=409