A global leader in providing fire, explosion and pressure relief solutions has joined forces with a valve industry specialist and introduced a revolutionary explosion prevention product that will transform the safety of the process industry.,
Kent based, Fike UK, has teamed up with Nottingham based MID Valves to produce the first ATEX certified explosion isolation valve after the companies joined forces to deliver explosion protection on a biomass plant installed as part of phase one at Immingham Rail Freight Terminal.
The ground breaking innovation was designed and implemented so that isolation valves of the correct size and certification could be applied across all aspects of the project, a solution which, until now, had been unheard of in the explosion prevention industry. As a result of the application the biomass plant’s performance will be significantly enhanced and most importantly, the safety of the workforce has been protected by eliminating any risk of future explosion propagation into or from the silos.
Keith Avila, General Manager at Fike UK said: “As an outcome of this project, we are very pleased to introduce a revolutionary product for the explosion protection and isolation of large volume vessels. During the initial remit, the plans were to have separate explosion valves and process valves that used the best available technology. However, it was felt by ourselves and MID that we could introduce a ground-breaking solution that would combine extensively reinforced process valves with Fast Acting Valve technology that could be combined into one unit. Using this new valve, in conjunction with Fike’s chemical isolation system, has provided a fast acting explosion proof slide valve of a scale that has never been seen before.”
Even the challenge of turning the concept into reality was overcome by the two businesses who managed to test and launch the product – with full ATEX certification – in only six months.
Keith added: “Achieving this in such short time is almost unheard of in our industry. The specifications required were extremely challenging and required some extremely clever engineering input to deliver this solution”.
And the result is pretty impressive with the newly designed and manufactured valves covering parameters that no existing valve has ever been able to cope with. With opening dimensions of 1.0 x 1.2 metre , the valve will close in less than 300 milliseconds in the event of an explosion and can withstand an instant 0.5 bar increase in explosion parameters. They can be used as a normal process valve with a slow opening and closing function whilst also being economically stripped and rebuilt ready to use again after an explosion activation.
Other unique attributes include a reinforced body and slide plate to mechanically strengthen the valve and enable it to withstand instantaneous forces generated during emergency close operations. Built in to this is Fike’s revolutionary energy absorbing damping system to decelerate the slide from 16mph to 0mph in under 25mm of lateral travel. A custom designed Fike pneumatic cylinder and the company’s own fast acting gas generator system has also been incorporated.
Both Fike and MID Valves are currently working in conjunction at Immingham Rail Freight Terminal to implement phase two of the project.