Passive fire shelters enhance safety management for offshore projects

INTERTEC-Hess GmbH
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INTERTEC's lightweight 'walk-in' shelters

Fabricated using lightweight composite GRP (glass reinforced polyester) materials, the shelters employ patented techniques to resist fire for two hours – allowing critical electronic safety equipment to remain operational. Although there are currently no standards for this application area that cover containment temperatures, Intertec designs, manufactures and tests its fire shelters to a rigorous proprietary specification which demands that their internal temperature must remain below 60 degrees C throughout the rated protection time. The novel shelters are also capable of withstanding both conventional and more severe hydrocarbon fires.

The fire shelters are floor-mounted ‘walk-in'' models of a style more usually associated with process analyzer shelters and are the largest that Intertec has produced to date. They represent a major advance over many current fire protection technologies used in this area, such as fire safe buildings constructed from concrete or steel and covered with fire resistant ceramic tiles, or conventional shelters covered with intumescent materials – which can hinder access. The weight of the composite GRP materials that Intertec uses is about 25% that of steel – for a similar strength – and only 10% that of concrete, making it especially suitable for offshore applications.

The shelters are designed to withstand fire for 120 minutes, to afford maximum protection to the control electronics of a platform''s ESD and fire suppression systems under all foreseeable circumstances. A large outward-opening door provides personnel with unfettered access for routine equipment inspection and maintenance. For air conditioning and ventilation purposes, the shelters are equipped with special fire-resistant air transfer grilles containing intumescent damper slats, that are expressly designed for use in harsh environments. Under normal conditions the grilles allow an unrestricted flow of air into and out of the shelter. However, in the event of a fire, the heat activates the intumescent material which then creates a very durable and insulating barrier against the ingress of flames and hot gases.

Passive fire shelters enhance safety management for offshore projects

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